Apple Now Blocking Wi-Fi Finding Apps, Sparks Debate Over Competition - HotHardware
Apple Now Blocking Wi-Fi Finding Apps, Sparks Debate Over Competition

Apple Now Blocking Wi-Fi Finding Apps, Sparks Debate Over Competition

People don't pay much mind to the fact that Walmart, Sears and loads of other retailers shy away from selling wildly explicit material, but when it comes Apple, it seems that everyone is keeping a close eye on what they do. Just a few months after the company announced that it would be yanking some sexually-related apps from the App Store (and taking a sufficient amount of heat in the process), the company now seems to be doing a similar thing to apps of a much less risque description.

According to a new report, Apple has begun to yank Wi-Fi finding applications from the App Store, which is curious on a number of levels. For starters, we have always heard that Apple was quick to ban/block apps that basically served the same function as an app that was built into iPhone OS. This is the reason why you really won't find any additional Mail apps on the App Store. In a way, we can understand that logic. But we still can't quite wrap our heads around this one.



Wi-Fi finding apps were extremely helpful for those who needed to sniff out an open access point just to download a large file attachment or send a large e-mail. Now, it seems that those who haven't already downloaded one will be out of luck. We did notice that Apple's iPhone OS provides this functionality on a very, very basic level. If you go into the iPhone's "Settings" pane, you can then switch "On" the Wi-Fi and watch as it searches and displays whatever Wi-Fi access points are nearby. But there's no additional detail or extra search options; it's the bare minimum, but apparently Apple isn't too keen on people making this better via their own app.

This all brings us to a very important question: why can't Apple developers, who pay hard-earned money to be a part of the program, develop apps to compete with Apple's own? Does Apple really think that no one can ever out-do their own apps? Do they simply not want their own apps to look paltry in comparison to third-party alternatives? It's hard to say what Apple's thinking here; they'll let people download apps that turn the iPhone into a flashlight, but they're blocking sophisticated Wi-Fi finding apps that actually boost productivity and make the iPhone itself a more attractive smartphone option. Will anyone ever truly understand how Apple ticks?


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As for the inter competition with there own software why is that even a question. That is basically there business model, kind of like you can't use any hardware except for specific Apple certified components. This is even though the hardware is the same from one to the other.

As for the wireless being blocked it looses money for there partners At&t. With wireless connections people can go bottom line on there data package.

Either way I think Apple in general are hypocrites anyway.

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rapid1: That would make sense if the device in question is just the iPhone - but since iPod Touch users can't download the Wi-Fi apps either, it doesn't make sense.

Of course, in Apple's mind, everyone should have an iPhone.

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I agree with both of you. I think it's some requirement their partners imposed on them in an agreement - without thought to the iPod Touch users.

Of course, they would have to be hypocritical asshats to complain about iPhone users using so much bandwidth while simultaneously forcing iPhone users to use more bandwidth... So, it's probably true.

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"Of course, in Apple's mind, everyone should have an iPhone."

Which is precisely why I don't get it. Sure, lots of people own an iPhone, but there are some that don't, and never will. Wouldn't it make sense to allow these sorts of apps, to widen the market just a tiny bit? I mean, it's not like they are blocking apps that open backdoors or do something illegal or harmful: if a developer pays for the development kit, they're not going to do that. Rather, Apple is just being greedy, and accomplishing the reverse of their aim: "The more you tighten your grip, the more users will slip through your fingers..."

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you can "think different" as long as you think the same as us...

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Oh, How very liberal of Apple!

You don't own our products, WE own You!

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Do you think that there might be a relation to this action and the iPad's data terms? Is AT&T driving the action to push their hotspots and advertising money? Will there be a new data plan tied to the iPhone?

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I think animatortom and 2old4fun both get it, Apple owns it's users (of course not that M$ doesn't, they just are way, way more lenient on who you play with, you just have to include them to). As for the data plan and wireless availability besides cellular, or specialized hotspots, they give at&t more power to own you as well.

This all does a few things, lock you to At&t Apples partner, your already dependent on Apple so that's a moot point, it also to a point reduces strain on At&t's beleaguered network. That last point is done through At&t hotspot specific availability like Mickie Dee's. Either way it makes Apple and At&t's customer base more dependent without being obvious about it, this of course has long been Apple's business plan.

I actually think it suck because in theory Apple's OS is a full up custom version of UNIX, which Linux is based upon, but there version is full Unix or a cut down of it, and therefore not open source really.

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Giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, I would imagine there's more to it than just a "not developed here" mindset (for that you have to go to HP or Sony). The porno apps removal, you see, was not the harbinger of the company's own "iSmut" release.

If I had to guess I'd imagine that it was the AT&T partnership. Please note, though, that it doesn't obviate the WiFi connection in favor of a 3G connection; this is just a WiFi finder (and in my experience not a very good one). It does, in fact, merely look up reported free WiFi locations via the Web (or possibly it stores them internally) and reports based on your ZIP code. In other words, it's a fancy single-purpose web browser or, at best, a database.

That having been said, it would probably be beneficial for travellers who have an iPod Touch, are in an unfamiliar place, and need a connection. Especially since McDonald's promise of free WiFi turned out to be a lie.

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I don't know what the reason is whether it's AT&T pusing them to their free wi-fi spots or whether it superseds Apple's own wi-fi finding solution but I think it's unfair for the people who want a good free wi-fi finding product. I mean Apple should allow these apps, it doesn't threaten their own functionality and it actually helps people find free wi-fi areas, how are people supposed to access fast internet on the iPhone?

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Given that Apple tends to do many things that honestly seem that they are doing it to spite people, or piss them off. I imagined that WiFi finding apps would be the first category of apps to go. Since there were so many "sexually-related" apps, they had to remove those first. It really doesn't matter to me, since I have a phone that lets me use the internet on it, and my iPod is jailbroken, but for all the iPhone and iPod Touch users to lose their WiFi apps that they have already paid for, that seems messed up to me.

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