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Apple accused of appropriating rejected 'Wi-Fi Sync' app

post #1 of 195
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After Apple revealed its new Wi-Fi Sync feature in iOS 5, the company has been accused of ripping off the work of a developer whose app, which is also titled "Wi-Fi Sync," was rejected from the App Store.

Developer Greg Hughes, who is also a student at the University of Birmingham, created the "Wi-Fi Sync" app last year and submitted it to Apple's App Store. But, the app was rejected by Apple.

An Apple representative contacted Hughes to explain the rejection, saying the app didn't "technically break the rules," though it did "encroach upon the boundaries" of what is allowed in the App Store. Hughes turned instead to the Cydia store for "jailbroken" devices and has since sold over 50,000 copies of the app.

After Apple previewed iOS 5's new Wi-Fi Sync feature, complete with a similar logo, on Monday Hughes was "completely shocked," The Telegraph reports. Apple's take on Wi-Fi syncing will automatically sync and back up an iOS 5 device to iTunes over a Wi-Fi connection whenever the device is connected to a power source.

"I'd been selling my app with that name and icon for a year. Apple knew about it as I'd submitted it to them, so it was surprising to see that they had pinched it for iOS 5, he said.

Developer Greg Hughes; Wi-Fi Sync app logo (top), Apple Wi-Fi Sync logo (bottom) | Source: The Telegraph

Hughes said he has gotten legal advice and plans to "stand up and defend" his work. According to him, the App Store representative he spoke with last year told him that the iPhone engineering team had seen his app and "were quite impressed."

Smaller developers have faced similar situations in the past as Apple has progressively added features, such as the iBooks app and App Store recommendations, to iOS. The issue will likely be as the iOS developer ecosystem continues to grow.

Apple revealed this week that there are now 425,000 apps on the App Store, with more than $2.5 billion paid to developers. Over 200 million iOS devices have been sold, giving Apple 50 percent of the market.
post #2 of 195
I'm not sure about the icon part of the claim. Apple has been using the "two arrows" symbol for sync for years, iSync icon has it and was released in 2003. They have also had the "signal wave" symbol for WiFi in the OS X menu bar for years. And the icon is question is just a composite of those two things.
post #3 of 195
I was just reading about this at Cult of Mac and according to their post the developer was asked for a resume. Wonder why he didn't hand one in and instead went to Cydia. You'd think that an Apple representative asking for your resume after Apple just rejected your app would clue you in.
post #4 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duo View Post

I was just reading about this at Cult of Mac and according to their post the developer was asked for a resume. Wonder why he didn't hand one in and instead went to Cydia. You'd think that an Apple representative asking for your resume after Apple just rejected your app would clue you in.

While a job at Apple may interest a great number of people, it was well within his rights to not want to work there. Declining a job does not mean it's OK for him to get ripped off.

That said, I strongly suspect Apple did have this functionality in its long term plans. The longer I follow Apple the longer-term I realize their secret roadmaps are. So I'm not sure there's a case here. Countless other times 3rd party developers of both Apple and Microsoft OS's have found their add-ons getting implemented in the next versions out of Redmond and Cupertino. And odds are very good Apple will have planning documents to prove this function was on the drawing board before Hughes' app was submitted to the store.
post #5 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duo View Post

I was just reading about this at Cult of Mac and according to their post the developer was asked for a resume. Wonder why he didn't hand one in and instead went to Cydia. You'd think that an Apple representative asking for your resume after Apple just rejected your app would clue you in.

Stupid developer! Why did he think he could get away from the Borg? He should have submitted his resume and been assimilated.
post #6 of 195
The software you install on your PC causes iTunes not to be able to update or restore your idevice. Throws up error 1611. Took me 2 days to figure it. That's probably why it was rejected?
post #7 of 195
Is Greg Hughes saying he invented wireless syncing? Or that the images he used in his logo are unique? Wireless syncing has existed on many other devices. And the symbols used are probably literally on every smartphone as the standard "syncing" and "wireless" icons. They are both in my OSX menu right now, and have been there longer than his app.

Congrats, Greg, you got your attention. Just know that it's from brainless blog drones.
post #8 of 195
Not sure exactly what his app did, or how similar the functionality is to all of what iCloud encompasses.

As far as the logo, I don't think it's very similar at all. It's a common logo denoting "syncing" that Apple has used for years surrounding the common symbol for WiFi that Apple has used for years. Nothing original about that, any more than complaining that an email app has an envelope symbol on it.

Further, it doesn't really look the same, just looks like it's representing similar functionality. It's shaped different and a completely different color.
post #9 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

While a job at Apple may interest a great number of people, it was well within his rights to not want to work there. Declining a job does not mean it's OK for him to get ripped off.

