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Did Apple steal the Wi-Fi Sync feature for iOS 5 from a developer whose similar app was rejected?

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Did Apple steal the Wi-Fi Sync feature for iOS 5 from a developer whose similar app was rejected?
When Apple recently introduced iOS 5, it mentioned a new feature called "Wi-Fi Sync". This allows an iOS user with a device connected to a power source to automatically sync and back-up the device to iTunes via a Wi-Fi connection. To University of Birmingham student Greg Hughes, this sounded awfully familiar. Hughes had submitted an app to the App Store with the same exact name and practically the same logo that Apple rolled out earlier last week. Unfortunately, Apple had rejected the submission.

After rejecting Hughes' app for the App Store, an Apple representative called to tell him that while the app technically did not break any rules, it did "encroach upon the boundaries" of what can be offered in the App Store. Hughes didn't drop the project, instead he listed his app in the Cydia store aimed at jail-broken devices and sold over 50,000 copies of his "Wi-Fi Sync".

Greg Hughes, developer of the rejected

Greg Hughes, developer of the rejected "Wi-Fi Sync" with his logo(on top) and Apple's logo

When the student learned about Apple's introduction of its "Wi-Fi Sync", he was shocked and surprised. Hughes had been selling his version of "Wi-Fi Sync for a year. Apple had known about his software and he felt that the Cupertino-based firm had "pinched it for iOS 5". And while the App Store representative he spoke on the phone with last year had told him how impressed with his work the iPhone engineering team was, Hughes has received some legal advice and plans on defending himself and his work.

As the App Store continues to grow, it might be harder and harder for Apple to avoid stepping on the toes of small developers like Greg Hughes, which makes this a legal matter to watch as it moves through the legal system. If it does become a lawsuit,we would not be surprised to see Apple offer a settlement to make it go away.

source: AppleInsider


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posted on 11 Jun 2011, 12:24 15

1. gaby1451 (Posts: 114; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


Oh he should totally get in on this. This is a blatant copy of his app and he needs to make an example of this that developers will not be pushed around.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 16:19 5

19. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Of course, iFanboys who disagree with you will probably be the ones who were in favor of "making an example of" the teenager who got white iPhone 4 parts and made and sold conversion kits out of them.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 16:19 4

20. Fanboys Suck (Posts: 609; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


Serious, so those bastards. I really like Apple products, their ethics as a company suck hardcore.

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 12:42 1

51. stealthd (unregistered)


The apple tv has had wifi syncing since 2007. They didnt have to copy anything. You could actually argue he stole the idea from apple, or any other app out there that does this already for other platforms. There's nothing special or unique about this app to warrant the need to copy it, especially for a company that spends as much on R&D as apple.

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 21:45 1

61. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


honestly, this is a general idea... this is super general... wifi syncing? wp7 does it.. android does it.. is ios not allowed to do it cause this guy did it... what about the the others? but ya, just give him some money and he will be happy... idk apple wud win it in court but they will probably just be nice and offer a deal

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 21:49 1

63. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


oh ya, and if this was specific enough that it wud be stealing, wudnt the guy have a copyright?

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 17:52

72. DylanDinh (Posts: 10; Member since: 13 Jun 2011)


we're living in the USA dude? what are you asking for is mental copyright which mean an idea automatically become a copyright if you have a proof to prove that. For example: take a picture and print it out with you name and date on it. It's also call your own property and you have a right to sue anyone who take that picture away from you and put their name on it. you're welcome:)

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 23:09

75. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


yes, i understand, but as i said they just need to check the code... cause like so many times in history, u can copy someones idea if u use it in ur own way and they arent smart enough to protect it... but ya, apple shud give him a few thousand or something

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 01:47 1

65. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


This IS a very specific functionality. The functionality is wifi syncing to iTunes while on a power source. It's not a general wifi sync function.

And we don't know if the guy has a patent, which could arguably and sadly sink his entire case. But it won't erase the fact of the matter, which is that the evidence points to Apple stealing a good idea that someone else had and giving no one else the credit.

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 16:48

70. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


this is sooooo general though... and they shud check the code... cause if it is the same then ya they stole but if not then it is obviously general enough that they cud make their own...

