Apple is allegedly in breach of copyright theft, after similarities emerged between the new Wi-Fi Sync feature in iOS and an app created by a young British developer.
Greg Hughes, a final-year student of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham, has accused Apple of ripping off an app he submitted for approval to the App Store in May 2010, which was swiftly rejected due to so-called “security concerns”.
The app was later released on Cydia, a popular third-party apps repository for jailbroken iPhone for $9.99 (£6.07) and has since been downloaded over 50,000 times.
Hughes claims that Cupertino has sneakily purloined his work in the recently unveiled iOS 5, which offers users the ability to wirelessly synchronise their iTunes library and even bears a nearly identical logo.
Speaking to the The Telegraph, Hughes said: “I'd been selling my app with that name and icon for a year. Apple knew about it as I'd submitted it to them, so it was surprising to see that they had pinched it for iOS 5.”
He confirmed that he is seeking legal counsel to determine his next move.
"I was completely shocked. I'm in the middle of exams so the timing isn't great. At the end of the day you have to stand up and defend your work."
Steal or no steal?
Apple has also been accused of nicking ideas from rival platforms in several newly added features in iOS 5, including a pull-down notifications area introduced by Android and system-level integration of Twitter.
Hughes admitted, however, that Apple personally contacted him to explain the reason for the refusal, stating that it was ‘excellent’ but was over-developed.
“They did say that the iPhone engineering team had looked at it and were quite impressed”, Hughes told The Register, adding that Apple even “asked me to send my CV for after I graduate”.
While we certainly don’t condone theft, a potential job offer with the most profitable company in the world fresh outta school is nothing scoff at either. Especially considering that it’s more than most developers are treated to when their apps get shown the door on the App Store.
Food for thought.