That said, I strongly suspect Apple did have this functionality in its long term plans. The longer I follow Apple the longer-term I realize their secret roadmaps are. So I'm not sure there's a case here. Countless other times 3rd party developers of both Apple and Microsoft OS's have found their add-ons getting implemented in the next versions out of Redmond and Cupertino. And odds are very good Apple will have planning documents to prove this function was on the drawing board before Hughes' app was submitted to the store.

I'm not saying it's okay for your work to be ripped off cause he chose not to work for them, but rather that he should have realized why Apple must have wanted him to work for them. If the iOS team were as impressed as his liaison implied, it would have been the perfect opportunity for him to gain prominence within Cupertino had he gone in and gotten involved.
post #10 of 195
The article fails to mention the constant crashing when you put this on your jb handset. And lack of any developer support after he pocketed your cash and no way of getting a refund.
post #11 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by okboy View Post

Is Greg Hughes saying he invented wireless syncing? Or that the images he used in his logo are unique? Wireless syncing has existed on many other devices. And the symbols used are probably literally on every smartphone as the standard "syncing" and "wireless" icons. They are both in my OSX menu right now, and have been there longer than his app.

Congrats, Greg, you got your attention. Just know that it's from brainless blog drones.

You're kidding right?
He's probably upset since he made an app for the iPhone, it was rejected, and now the company that rejected it is using it. While I don't think he'll have a case against Apple (unless they used his code...which is doubtful), if you're throwing this away as some moron wanting attention, you're...well...idiotic.
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post #12 of 195
I'm really disappointed with Apple Insider for pushing this trash.

Of the numerous ways in which this "article" is just plain wrong, let me catalog just a couple.

First, it shows an utter lack of understanding of the firmament in which claims like this exist. I wrote on an AppleLink forum in 1991 that I thought a color Mac Classic would be a great idea. Does that mean Apple can't do it? No. As other commenters have pointed out, this douche did not invent wireless synching. Sigh. No context of the applicable intellectual property laws is given. It's just a claim that's thrown out there. Does this guy have a patent? Does he have anything other than a similar looking icon (is it that his is similar to Apple's or Apple's is similar to his) to prove this? Did Apple use his source code without permission? I've seen articles on this site that at least feign an understanding of these issues. Why aren't they even raised here?

Second, no one else is quoted in this. There no reaction from Apple or a spokesman, not even a no comment or "Apple couldn't be reached in time." There's not even a quote from an IP lawyer who might have some insight into the viability of these claims. It's just stenographically reproduced rumor bullshit.

Naturally, this will just slide into a number of people's pre-baked image of Apple as "the borg" or the recycled narrative that they are just ripping people off. I still don't understand why people turn corporate software development into stories of good and evil in the first place.

The little guy is not always right, nor is he always wrong.

Little developers have been whining since at least SuperClock! that Apple "stole" their idea to include in the OS later. Well, if it's patentable, they should patent it. If it's not, they have no property to be stolen unless they seriously think that Apple ripped their source code or misappropriated their trade secrets, but somehow those claims never work out, do they?

If all of these guys had their way and every person that had a eureka moment in the bathtub was able to claim something as their own, there would be an even worse patent troll problem than there is now.

Oh, and you know, this blog ripped off its name from Apple.
post #13 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by stormj View Post

I'm really disappointed with Apple Insider for pushing this trash.

Of the numerous ways in which this "article" is just plain wrong, let me catalog just a couple.

First, it shows an utter lack of understanding of the firmament in which claims like this exist. I wrote on an AppleLink forum in 1991 that I thought a color Mac Classic would be a great idea. Does that mean Apple can't do it? No. As other commenters have pointed out, this douche did not invent wireless synching. Sigh. No context of the applicable intellectual property laws is given. It's just a claim that's thrown out there. Does this guy have a patent? Does he have anything other than a similar looking icon (is it that his is similar to Apple's or Apple's is similar to his) to prove this? Did Apple use his source code without permission? I've seen articles on this site that at least feign an understanding of these issues. Why aren't they even raised here?

Second, no one else is quoted in this. There no reaction from Apple or a spokesman, not even a no comment or "Apple couldn't be reached in time." There's not even a quote from an IP lawyer who might have some insight into the viability of these claims. It's just stenographically reproduced rumor bullshit.

Naturally, this will just slide into a number of people's pre-baked image of Apple as "the borg" or the recycled narrative that they are just ripping people off. I still don't understand why people turn corporate software development into stories of good and evil in the first place.

