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Handhelds Iphone Software Wireless Networking Apple

Apple Removes Wi-Fi Finders From App Store 461

Posted by timothy
from the you've-been-very-very-naughty dept.
jasonbrown writes "Apple on Thursday began removing another category of apps from its iPhone App Store. This time, it's not porn, it's Wi-Fi. Apple removed several Wi-Fi apps commonly referred to as stumblers, or apps that seek out available Wi-Fi networks near your location. According to a story on Cult of Mac, apps removed by Apple include WiFi-Where, WiFiFoFum, and yFy Network Finder."
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Apple Removes Wi-Fi Finders From App Store

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  • Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by GaryPatterson (852699) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:35PM (#31365822)

    I just ran a search for WiFi in the app store, and plenty of free finders appeared.

    Was there something about these specific apps, or is this just about those apps using reserved (ie subject to change) frameworks?

    In short - let's not panic just yet, hm?

  • by ryantmer (1748734) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:35PM (#31365828) Homepage
    First they remove the pron apps, then the wifi steal- er, "borrowing" apps... What use do these "iPhone" devices have anymore, anyway?
    • by Voyager529 (1363959) <`voyager529' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:37PM (#31365860)

      Sports Illustrated and Playboy, but only over 3G.

  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:35PM (#31365830) Journal

    It appears Apple's problem with the apps isn't with what they do but with how they do it; namely, using non-public frameworks. There probably isn't a way to do it using public frameworks, though (on Mac OS X, you need to use the private Apple80211.framework, not sure about iPhone OS X).

    • by mjwx (966435)

      It appears Apple's problem with the apps isn't with what they do but with how they do it; namely, using non-public frameworks. There probably isn't a way to do it using public frameworks,

      So, according to your logic, Apple pulled the applications not because of their function but because they did not implement it using public frameworks, however Apple have not sanctioned this function in the official framework? Presumably this was done because Apple does not agree with/want the function.

      Have you offici

      • Have you officially been inducted into the vague tautology club yet?

        Kind of.

  • I wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:36PM (#31365836)

    Is Apple actively trying to destroy any developer relationship that they had, and are they trying to show the community that they are not up to the challenge of hosting an app store?

    As a software developer that owns an iPhone 3GS owner, and a first generation iPod touch, I feel like I am reminded every day as to why I do not drop $100 and write an application for my own phone.

    • Re:I wonder (Score:4, Funny)

      by sbeckstead (555647) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:39PM (#31365878) Homepage Journal
      As a software developer that owns an iPhone 3GS owner
      Wow, how do I get one of those. I've always wanted a 3GS owner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by anagama (611277)
      Didn't you get the memo? Even though I'm sure Iphone 3GS owners are not a protected class, slavery is definitely NOT legal anymore.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amicusNYCL (1538833)

      Is Apple actively trying to destroy any developer relationship that they had, and are they trying to show the community that they are not up to the challenge of hosting an app store?

      No, they're just trying to show their users that they have total control. Just to remind you. In case you forgot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vijayiyer (728590)

      No, it's simple. If you have an idea, and it fits the terms of service, you're fine. OTOH, if your idea _requires_ the use of private APIs, then maybe you should buy some beer instead.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:36PM (#31365848)
    What does Apple gain by removing these things?
    • Attention on Slashdot apparently. I would imagine that by now most people expect this as part of the cost of owning an iphone.

    • The feeling of Control. ala 1984.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by alen (225700) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:49PM (#31365940)

      if it's for using private API's, avoiding the MS bad publicity. everyone worked around MS bugs and Microsoft couldn't make needed changes in their OS's due to developers complaining it was going to cause them to write code. in Vista they had to pull a new anti-virus API because of this.

      Apple is just forcing everyone to follow the rules in the developer agreement. last thing Apple wants is to release an iPhone OS update and to have thousands of apps fail due to private API use and then all the devs will complain how it's Apple's fault

      • The thing is, the iPhone OS is short-term, a desktop OS is long-term. Even if design principles of iPhone OS doesn't change much in 2013, hardware will have advanced monumentally to the point where it might be nearly impossible to even run applications.

        What really makes sense on high-capacity devices such as the iPhone is to allow small "emulated" apps to be run in earlier versions of iPhone OS with the older APIs when it detects a version that is untested with the current version.
        • by alen (225700)

          this is a cell phone. in the USA when your 2 year contract is up you junk it and buy a new one. you don't treasure it like a Mac like the crazy people on MacRumors do

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:00PM (#31366040)

      What does Apple gain by removing these things?

      The kind of total control over their platform which they expect to have. I'm reminded of the quote on Twitter the other day from the story about the top developers fired by Activision: "Getting mad at [Apple] for this is like getting mad at an ape for throwing feces. It's just how the beast communicates."

