It used to be called "Sherlocking".
British student Greg Hughes' Wi-fi Sync
application was rejected by the Apple App Store
for security reasons. Undeterred, he sold it on the Cydia store for jailbroken iPhone apps. At WWDC
on Monday, IOS 5 was unveiled, with the latest iteration of the iPhone operating system offering
Twitter integration, a built-in to do list, an adless longform reader... and Wi-fi sync.
- the unofficial Apple Weblog, not generally Cupertino's harshest critic - has taken up his case, pointing to similarities in both the name and the icon design - although a cynic might note that both icons simply combine the accepted visual language for "wifi" and "sync", and the name is generic to the point of unavoidability. Going further, it has listed other jailbroken iPhone apps which seem to have inspired improvements in IOS 5
. However, it also acknowledges that in many cases these applications themselves supplied functions previously encountered in other mobile OSes.
Elsewhere, Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper, one of the third-party apps apparently threatened by IOS 5's built-in functionality, argues that a rising tide lifts everyone
, and that users who enjoy Safari Reader will be more likely to want to upgrade to Instapaper than users who have never understood the benefit.
The issue raises questions around to what extent any OS can innovate without treading on the conceptual toes of others - one might point to the sea-change
the iPhone itself seemed to spark in smartphone design
(YouTube link to MacWorld 2007 keynote). Apple's interest in upgrading its notification system was made clear by the hiring of Rich Dellinger
from Palm, and then of Peter Hajas,
creator of the MobileNotifier
app for jailbroken iPhones. Kyle Adams
, UI lead on MobileNotifier, has taken a philosophical approach:
I’ll admit I was little pissed this afternoon. for a good 5-8 hours. I’ve talked to a number of people about it though, and I think I’m just at the point where I’m more flattered than anything. I should feel amazing that Apple saw what I did and thought ‘this sells, let’s use that’.