Apple sure seems to be finding a lot of inspiration in the jailbreak community.
Only days after one jailbreak developer noted similarities between Apple’s new notifications in iOS 5 and his work in the app MobileNotifier, it looks like Apple has directly lifted the name, logo and functionality of the popular jailbreak app Wi-Fi Sync in its new OS as well, The Register reports.
Developed by UK-based Greg Hughes, Wi-Fi Sync was rejected from the official App Store last year (an Apple representative cited security concerns). The app lets users wirelessly sync their iOS devices with iTunes, something that normally requires plugging into a computer. Hughes went on to offer the app for $9.99 on the Cydia Store for jailbroken iOS devices, where it sold more than 50,000 copies in the last 13 months.
I’ve been using Hughes’ app for some time, and it works exactly as advertised. Apple’s version of Wi-Fi Sync has the added ability of automatically performing a wireless sync whenever an iOS device is connected to a power source, but otherwise it doesn’t appear to differ that much from its jailbroken counterpart.
“Obviously I was fairly shocked,” Hughes told The Register. “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 said that an iPhone developer relations rep named Steve Rea called him before his app was rejected to say that it was an admirable effort. Rea told Hughes that security concerns kept Apple from approving the app, but he also noted that the iPhone engineering team was impressed by it and asked for Hughes’ CV. That was the last Hughes heard from Apple.
We’ve sent an inquiry into Apple about the Wi-Fi Sync similarities and will update when we hear back.