It's no secret that Apple's forthcoming iOS 5 incorporates a lot of new features and ideas that might say the company "borrowed" from third-party developers, but one feature in particular is raising some eyebrows: Wi-Fi Sync.
Way back in April 2010, we profiled an app called Wi-Fi Sync that allowed users to sync their iOS devices wirelessly to iTunes. The application was submitted to Apple for inclusion in the App Store, but it was rejected. The developer subsequently released the app into the Cydia store for jailbroken devices, where it has been selling well at a $9.99 price point.
As noted by TUAW, Apple's Wi-Fi sync feature enabled by the combination of iOS 5 and iTunes 10.5 bears a strong resemblance to the original third-party app, right down to the name and the design of the icon Apple is using to promote it.
OK, so maybe Apple was working on this capability in April of 2010 when Hughes first submitted Wi-Fi Sync to the App Store. But is it a coincidence that the Apple Wi-Fi Sync icon is almost identical to the one that Hughes had a designer create for him last year? Check out Hughes' icon below at left, and Apple's new icon at right. Interesting...
The Register follows up with Greg Hughes, the developer of the original Wi-Fi Sync app, who notes that he was "fairly shocked" to see the similar feature make an appearance on Monday.
"Obviously I was fairly shocked," said Hughes, referring to his reaction on Monday when he saw the new feature promoted on Apple's website. "I'd been selling my app with that name and icon for at least a year. Apple knew that, as I'd submitted it to them, so it was surprising to see that."
Hughes notes that Apple took a special interest in his initial application, with a member of the developer relations team personally calling him to report the rejection and to say that the iPhone engineering team had looked at the application and had been impressed. Hughes says that Apple had also requested a copy of his curriculum vitae, suggesting that the company did have some interest in what he was up to.
In an email to a customer sent in June 2010 after the original Wi-Fi Sync application had been rejected, Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that the company was planning to introduce a Wi-Fi syncing feature "someday", although he provided no indication of what stage of development the feature was at or when the company hoped to release it.