04 March 2010

Apple #FAIL in the App Store

Yesterday came news from Apple and app developers that WiFi scanning apps were being banned from the App Store. The reason? "[U]sing private frameworks to access wireless information," which seems to be code for anything that is using the iPhone's 802.11 radio. Any of these such apps have been removed, including WiFiTrak, WiFiFoFum, yFy Network Finder, WiFi-Where, WiFi Get and WiFi Get Plus. It is interesting to note that among them, WiFiFoFum has been available on the App Store since September 2008.

To me, this means either that 1) Apple's security process is incredibly flawed (having an allowed an app that used a "private framework" since 2008); or more likely 2) it's not about security at all, and more about DRM, control and changing the rules at their own whim (which, frankly, also says a lot about their security process).

I don't have my phone with me at the moment, but I am assuming that any such apps already installed should continue to work (I have read about the rumored Apple remote kill switch for apps, but that they have apparently never actually used it). As a result this will just add momentum to the reasons to jailbreak; the developer of yFy Network Finder has signalized his intent to make his app available on Cydia.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Apple probably won't be refunding money to the people who paid for these apps, either.

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