Apple Accused Of Copying iOS 5 Wi-Fi Sync Feature From Rejected Jailbreak App

Wi-Fi Sync

Wi-Fi Sync and PC Free features in iOS 5, will finally allow Apple to cut the cord. They are also our favorite iOS 5 features as we’ve always longed for the day when iOS device such as iPad and iPhone won’t need a computer.

But folks at TUAW remind us that the Wi-Fi sync feature is not a new one for users who have jailbroken their iOS devices as jailbreak appWi-Fi Sync that we’ve covered last year, already allowed users to wirelessly sync their jailbroken iOS device with iTunes over a Wi-Fi network.

Apple had rejected the app when Greg Hughes – developer of Wi-Fi Sync had initially submitted the app to the App Store because of “security concerns“, which forced him to release the app on Cydia. It has been available on Cydia for the last 13 months for $9.99.

Apple’s feature not only gets the same name, but as you can see below, the Wi-Fi Sync icon also looks quite identical to the icon of Wi-Fi Sync jailbreak app.

Wi-Fi Sync 2.0 icon (left) and Apple’s Wi-Fi Sync icon (right)

The Register caught up with the UK-based developer to get his reaction. He had this to say:

“Obviously I was fairly shocked,” said Hughes, referring to his reaction on Monday when he saw the new feature promoted on Apple’s website. “I’d been selling my app with that name and icon for at least a year. Apple knew that, as I’d submitted it to them, so it was surprising to see that.”

The Register also reports:

He said an iPhone developer relations representative named Steve Rea personally called him prior to sending a formal rejection email to say the app was admirable, but went on to explain there were unspecified security concerns and that it did things not specified in the official iPhone software developers’ kit.

It is likely that Apple had already started working on the Wi-Fi Sync feature before Hughes submitted the app to the App Store, but the similarities have raised some eyebrows.

It is difficult to believe that Apple copied the feature from the jailbreak app – as the functionality has always been one of the most requested features by iOS users, but let’s hope that Hughes is rewarded by Apple in some way for being the first to introduce the feature. If you want the Wi-Fi sync feature before iOS 5 is released this fall, then you can purchase and install Wi-Fi Sync 2.0 from Cydia.

Do you think Apple copied from the jailbreak app? Please share your views in the comments below.

[The Register via TUAW]

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  • J

    Definitely copied! All apple new updates have come from hard working jailbreak community

    • psp

      yup they ran out of idea so they copy jb developer work or hire them

    • hivaids

      backing Hughes on this one

    • hivaids

      and on a side note this means his app will stop selling once the new ios comes out.

      so thats what? a triple kick in the pants now? lol

  • Geekinit

    Since Jailbreaking a device is legal, i think ethically Apple is in the wrong for doing this. I guess what matters is whether the idea was copywritten, pattended or trademarked in some way?

    • Flame Red

      Even if it is Copy Protected, Trademarked, Patented, etc., such protection is only worth the degree you are prepared to protect your patent. Apple has buildings full of lawyers…

  • psp

    what abt whatsapp? imessage copy them

  • fas

    Copied and they always do. Hence they dont stop jailbreakers.

  • Kimk69

    Are you guys serious. His app was a piece of shit for one and do you really think apple hasn’t been thinking about syncing wirelessly for a while. But it’s so much more than that. It’s only able to do what they want it to because of the new icloud. His app was garbage and you still had to go to the computer to actually click the sync button in iTunes. You had to uninstall it from the computer side if you needed to restore or update your device or it would fail with an error and not tell you why. It took me so long to figure this out the first time and at the time their wasn’t even any info on it on his website. Apples version is nothing like this and if you were a developer do you really think this type of app would make it into the AppStore in the first place. (NOT) as for the logo, are you kidding me. The arrows are in a couple of apples sync icons and Wifi is what should be written in there. What else could you put in their. They already have an icon on the Mac that looks like that and says sync on it colored grey.

    • Kimk69

      My bad, it doesn’t even say wifi it just has the wifi logo with the lines. Come on.

  • Kimk69IsAReject

    Hey Kimk, you must have used one of the early releases and were to big of a stuck up pig to use the updated version when avail.

    As well, I do not see you producing anything of quality to the iProducts to be able to run your mouth in regards of a shitty developed app or not.

  • Kimk69

    Ouch. I’m hurt.

  • Trollup

    Well it is completely unbelievable to think that all such devices especially Apple devices that are updated so often were not headed in this direction in the first place it only manes sence. As for the logo what else should it look like? Also Apple patentes everything at least a few years before it’s introduced so I’m sure they patented it long ago. The jailbreak developer helped the jailbreak community indeed but let’s face facts everything is headed that way. And everyone gets a better device. As for the developer come up with something really cool and new to wow jail breakers with but sooner or later the rest of the world will catch up with your idea and that makes the world better for everyone. Also patten your ideas before submitting them then if you feel slighted you have legal avenues.

  • Eric

    Apple always copy, openly and secretly. In iOS4, apple copied folders and multi tasking, which is already in Cydia then. A lots of features are copied from Cydia. In iOS 5,the copying is greater. Emoji and the notification are ‘copied’legally I assume? Wifi sync and lockinfo(that’s what its called in Cydia) are also copied.

    • Pacomac

      So according to you Cydia invented folders and multi-tasking? Of course not, and for your information multi-tasking was always incorporated into the earliest versions of iOS, they just didn’t allow none Apple apps to multi-task.

