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iOS developer gets screwed with Wifi sync feature in iOS 5

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/09/w...#disqus_thread

Quote:
Wi-Fi Sync developer says he was 'fairly shocked' by Apple's similar Wi-Fi Sync feature

Quote:
Wirelessly syncing a smartphone is hardly a new idea, but the developer of the Wi-Fi Sync app for iOS devices apparently thinks Apple's similar new feature in iOS 5 -- also called Wi-Fi Sync --is just a little too close to his for comfort. As you may recall, Greg Hughes submitted his "Wi-Fi Sync" app to Apple for App Store approval back in May of 2010 and was ultimately rejected, although not before he says he was told that Apple's engineers were "impressed" by his effort -- he then made the app available in the Cydia store, where it's been downloaded more than 50,000 times at $10 a pop. That was apparently working out just fine for him until this week, when he says he was "fairly shocked" to see Apple announce a Wi-Fi Sync feature of its own in iOS 5, complete with a familiar looking icon. Hughes went on to tell The Register that he was "surprised" by the similarities, but he hasn't offered any indication that he plans to push the issue any further.



They even took his icon.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #2 of 12
Uh. No.

1. He stole Apple's Wi-Fi and sync icons to make his. Apple even did a better job of using their own icons to make this.
2. He's sore that Apple has done for free what he charged to do. He's whining because he's out of a job.
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Uh. No.

1. He stole Apple's Wi-Fi and sync icons to make his. Apple even did a better job of using their own icons to make this.
2. He's sore that Apple has done for free what he charged to do. He's whining because he's out of a job.

He used the wifi symbol but not the sync one entirely. I'd say his icon (on the left) overall is better as it makes better use of the icon size. I don't think the circular arrow is all that good as it seems to suggest data goes round in a loop rather than back and forth.

Also, grey and black is a boring colour scheme.

Anyway, the bigger issue is that this kid came up with a scheme to sync data wirelessly before Apple did and did it well. I don't suppose there was much else Apple could do if they wanted it to be part of the OS but blocking the app and then implementing the same feature with the same name on the face of it looks really bad.

I wonder which rules the app actually violated to be rejected. If it was an unwritten 'we're working on something similar' rule then I'd say that's not a good enough reason. It may have been to do with security, which is fine but I remember when this happened and people said jokingly that it's probably because Apple were working on the same thing.

If I was in Apple's position here though, I'd have a tough decision to make. If you know you have something in the works and someone implements it first, you can't really make an agreement with them or they could demand outrageous amounts of money and then sue you if you don't agree to it and implement your own. It's probably standard practise to do this, just like what happened with Dashboard and Konfabulator. It just really sucks to be on the receiving end of it and legitimate customers have to suffer because we've had to wait over a year to get the feature - longer as iOS 5 isn't out yet - when we could have paid Greg Hughes for his innovation.

If there were valid security concerns then I'd say a better move would have been to work with this guy to get the feature implemented instead of just shutting him out in the cold and having no choice but to take it to Cydia. Seems like he might have made a decent amount of money though so I guess it's not all bad. But if Apple ever needs to know why people jailbreak their devices, this is it.
post #4 of 12
This idea was already known about. It was only inevitable that Apple would implement it at some point. I'm not sure how they could have stolen an idea that already existed.

Apple has already blocked several apps because they were implementing the same functionality system wide. A couple of years ago they blocked an app that allowed developers to create widgets. It appears they wanted Notification Center to be the official system home of widgets.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Anyway, the bigger issue is that this kid came up with a scheme to sync data wirelessly before Apple did and did it well. I don't suppose there was much else Apple could do if they wanted it to be part of the OS but blocking the app and then implementing the same feature with the same name on the face of it looks really bad.
post #5 of 12
I guess it's all in the particulars of the implementation, isn't it? I don't think broad areas of basic functionality can be considered "stolen", and it's a bit of a stretch to imagine that Apple's engineers needed to rely on some kid's implementation of wireless syncing to figure out how to do it. We all knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when, not if.

It is kind of amusing that a certain type will always regard this kind of thing as "theft" while passionately defending the entire world of iPhone like multitouch handsets and app stores as being inevitable and obvious.