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 12:24 12

2. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


When other companies see someone do something extraordinary that they should have thought of, they hire the person or buy the rights to the person's creation. Apple just gives them the finger and walks away with the creation.

Best way to tell if they completely stole his idea would be to see if the code is about the same.

Btw, I wonder how the iFanboys will defend this one.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 12:45 6

5. AppleFUD (unregistered)


Generally speaking you are right on. I read an article a little while back about some developers making a media player for the Mac pre iTunes. Apple started iTunes and tried to hire them but they said no thanks, so apple highered a rival and blatantly took many of the features form the other media player and incorporated them into iTunes. The thing was, Apple was never straight about it to the devs. They wanted to hire them but didn't tell them. . . oh, btw, we are developing a direct competitor to your media player with all your IP. Just told them they loved their work and wanted to hire them--BS, buy the freaking product and stop trying to get off cheap.

Apple has been stealing blatantly from other companies and devs since day one. The slick thing about apple is, they convince their user base that they invented all this stolen IP.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 13:16 3

8. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3109; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


To the sheep apple can do no wrong. This kid had it coming they will say. I wish the isheep would drink the koolaid.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 17:26

23. Hallucinator (Posts: 387; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Probably the same way Android fanboys defend Android everytime they steal an idea. Get off your high horse jack ass

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 17:44 7

25. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


When is the last time Android stole an idea from a developer and kicked them to the curb? Yeah, didn't think so. Nice use of the word "jackass" though.

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 21:48 1

62. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


what about android in general... didnt they steal javame code and are getting sued by oracle?

and geez i mean if we say this wifi sync thing is a copyright cant we say android multitasking is a copy off of backgrounder?

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 01:49

66. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Android didn't steal java from an independent developer. And Oracle itself didn't develop Java.

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 23:10

76. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


ya but they still stole it... and oracle bought java just to sue android... haha

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 23:58

77. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


They used Java, but a lot of applications use it. They didn't say they invented Java, they just used their code, supposedly without proper licensing. But the matter hasn't been entirely cleared up yet.

posted on 14 Jun 2011, 00:45

78. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


basically u just said stealing in a nice way...

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 03:39 1

34. stealthd (unregistered)


There's nothing extraordinary about this app. If you honestly think there's a chance a company as large as apple would steal code for such a simple feature then you're nuts.

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 04:21 4

35. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


When the company is Apple, and when the code is good enough for Apple to compliment the kid over it, and when another solution would take a long time and a different workaround to figure out, I find it plausible.

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 11:50 2

47. stealthd (unregistered)


The jailbreak app is a workaround. Apple's app isn't. Apple built wifi syncing into iTunes, there's no way they used the same workaround as this app.

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 07:55 1

40. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


It's not the code that matters, its the idea.

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 11:51 3

48. stealthd (unregistered)


The Apple TV has had wifi syncing since 2007. This app has been out for a year. So using the same flimsy correlation as this article, you could argue the developer actually copied Apple.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 12:30 7

3. lolz (unregistered)


This kid does not have resources for a lawsuit, Apple knows this. So they stole his work and will offer him SCRAPS to shut him up. Hey maybe he gets free iPhone 5. lol!

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 15:51 1

17. bossmt_2 (Posts: 449; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)


Someone will take this case as it's a slam dunk for settlement and they'll get paid a percentage.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 16:01 1

18. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


all they have to do is have a lawyer find an independant coder familiar with apple app language and compare the original code to apple's code. If its extremely similar apple will find themselves in a lawsuit pretty quickly as any decent lawyer will take the case on a "i get paid if we get paid" basis, knowing there is like a 90% chance of a quick settlement by apple for probably 6 figures or more.

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 02:38 2

32. lolz (unregistered)


It will come down to who OWNS a patent(s) and not an actual CODE.

Patent infringement IS big $$$ for any lawyer.

If there is/are no patent(s), then all the kid will get is ,,I,,

Sad, sad day for him tho, to see this happen to him.

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 18:00

73. DylanDinh (Posts: 10; Member since: 13 Jun 2011)


lol, If I were that kid I will try to sue apple until death instead of taking their iPhone 5.. Why? because I will become a millionaire because of that.. it's a way better than $599.99 and ~$650 included taxes teehee :P

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