More Random And Arbitrary iPhone App Removals: WiFi Finders Disappear

from the and-now-we're-at-war-with-eurasia dept

For a while the complaints used to be about Apple's totally arbitrary process for choosing which apps get into the iPhone app store, but lately the complaints have been about Apple (again totally arbitrarily) removing apps that were already there. There were all those complaints about the sudden removal of "adult" apps (unless you were someone famous like Playboy, in which case Apple was fine with it), and now there are complaints that Apple suddenly and inexplicably has removed WiFi finders from the app store. While developers feel they need to keep developing for the iPhone given its footprint in the market, moves like this are going to keep pissing off developers quite a bit too. You can do that when you dominate the market, but it can come back to bite you later on.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:11am

    As a recent convert to iPhone, I was disappointed that my free WiFi-Finder application didn't work.

    However, I found that WiFi-Track, a $1.99 application that I did indeed pay for, back in November worked.

    I was also surprised to find that this application worked as well with my iPhone as the iPod Touch I bought it for.

    The fact that Steve lets it work with my iPhone is amazing in itself.

     

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  2.  
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    Glurbie, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:20am

    What's wrong with a "Private Framework"

    I also read about it from this PC-World article:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/190789/apple_abolishes_wifi_scanners_from_app_store.html

    Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but the PC-World article leaves me with the impression that Apple's concern is that the developer's came up with their own method (a 'Private Framework') for Wi-Fi detection instead of using Apple's proprietary API. Is Apple trying to discourage development of apps that are portable to other platforms?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:39am

    Re: What's wrong with a "Private Framework"

    Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but the PC-World article leaves me with the impression that Apple's concern is that the developer's came up with their own method (a 'Private Framework') for Wi-Fi detection instead of using Apple's proprietary API.

    Apple's API doesn't *have* a way of doing what these apps were doing, do they *had* to come up with their own way.

    Is Apple trying to discourage development of apps that are portable to other platforms?

    They're trying to limit certain functionality in apps. There are things that they just don't want apps to be able to do. Unfortunately, the full list is secret and seems to change from day to day.

     

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  4.  
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    Glurbie, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 4:34am

    Re: Re: What's wrong with a "Private Framework"

    Okay, it isn't about portability. Now I have no idea what the motivation is.

     

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  5.  
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    i'LLPass, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 4:49am

    Walled Garden Syndrome

    The walled garden has been attempted more than once and has failed every time. It seems that Apple has WGS and should seek professional help. Perhaps there is a pill for that.

     

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  6.  
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    Bazooka Balls (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 4:49am

    Not enough competition

    If there wasn't such a horrible problem with our patent laws in this country (the USA) there would be much more competition in the mobile marketplace, and Apple wouldn't dominate it so much, and then developers would have more of a choice of which platforms they could target.

    As it stand right now, since Apple dominates the mobile app market so much, they can pretty much do what they want, it's their company, they should be allowed to pull apps for whatever reason they want. The sad thing, of course, is that Apple has all of this power because they keep competition out of the market. Look how long it took something like Android to come about, and now Apple is going to try and thwart that as well.

    Developers are kind of stuck. They can be pissed off about it but they still feel like they have to develop for that platform, because of the income potential.

    Get rid of patents altogether, then everyone would have a choice, and companies like Apple would be punished by consumers when/if they try to do thing like this.

     

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  7.  
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    rebrad (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 5:23am

    Big Brother

    If they were doing a reboot of the infamous Apple Mac's 1984 commercial today Steve Jobs would be the character on the big screen preaching to his fanbois. Funny how Apple predicted it's own future.

     

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  8.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 5:39am

    Re: Not enough competition

    Actually Apple don't dominate the market - Nokia still do.

    Apple only dominate the market amongst "Appleists" - a religeous sect that covers around 5% of the population - with perhaps another 10% Appleist Catechumens - who are attracted by Appleism but will probably drift away before they reach full member status..

    Within that sect they can do what they like - but if they want the rest of us to play then they have to change their attitude...

     

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  9.  
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    taoareyou (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 5:42am

    App Idea

    Someone should make some sort of app that keeps track of all the apps that were once OK but then later pulled. Call it iDevBeware or something. It could have category breakdowns, so you could select a category you are thinking about developing an app for and it can calculate the percentage chance that all your hard work will have a short lived return. :)

     

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  10.  
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    Greevar (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Not enough competition

     

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  11.  
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    My Name is Earl, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    iPhone then, DROID now

    I once wanted an iPhone, but didn't want to switch carriers. Then Motor DROID arrived and I am so glad I waited. I don't even care about the iPhone debates anymore. DROID amazes me with multitasking, fast processor, brilliant screen, and over 10,000 substantial apps. All the apps are there all the time in one convenient place on your phone.

     

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  12.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    We were never at war with EastAsia.

    Weakness is strength.
    Black is white.

    Life is death.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Who Needs Facts?, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 7:06am

    Apple dominates the market?

    The iPhone doesn't even control 20% of the smartphone market. Nokia and Blackberry still dominate. You're all just stupid enough to be influenced by Apple's reality distortion field.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    MattP, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    Re: App Idea

    Nobody wants to make an app they know will be rejected for objectionable content. :)

     

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  15.  
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    Overcast (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 7:22am

    So when you buy an iPhone does Apple thank you for buying their phone for them, so they can control it for you?

    So glad I recently got a Blackberry and not an iPhone...

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re: What's wrong with a "Private Framework"

    Its so that when the iPhone comes out with a new version the app doesn't begin making the entire phone crash every time it boots up.