      This kind of control is Apple's MO, and anyone buying their products should either know that, or wouldn't be affected by it (some people do want their choices made for them).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        But OS X would not be successful if it was not open. If OS X would not allow various apps that wouldn't be allowed on the iPhone to be on OS X, it would have almost no marketshare.

        It is only a temporary glitch of the failures of all other mobile OSes at the time (Windows Mobile, Symbian, That crappy Java-Based OS, etc), large portions of the phone being paid for by phone carriers and the like that let the iPhone get even a small marketshare. If Google ever gets their act together, Android can easily cru
    • I have the same question.

      While I like some Apple products, I love my MacBook Pro I'm typing this on, I question some of Apple's and Steve Jobs' actions.

      Falcon

    • Slightly more size on their e-peen (or iPeen since it is Apple).
  • Thank you Apple! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:40PM (#31365884)
    I'm so glad you make all the hard decisions for me! Would you like to cast my next vote for me?? Oh yeah, when I actually succumb to mobile devices they will be open. This is like Microsoft telling you what software you can install on Windows! Is this the future? Twenty years from now Mac's will only be able to get applications from Apple's approved store? Yeah, I'm not gonna help with that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Until all mobile phones suck a lot less or go down in price a lot, I'm not getting one. $2500 for two years? No thanks. Even if the devices available were polished, beautiful, powerful, and bug-free. And they're not.

      Still it's only a matter of time. I said the same thing about cell phones, and then prices dropped and coverage improved, and now I have one.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by agrif (960591)

      This is like Microsoft telling you what software you can install on Windows!

      Just so we're clear here, it'd be like if Microsoft could decide what software it wanted to host on it's servers, and provide a shop framework for. Which, last time I checked, they have every right to do.

      There is a difference here, obviously. For most people (those who haven't jailbroken), Apple's store is the only place to get software. Apple has to approve this software. But since when is this any different than the software released for the xbox 360 or any other game console? At least Apple has a reasona

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:50PM (#31365948) Homepage Journal
    All I can say is get a real phone with options you like eg android, nokia 9x ect.
    Apple makes a great OS, some great hardware.
    Just stay away from the DRM junk and itoys.
    Or help port a real OS to it.
    As amazon showed with 1984, MS with win 7 mobile and now Apple shows, your just a consumer renting space on their their vision of the world.
    Time to disconnect Apple and buy or use/write a real mobile OS.
  • by pclminion (145572) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:55PM (#31365990)

    Apple has NEVER permitted the use of private frameworks in iPhone apps. My company had to rewrite an app we were trying to deploy because we were using some undocumented features for still frame capture from the camera device. We almost made it through the authorization process, then Apple shot us down at the last second because of it. We had to wait a few more minor releases before the functionality we needed was exposed through an approved interface. It had nothing to do with our application, but rather, the way it was implemented.

    In general, the use of undocumented APIs is frowned upon throughout the industry, as it makes for flaky application and reverse-vendor-lockin, when an extremely popular application relies on undocumented APIs, the APIs change, then people come bitching to the platform manufacturer for "breaking" their applications. There's nothing weird about this, whatsoever. Chill out, folks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GaryPatterson (852699)

      Sadly this critical part of the story is being submerged under the usual "Apple is the great Satan" Slashdot groupthink. It seems to be an easy road to be modded up if a poster makes a short criticism of Apple, even if they don't know any of the facts.

  • Great News !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ianare (1132971) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:00PM (#31366026)

    This is great news !! This is the only way developers and users will learn never to trust a closed platform. Hopefully this starts pissing people off enough to go towards Android, or preferably the only truly open smartphone OS : Maemo / Meego. So I say, please Apple, remove more useful apps !!

    • Re:Great News !! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pclminion (145572) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:42PM (#31366358)

      This is the only way developers and users will learn never to trust a closed platform.

      As a developer, I like the enforcement of the "no private frameworks" rule. I don't want to have to compete against other developers who can implement things I can't implement, because they are willing to stay up for three weeks reverse-engineering some undocumented interface. It's kind of like doping in the Olympics. If everybody was allowed to do it, soon it would be impossible to be competitive UNLESS you were doing it, and the result would be an incredible mess where every application was doing things using undocumented interfaces. And on top of that, Apple would have to be extremely careful whenever they want to alter their "private" APIs because it would risk breaking a huge number of applications -- and guess who the end user is going to complain to? (Hint -- not the application developer.)

      If you don't like the restrictions, fine. Jailbreak your phone. Or choose a different platform. I'd rather work with something stable where the playing field is somewhat level.

  • by sonamchauhan (587356) <sonamcNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:00PM (#31366036) Journal

    Just somewhat related: Can Apple's Wifi chipset be somehow set to work in adhoc mode?

    i.e. Can an IPhone/ITouch app (even a Jailbroken one?) let you communicate with the other 50 IPhone /ITouch users in the train you're on, without paying the cell companies?

  • by repetty (260322) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:09PM (#31366106) Homepage

    Hey, I know!