      • Eric

        Let’s not say Cydia invented multi tasking. Cydia community manage to allow non apple Apps to multi- task. But if you have use iphone for a long time and you do jailbreak, you can’t deny that apple get ideas from the Cydia community

        • Steve

          TO take this one step further, lets say that both Apple AND Cydia get ideas from the iPhone user community. There’s nothing there that says BOTH can’t listen to the user base and produce apps from ideas they hear everywhere.

          Who can implement it first vs. who can implement it better is an entirely different discussion, since “better” is truly a time-based, individual, end user subjective assessment.

      • Kimk69

        But this is what I’m talking about. Like multitasking, in my opinion they probably always wanted to do this but the first couple of phones couldn’t handle it with out killing batteries and memory. This wifi sync deal has probably been in their thoughts for a long while now but they can’t make some feature that doesn’t work good or half ass and now with the cloud that I’m sure has been a couple of years in the making will not only sync without a USB cable which is no big feature to me like the jailbreak app and Apple’s is not an app it’s in the system and will not even need to touch the computer to sync and most important it will back the device up. Awesome. I’m just happy that apple is constantly looking to better all of their devices.

  • Dave W.

    I’m surprised most people believe you can steal such a general idea. I feel like a majority of devices sync, update, etc, over the air, it seems kinda like ummm common sense to me.

    And I have to agree with kim, this app was not the best imo and did have stability issues when I tried it last year. Regardless of the updates, it was junk then and will never try it again.

  • John

    Was the cydia app working? Apple was probably already in the process of working on wifi sync. Otherwise, they would’ve hired the guy like they did with the notifications.

  • To be honest there aren’t many ways to say ‘WiFi Syncing’ and it’s not just unique to iPhones. Can see a strong resemblance though so I think they do have a point.

  • Shrivatsa

    So, Apple could say that he copied their Wifi and iSync logos. So what the hell?

  • hacker

    apple recently hired one of the guys who made the notifications so they could have just taken his idea but they didn’t and they didn’t have to hire him cuz the rules are you have to summit your app to apple period to get approved to put an app on there apple device so they don’t have to steal and yes apple does get ideas from apps in cydia and that’s why that guy got hired.the guy getting hired shows there watching you developers and apple has thousands of developers already im pretty sure out of all those apple developers one of them had that idea in mind and for the guy Hughes who made that app it wasn’t a stupid app obviously because its now going to ios5 and i feel his pain cuz he should have gotten hired too cuz that just makes apple stronger to have more developers on board but i don’t think Hughes really cares that much cuz he made alot of money

  • hacker

    oh and by the way apple invented the app store for the developers community giving millions of people JOBS!!!!!

  • Da1 smokey

    Wow every1 knows everything about everything on here!! NOT!!!! They r just basically looking at the most used JB and then copying them. And who is gonna stop them? Not anybody!! America was built on screwing people over so why expect any different from apple? That’s how the rich get richer and every1 else just scrapes by!! Duces

  • sm

    submitted applications, dont they show the source code to be checked over? if so, theres the point changer, source clone, then they have a base for to make changes/improvements/new features to such coding, and then they can call it some produce of the green fruit society. (i dont agree with it) but i think that is what happens for some coders.

  • mozbius

    Personally I’m waiting for Apple to bring in QuickSMS type of application… You know what? Nevermind. Current releases of QuickSMS apps (especially BiteSMS)are way too good to expect better from Apple. FM radio (through the unlocking of the feature on he cpu) would be nice!

  • Sylvain

    Why wouldn’t Apple copy idea from cydia. Obviously some of this apps are highly popular which shows what the user base wants.

    It’s seam that only in the software community that everyone makes a big deal about software similarities. You don’t see that anywhere else. Like car makers, nor furniture makers. Floweriest. but yet all industry looks at it’s competitor for what works, and use this idea in there business.

  • Mark

    For years big technology companies (ala Microsoft) have been implementing “new features” into its products which were blatant and obvious rip offs of work originally done by independent developers. They do this because they know small people like Greg Huges simply cannot afford to fight a behemoth company.

    DID Apple have a wi-fi sync feature already in development at the time Greg Hughes submitted his Wi-Fi Sync app for review? It doesn’t matter, because Apple never announced it and Greg was there first with a product ready to go. For that, Apple should have taken the high road and purchased the rights to Wi-Fi Sync. But instead of compensating the man for all of his hard work, Apple gave Greg a vague excuse, included the same idea into its next iOS version, and then went as far as to make the icon look almost identical to Greg’s (no doubt as a way of thumbing its nose at him).

    Apple, I remember you used to be the righteous kid on the block whom loyal fans cheered for having a better OS. But now, since the first success of your wildly popular iPod line, you have slowly been turning into an obnoxious bully just like Microsoft. Shame on you.

  • Dale

    Couldn’t agree more with Mark’s statement, as to the other poster’s Wi-Fi sync did have stability issues, but when combined with Synchronicity it would back-up and sync my iPhone in the background, just like Apple’s Wi-Fi sync claims to do, and I never had any major problems with it. My respect for Apple as the legitimite and honourable underdog of the electronics industry has been eroded as I have seen idea after idea first appear in the jailbreak community, and then those self same ideas are incorporated into the next iOS update. Apple should recognise and compensate those who have already released a feature if they hadn’t already patented or announced such a feature before hand. Indeed if this were to happen in the UK such an action would be illegal (assuming the idea was patented by the developer) however I am unfamiliar with US patent law and legal aid systems.

    To quote the Simpson’s, “What happened Apple? You used to be cool!”

  • Jaqbly

    All I have to say is thank you Greg Hugh’s for giving us wifi sync in ios5. And to everyone that said it was crap,it your fault your stupid cuz the cydia app work perfect for me on all my devices.