     

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  17.  
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    bobzilla, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    No app for that

    At the Wireless Geographic Logging Engine ( http://wigle.net ), a database and mapping system for "Net Stumbling" or "War Driving" hobbyists, we've seen the iPhone provide a low barrier-to-entry for this hobby. It combines a GPS with a Wifi radio, but it can only work when apps like Wifi-Where, WiFiFoFum and others are allowed to exist.

    These apps were inspected for months before finally getting through the nebulous App Store approval process. Some have been available for months or even years. Now, arbitrarily, they are banned. If they use API calls that Apple didn't want them to, why were they approved? Why weren't the developers contacted behind the scenes to address any fiddly technical issues Apple might foresee?

    As users all we see is a useful app, that was paid for, that now can not be updated. We can't find the least used frequency channels to set our access points to, can't take surveys of campus wireless coverage or find rogue wifi on a corporate network. And we can't help with wireless mapping projects. There's no app for that.

     

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  18.  
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    tpber, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    very good wifi finder

    http://tools.meraki.com/stumbler

    It gives out more info than anything apple had at its store. I never ceases to amaze me how people complain about what is not offered thru that stupid store and just use the net.

    I guess apple acquired all of those aol users with the launch of the icrap

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Derek, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    This is nothing new

    Apple has been removing and refusing apps that use private frameworks since the beginning of the App Store. It's a direct violation of iPhone development terms. The wisdom of Apple's restriction is a quite debatable, but it's nothing new and it applies to all apps, not just wifi finders.

    There's no way for an end customer to know that an app in the App Store doesn't follow Apple's rules. While existing apps are not pulled off people's phones, the ability for a user to update or re-download an app they've already purchased is gone -- that pisses off paying customers, who quite reasonably assume that what they bought from Apple's store is approved by Apple.

    Every application and update is supposedly reviewed by Apple before being allowed into the store. Developers must agree to terms before submitting an app. My question is how/why some "private framework" apps go undetected for so long but others are blocked immediately.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Freedom, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 10:49am

    This pretty much says it all...

    This one statement somes up EVERYTHING wrong with the iPhone.

    >> The fact that Steve lets it work with my iPhone is amazing in itself.

    Freedom

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Bazooka Balls (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    No, you're right

    Ah, very good point Greevar. I guess what I meant to say, and should have said, was that even though there are many mobile products, the App Store has the highest traffic as of right now, and the most opportunity for generating income for developers.

    Another thing I meant about the competition is in terms of a touch screen and multi-touch screen type of OS for the mobile phone. Apple (and I assume other companies...such as the one suing Apple) seem to be trying to use patents to keep competition (such as HTC) from being able to use the touchscreen and multi-touch technology.

    So you're right, there is a lot of competition in the mobile marketplace, but for developers it appears as though Apple's product offers the most promise. Hopefully other platforms will gain in popularity for apps like the iPhone/iTouch/iPad soon.

     

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  22.  
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    Bazooka Balls (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Apple dominates the market?

    Yes, but doesn't Apple's App Store dominate in terms of the volume of purchases? I know the iPhone isn't dominating the smart phone market, but there's also the iTouch.

    Supposedly, according to Apple's numbers, there were about 50 million devices, with over 2 billion app downloads. Of course you can break those numbers apart by how many were free apps, and question the accuracy of those numbers, but that's still a lot more than any other smart phone, to my knowledge.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Turning Techdirt's Developers onto Wine

    Who cares? I bought my WiFinder, and it works just fine.

    When Techdirt's own developers make a Techdirt iPhone app and know first hand what it's like to get something submitted, I may believe what they say.

    Until then, I think they're just being a little whiny.

    Run along children, and get back to your Palm Pré SDK.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Turning Techdirt's Developers onto Wine

    Who cares? I bought my WiFinder, and it works just fine.

    When Techdirt's own developers make a Techdirt iPhone app and know first hand what it's like to get something submitted, I may believe what they say.

    Until then, I think they're just being a little whiny.

    Run along children, and get back to your Palm Pré SDK.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Turning Techdirt's Developers onto Wine

    Who cares? I bought my WiFinder, and it works just fine.

    When Techdirt's own developers make a Techdirt iPhone app and know first hand what it's like to get something submitted, I may believe what they say.

    Until then, I think they're just being a little whiny.

    Run along children, and get back to your Palm Pré SDK.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

    Turning Techdirt's Developers onto Wine

    Who cares? I bought my WiFinder, and it works just fine.

    When Techdirt's own developers make a Techdirt iPhone app and know first hand what it's like to get something submitted, I may believe what they say.

    Until then, I think they're just being a little whiny.

    Run along children, and get back to your Palm Pré SDK.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Desmo, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:22am

    I've had it with Apple

    I've had an iphone for a year now and I have finally had enough. It's for sale now and I'm never going back to Apple products. I have always been less than thrilled with Apple's way of doing business but after a year of dealing with them and stupid things like the removal of wifi finders I have had it!
    Apple is destined to remain a minor player in the market.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    iphone app reviews, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    I am all for them cleaning out all the stupid, redundant, fake and porn related apps. With that said, they need to be extremely careful about removing apps that have not violated any rules. There are jobs on the line here. If a company struggles to get an app developed and published, only to have it taken down unjustly, that can be devastating for them and can cost people their jobs and livelihoods!

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    taborrides, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    iPhone App Removals

    Just jailbreak your iPhone and you will find a selection of different free wifi finder applications and most if not all the other apps that Apple has remove or refused to allow us to have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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