It's no secret that Apple has been militant in suing competitors that employ technologies even remotely close to Apple's own. But when it comes to stealing ideas for apps from developers, Apple's intentions are a bit more dubious.
The Register reports that Apple is being accused of stealing the idea of one UK-based college student and developer — Greg Hughes. In May 2010, Hughes submitted an app for consideration called Wi-Fi Sync, which allowed users to sync their iTunes libraries wirelessly.
Rather than receive the standard rejection email, Hughes reportedly got a call from an iPhone developer relations representative letting him know that his app was "admirable," but that some unspecified security concerns prevented it from being accepted. "They did say that the iPhone engineering team had looked at it and were impressed," Hughes told The Register. "They asked for my CV as well."
But rather than back down, Hughes simply submitted the app to the Cydia store, where it's sold more than 50,000 copies in a little more than a year. At $9.99 a pop, it's fair to say that Hughes made out quite nicely from his decision, though he declined to say how much he profited.
That didn't pad the surprise that Hughes received earlier in the week, when Apple unveiled a number of key features for its upcoming iOS 5. One key feature, aptly named Wi-Fi Sync, does exactly what Hughes' rejected version did. Furthermore, Apple's icon for the app bears a striking resemblance to Hughes original design (see photo).