Widgets? Ha ha ha just like Android (and Dashboard and about a million other extant implementations). All screen multitouch handsets with a particular vocabulary of gestures with little to no mainstream adoption which revolutionizes the entire computing industry? Pfffft, no more than the next obvious thing.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I don't think broad areas of basic functionality can be considered "stolen", and it's a bit of a stretch to imagine that Apple's engineers needed to rely on some kid's implementation of wireless syncing to figure out how to do it. We all knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when, not if.

Sure but we're talking about well over a year later. I guess you could say the same about the copy/paste implementations but I don't think syncing over wifi has ever been a widely accepted standard or considered basic functionality. I doubt Apple had to rely on someone else to figure it out but they took their sweet time implementing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

It is kind of amusing that a certain type will always regard this kind of thing as "theft" while passionately defending the entire world of iPhone like multitouch handsets and app stores as being inevitable and obvious.

Good points as usual and I agree that people don't give nearly enough credit to Apple for what they set up for the mobile industry but I reckon as you mentioned, it depends on how close Apple's and Greg's implementations are. We might never find that out though.
post #7 of 12
You also have to look at all of the parts of this. One major part is iCloud and the ability to back up everything on your iOS device. Something that Google did not consider with its syncing and OTA solutions.

I don't think Apple wanted to implement OTA and wireless syncing until it had something in place that allowed the user to wirelessly backup their entire device incase something catastrophically went wrong.

For that they needed to build a billion dollar data center. These issues and their solutions are far beyond this kid and his app.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Sure but we're talking about well over a year later. I guess you could say the same about the copy/paste implementations but I don't think syncing over wifi has ever been a widely accepted standard or considered basic functionality. I doubt Apple had to rely on someone else to figure it out but they took their sweet time implementing it.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Sure but we're talking about well over a year later. I guess you could say the same about the copy/paste implementations but I don't think syncing over wifi has ever been a widely accepted standard or considered basic functionality. I doubt Apple had to rely on someone else to figure it out but they took their sweet time implementing it.

Maybe not basic functionality when the iPhone was released, or perhaps even for a year or so after that, but certainly by now, and most certainly now that iCloud is part of the picture.

Apple made it explicit with their graphic of the Mac/PC demoted to device status, and all devices equally syncing to the cloud-- you can't really hook up a USB cable to the cloud. That big data center has been under construction for a while, and planned for even longer than that, so it seems pretty likely that Apple has intended wireless sync as part of their iCloud initiative for at least a couple of years.

Quote:
Good points as usual and I agree that people don't give nearly enough credit to Apple for what they set up for the mobile industry but I reckon as you mentioned, it depends on how close Apple's and Greg's implementations are. We might never find that out though.

Sure, and an examination of the relevant code might reveal damning similarities. But again, wireless sync isn't the kind of thing that would be beyond the talents of Apple's engineering staff, and it seems likely that no matter how clever or elegant an existing app might have been, Apple wouldn't have left wireless sync till the last minute, and would have been designing this critical piece of their critical iCloud initiative all along.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #9 of 12
Actually, I'm hoping Apple implements Thunderbolt I/O in the next version of the iPhone (with 64 GB storage please). Transfers as the speed of a hard disc drive (what, 400 Mbit/s sustained) or 2000 Mbit/s of an SSD sounds 10x better than through a wireless sync. Literally. And my iPhone would get a nice charge from TB I/O's 10 W power.

Never mind that though. The developer will get hit by the iOS 5 train in a few months. He got $500k revenue for the work, maybe some more in the tailoff. He should be grateful that Apple left a hole in the iOS platform for him to make money on. They appear to be talented enough to move on to another revenue generating venture, like maybe some iCloud thing.

There's always these developer tales of woe whenever Apple, or any platform owner, improves their platform by adding more and more features. The world is not a fair place. Everyone must evolve. Not changing would be a cardinal sin and would lead to downfall. See: Nokia or Palm or SE.
post #10 of 12
Request to merge with front page thread at:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._sync_app.html
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Request to merge with front page thread at:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._sync_app.html

The problem with merging here is that the earlier posts would come before the main news article and people may assume the first post is the AI report but I think people will know to comment on the other thread now anyway.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The problem with merging here is that the earlier posts would come before the main news article and people may assume the first post is the AI report but I think people will know to comment on the other thread now anyway.

Cool, no worries.
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