The little guy is not always right, nor is he always wrong.

Little developers have been whining since at least SuperClock! that Apple "stole" their idea to include in the OS later. Well, if it's patentable, they should patent it. If it's not, they have no property to be stolen unless they seriously think that Apple ripped their source code or misappropriated their trade secrets, but somehow those claims never work out, do they?

If all of these guys had their way and every person that had a eureka moment in the bathtub was able to claim something as their own, there would be an even worse patent troll problem than there is now.

Oh, and you know, this blog ripped off its name from Apple.

Bravo. This whole issue, which appears on numerous 'rumor' sites, is embarassing. As if Jonathon Ive needs this guy to help him design a logo. Come on.
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post #14 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by stormj View Post


First, it shows an utter lack of understanding of the firmament in which claims like this exist. I wrote on an AppleLink forum in 1991 that I thought a color Mac Classic would be a great idea.

Yeah but did you actually go out and make a colour Mac classic? Of course not. No neural capacity for such a task.
post #15 of 195
While on the subject: I sent my "location based reminder" idea to Apple about a year ago. It may or may not have been the basis for their new reminder app in ios5. Either way I'm glad to see the feature included.
The idea came from wanting to pick up bread the next time I drove in to town.
post #16 of 195
I agree with the posters above that this was an obvious feature that Apple must have been planning, if not actively working on, long before this fellow submitted his (reportedly very buggy) software.

It's also obviously implementing an operating system feature, rather than an end-user app. People buy iOS devices to browse the web, watch movies, listen music, communicate with people, etc. People do not buy iOS devices so that they can sync them with their computers. Syncing is a feature people expect Apple to provide.

It looks to me like this fellow wrote his software expecting it to be rejected just so that he could try to sue Apple when they later added wireless syncing.
Mac user since August 1983.
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post #17 of 195
Wireless sync is hardly a new concept that Apple hadn't considered - Palm were doing it with their PDAs years ago, and I'd doubt even they were the first to the party with it.

And as Apple rejected the app while at the same time asking for his resume, did he not even slightly suspect that they might be planning on introducing this feature themselves and thought he could be useful as part of the team that was developing it?
post #18 of 195
Agreed - If anything he would probably be open to lawsuits for copying the Sync arrows (palm was using while he was still in nappies) and the wifi symbol.
post #19 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by okboy View Post

Is Greg Hughes saying he invented wireless syncing? Or that the images he used in his logo are unique? Wireless syncing has existed on many other devices. And the symbols used are probably literally on every smartphone as the standard "syncing" and "wireless" icons. They are both in my OSX menu right now, and have been there longer than his app.

Congrats, Greg, you got your attention. Just know that it's from brainless blog drones.

Just like the words "app" and "store" have been around for years. Apple puts them together and it is a trademark.

See any double standards here?
post #20 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by okboy View Post

Is Greg Hughes saying he invented wireless syncing? Or that the images he used in his logo are unique? Wireless syncing has existed on many other devices. And the symbols used are probably literally on every smartphone as the standard "syncing" and "wireless" icons. They are both in my OSX menu right now, and have been there longer than his app.

Congrats, Greg, you got your attention. Just know that it's from brainless blog drones.

Not just other devices, but on OS X, itself.

I used to use a program under Tiger called Proximisync that would detect the Bluetooth signal from my Ericsson phone when I would come home, and automatically sync wirelessly. It was a great program (when it worked). And this was way back in the days of the Palm Pilot!

For this kid to feel ripped off is stupid. Somehow it never occurred to him that his app was rejected because Apple was already working on the functionality in the OS?

Duh.
post #21 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duo View Post

I was just reading about this at Cult of Mac and according to their post the developer was asked for a resume. Wonder why he didn't hand one in and instead went to Cydia. You'd think that an Apple representative asking for your resume after Apple just rejected your app would clue you in.

He wanted to sell his app, not get a job. He had already created the product - his work was done, he wanted to profit from it, not continue to work for a salary, not only that, but he could have made real money with this - lets say he had it in the app store 5 or 6 months before apple announced it as a feature in iOS 5: a feature like that coulda made millions - I can grantee I know of at least 10 people who would buy it without hesitation assuming it were $10 or less. What would his salary be? $80-115k ((or equiv market rate in GBP?) or less as he has no "experience" and is a student...? stock options that start with the apple stock in the $300s? hell I woulda refused that offer...
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post #22 of 195
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

I agree with the posters above that this was an obvious feature that Apple must have been planning, if not actively working on, long before this fellow submitted his (reportedly very buggy) software.