    Since nobody on Slashdot knows a single thing about this action by Apple -- at this moment -- why don't we just post a bunch of shit that has absolutely no merit?! Hey, we can even call ourselves "journalists"!

    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      True. Since a lot of journalists out there don't seem to bother with fact checking anymore. It's all about the sensationalism.

  • doesn't add up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:48PM (#31366392) Homepage

    If the issue is that the Apps used a private API, how did they get approved in the first place?

    I'm not sure why anyone would develop for the iPhone, apparently you not only face a capricious approval process, but they may revoke that approval on a whim.

    • Re:doesn't add up (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:20AM (#31367140) Homepage Journal

      I'm not sure why anyone would develop for the iPhone, apparently you not only face a capricious approval process, but they may revoke that approval on a whim.

      Just make sure your app complies with all current and future rules and does not compete against any apps Apple plans to introduce down the line, and you'll be fine.

      Want to invest in my iPhone dev business?

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:32AM (#31367982)

      If the issue is that the Apps used a private API, how did they get approved in the first place?

      Because over time Apple gets better about figuring out who is using private API's.

      In the early days it was the most egregious violations that visually screamed out "hey look, I am using a private API" - like Coverflow.

      So then that died down, and for a while people got away with undocumented framework and system calls.

      But recently Apple has started basically using a symbol analyses tool looking for calls to specific system stuff. I can imagine it was only recently they thought to look at super low level network stuff.

      Apple even has been pretty nice about it generally, most developers just get a warning saying "you are using a private API, fix that before your next update please". I guess whatever this framework was using was a little more undesirable than most calls.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:53AM (#31368378) Homepage

    Happens every time and even though the intelligent users of slashdot are more than aware of this, they can't seem to fight the compulsion to re-re-re-re-state their position/perception/opinion on the matter.

    Apple strong on consistent user experience. (by this I mean consistent with apple's ever-changing idea of what the user experience should be.)

    Android strong on openness and flexibility. (except for where the carriers object and attempt to control it... but even then, not so much.)

    When the iPhone came out with a battery that couldn't be replaced by the user, I wrote it off. To me, that was the primary show-stopper. It's a privacy and security concern. It's a battery life/conservation concern. It's even a safety concern.

    Android, on the other hand is interesting in that it is yet another high profile Linux based product that has elements of traditional Linux failure all over it. I don't mean this to sound as bad as it sounds, but I can think of no better way to put it. The game isn't over yet and perhaps the people steering Android will see the failures and find some solutions, but what traditional failures am I talking about? Simple: "Being strong on consistent user experience" among other things.

    Previous articles on slashdot came close to describing problems by talking about the wide variety of android phones and how software for one does not work for all. (it's not a problem for normal Linux hackers... we know all about tarballs, DEBs and RPMS, i386/i586/i686/x86_64/PPC and other divisions based on which version of glibc it was compiled for.) But there is more. The apps themselves are "more free" and therefore have less consistent delivery of look and feel. When this happens, a solid device starts to feel like a handful of marbles. At some level of consciousness, we all perceive problems when we are presented with things that don't match up well. Whether or not it's an actual problem is irrelevant to the feelings of the user (which, by the way is foremost on the minds at Apple) which is where the real success or failure of a project lies. "Better things" fail all the time at the hands of better marketing of lesser things. If people feel one thing is better than another or more reliable or will last longer or be supported longer or will have better backing, the truth doesn't matter so much as their feelings.

    As a Linux optimist, I see this as an opportunity for Linux to gain recognition and public favor. We all know that Linux is a kernel and that it's in a LOT of stuff everywhere that most people never see or think about. We also know that because it's just a kernel, the REAL problems are in how it's packaged with other things... with or without a GUI, which GUI, what package management, etc. But there's more. Look and feel has never really been stressed. KDE users will probably disagree with me on this because KDE does, in fact, push more in favor of a consistent look and feel. But they are an exception.

    But even if the Android project pulls itself together and actually does build a very successful consumer implementation of a Linux based OS, it can't quite be said "It's good because it's Linux." It would still be more accurate to say "It's good in spite of being Linux" because at the moment, a successful consumer Linux OS doesn't fix all the others that we know and love.

  • by Phoenix (2762) on Friday March 05, 2010 @08:07AM (#31369552)

    I use WiFiFoFum at my hospital to check the strength of the Wireless AP's scattered through the floors. At the moment I'm using it on a Intermec CN3 handheld scanner that we're using for Medicine scanning and verification. I wanted to get an iTouch or an iPhone so I could use it on that device since I may or may not be able to keep the CN3 that I'm currently using as my dedicated Test Platform.

    By denying us access to such tools, Apple is alienating the IT Professional community and may drive us to find other applications or even (in their eyes) worse, jail-breaking the damn things so we CAN run whatever the hell we want and not what THEY want us to run.

    Remember the days when we used to mock Microsoft and their advertisements by saying "Microsoft: You WILL go here today!"?

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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