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?