It's also obviously implementing an operating system feature, rather than an end-user app. People buy iOS devices to browse the web, watch movies, listen music, communicate with people, etc. People do not buy iOS devices so that they can sync them with their computers. Syncing is a feature people expect Apple to provide.

It looks to me like this fellow wrote his software expecting it to be rejected just so that he could try to sue Apple when they later added wireless syncing.

Apple has failed to sync the way many want to since 2007 and this guy came along with an attempt to fill in the market gap...it would be interesting to see the reasoning that apple gave for the rejection...was it truly buggy? or was it some vague "duplicate functionality" rejection? I think the discovery on this case would be fun...lets see code samples, anything in Apples code base look the same? and what were the commit dates on that code vs when the engineers saw his app?

that phone call that he speaks of where the rep said that it didnt technically violate any of apples policies may be the smoking gun here against apple
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post #23 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reaperducer View Post


For this kid to feel ripped off is stupid. Somehow it never occurred to him that his app was rejected because Apple was already working on the functionality in the OS?

Duh.

And yet every other company that does anything even remotely like apple is copying them or stealing their IP. They were never already working on the functionality.

Makes perfect sense to me.
post #24 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nairb View Post

Just like the words "app" and "store" have been around for years. Apple puts them together and it is a trademark.

See any double standards here?

Care to explain what the whole App Store trademark fiasco has to do with this guy claiming Apple supposedly 'ripped off' this WiFi Sync thing?

You know what time it is when people start throwing in completely unrelated stuff and extrapolate that to make a point about something out of thin air, when there is none. Time to get out of the argument. Even if Apple is being a dick about the App Store trademark, that doesn't imply they are ripping off anyone by adding wireless syncing to iOS.

This WiFi sync guy is full of it, he claims Apple told them there was no explicit technical reason for rejecting it, even though I read everywhere that the application is unstable, can leave iTunes in a mess when the sync fails, that it uses private API's on the iPhone side to update the iTunes library, and so on. Now he's claiming a full-on cloud service that also extends to wireless syncing (on the OS level) is ripping off his application that only implements the basic idea of wirelessly syncing your phone (as seen a million times elsewhere) and referring to how Apple even copied his icon even though it is just a composition of 2 existing Apple icons. And making a big show out of.

I'm really the first person to root for the little guy if it comes to developers vs. Apple in cases where applications appear to be rejected for no good reason (e.g. in the satyrical content cases). But this guy is just a grade-A douche, whoring for attention by trying to make a fuss out of nothing. If he's smart enough to develop this WiFi sync application he damn well knows why Apple rejected it, and he's obviously well aware that right now, riding the anti-Apple wave brings you lot of coverage.
post #25 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nairb View Post

And yet every other company that does anything even remotely like apple is copying them or stealing their IP. They were never already working on the functionality.

Makes perfect sense to me.

That's cute, you pull the same trick again at the very moment I'm replying to you.

You really think Apple just decided a few weeks ago that they would introduce a full-on cloud service centered around the idea of wirelessly pushing everything to all your iOS devices without any user interaction, and that this WiFi sync guy actually invented wireless syncing before it was ever on Apple's long-term roadmap?

If so, you really are delusional. The fact that you cannot find any other way to make your case than to point to some completely unrelated emotional argument seems to confirm just that. 'Uhuhh Apple bad, Apple evil, just look at this one example of something they did I don't like, and see how I extrapolate that to everything Apple does or does not do'.
post #26 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

Apple has failed to sync the way many want to since 2007 and this guy came along with an attempt to fill in the market gap...it would be interesting to see the reasoning that apple gave for the rejection...was it truly buggy? or was it some vague "duplicate functionality" rejection? I think the discovery on this case would be fun...lets see code samples, anything in Apples code base look the same? and what were the commit dates on that code vs when the engineers saw his app?

that phone call that he speaks of where the rep said that it didnt technically violate any of apples policies may be the smoking gun here against apple

I love your enthusiasm that Apple never plan to do wireless sync at all. And not only that, there's even a good chance this greedy corporate had copied this poor developer's code.
post #27 of 195
We shouldn't be surprised that Apple would reject app only to add the functionality later on. But for Apple to do this, and then usurp the developer's name for the app and the logo? Hard to believe Apple would be so brazen. There has to be more to this story than meets the eye.
post #28 of 195
The guy did ok out of this, but for him to feel 'ripped off' is ridiculous.

Its such an obvious and ubiquitously useful feature, not to mention the stunning obviousness of combining Apple's Airport logo and Apple's iSync logo... I mean, come on.

