Apple may have ripped off a feature in the upcoming iOS 5 from a young app developer.
Last year, IBTimes did a story on Greg Hughes, a young British software developer, whose app got rejected by Apple. Hughes' app gave people the ability to wirelessly sync their iTunes library to any iOS device. At the time, the only way to do this was through a USB cord. Apple, however, rejected the app.
They said no due to unspecified security reasons, Hughes said in an email to IBTimes. As has been reported by some other websites, their representative commented on the technical impressiveness of the app, but said that it would still be rejected.
Undeterred, Hughes put the app on Cydia, which is where unauthorized apps go to be bought and downloaded to jail broken iPhones. Hughes' app blew up and became immensely popular, something he did not foresee. It sold something in the neighborhood of 50,000 copies.
Fast forward to a little more than one year later and Apple's Scott Forstall is on stage at the Worldwide Developer's Conference introducing the upcoming iOS 5 operating system for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Low and behold, one of the features? Wireless iTunes syncing. The name of Apple's feature is even the same one Hughes used. Even the icon is similar.
My reaction to the WWDC keynote was primarily disappointment, followed by disbelief after I saw the name and icon that Apple were assigning to this 'new' feature. Some side-by-side comparisons have been shown on a few websites, so you can see pretty clearly why I'm concerned about this, Hughes said.
Hughes said he cannot comment on the legality side of the situation or whether or not he plans on suing. All he said was he hopes they can resolve it as quickly as possible. As for future iPhone developers, Hughes has a word of advice.
I'd say to potential developers to be very prepared for this kind of thing if your idea is a good one. I'm not the first person this has happened to, and it doesn't look like I'll be the last, Hughes said.
Apple did not respond to an request for a comment.