If I were him, i'd feel glad i'd made a few K out of it before the inevitable happened. And then i'd STFU.
post #29 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

We shouldn't be surprised that Apple would reject app only to add the functionality later on. But for Apple to do this, and then usurp the developer's name for the app and the logo? Hard to believe Apple would be so brazen. There has to be more to this story than meets the eye.

Seriously? Look at the logo. Then look at iSync's logo, and apple's Airport logo.

And as for the name... hmm... its a way to sync via wifi... what will we call it? Hmm......

Edit : this sums it up perfectly: http://chipotle.tumblr.com/post/6366...ious-questions
post #30 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

We shouldn't be surprised that Apple would reject app only to add the functionality later on. But for Apple to do this, and then usurp the developer's name for the app and the logo? Hard to believe Apple would be so brazen. There has to be more to this story than meets the eye.

Occam's Razor applies here. The simplest explanation is that Apple was already working on this, already had working software in the lab. But immediately attacking the "evil corporation" has become the standard norm in American culture. Yellow journalism loves to make everything an outrage, a David vs. Goliath story. We need victims, lots of victims so we can shake our heads and feign disgust.
post #31 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

Apple has failed to sync the way many want to since 2007 and this guy came along with an attempt to fill in the market gap...it would be interesting to see the reasoning that apple gave for the rejection...was it truly buggy? or was it some vague "duplicate functionality" rejection?

That's only relevant if Apple has a legal obligation to allow everything into the appstore that meets the guidelines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

I think the discovery on this case would be fun...lets see code samples, anything in Apples code base look the same? and what were the commit dates on that code vs when the engineers saw his app?

It would be very surprising if Apple stole his code.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

that phone call that he speaks of where the rep said that it didnt technically violate any of apples policies may be the smoking gun here against apple

... only if he can provide evidence (beyond just his own testimony of his recollection) of exactly what was said.
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post #32 of 195
Yep.. Coz WiFi synching is very original. No one has ever done it before until this kid did it..
post #33 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

An Apple representative contacted Hughes to explain the rejection, saying the app didn't "technically break the rules," though it did "encroach upon the boundaries" of what is allowed in the App Store.

Aside from whether Apple stole the idea, this highlights what I've always felt was a risk to anyone who wants to develop an app for iOS. Just how much time, effort, and money are you willing to invest in your program without knowing if at the end of the day Apple is going to reject it? Some of the guidelines are vague to begin with. And now you have to worry about being rejected even if you aren't breaking the rules!
post #34 of 195
It seems to me Apple prevented this developer from making several millions dollars.

- The app has proven to have significant value: 50,000 downloads on Cydia at 10$ a pop = 500,000$
- The app never violated the app store rules; it was simply close to edges.
- I can easily see at least 500,000 downloads if the app was on the Apple App Store
post #35 of 195
The kid made a half of million dollars selling the app on Cydia essentially working for himself (minus whatever cut Cydia takes).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duo View Post

I was just reading about this at Cult of Mac and according to their post the developer was asked for a resume. Wonder why he didn't hand one in and instead went to Cydia. You'd think that an Apple representative asking for your resume after Apple just rejected your app would clue you in.
post #36 of 195
These icons are dissimilar in the same way the Samsung icons are dissimilar.
post #37 of 195
You are incorrect. It did violate the rules. It used Apple's private API's. Apple disallows the use of its private API's because it they might be unstable or change. Apple also uses private API's internally to test upcoming products, like let's say iCloud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacksons View Post

It seems to me Apple prevented this developer from making several millions dollars.

- The app has proven to have significant value: 50,000 downloads on Cydia at 10$ a pop = 500,000$
- The app never violated the app store rules; it was simply close to edges.
- I can easily see at least 500,000 downloads if the app was on the Apple App Store
post #38 of 195
The icons are very similar. It is fair to say, however, the kid essentially copied Apple's iSync and Wi-Fi icons and put them together. The kid created a derivative work based on Apple's copyrighted material. Apple's protected.
post #39 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duo View Post

I was just reading about this at Cult of Mac and according to their post the developer was asked for a resume. Wonder why he didn't hand one in and instead went to Cydia. You'd think that an Apple representative asking for your resume after Apple just rejected your app would clue you in.

It seems you like working for someone else. However, there are other types of people that like to have more influence over their destiny and prefer to take a different route.

Good news though: You can stop worrying (or giving lame advice like "get a clue") -typically, those people already have a clue and will do just fine.
post #40 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

The icons are very similar. It is fair to say, however, the kid essentially copied Apple's iSync and Wi-Fi icons and put them together. The kid created a derivative work based on Apple's copyrighted material. Apple's protected.

You need to brush up on your knowledge of this area of the law.
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