Apple purges Wi-Fi discovery apps from App Store (updated)

Apple purges Wi-Fi discovery apps from App Store (updated)

Summary: Two weeks (almost to the day) after Apple banned boobs, babes and bikinis from the App Store, it has begun removing Wi-Fi scanner apps, also known as "stumblers."

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Two weeks (almost to the day) after Apple banned boobs, babes and bikinis from the App Store, it has begun removing another entire class of applications, only this time it's not quite as titillating.

According to Macworld Apple has quietly begun purging the app store of Wi-Fi scanner apps, also known as "stumblers."

The victims of the moment are apps with Wi-Fi stumbling features, such as Wifi-Where, yFy, and Sekai Camera. These are applications that can not only show the location of every nearby Wi-Fi hotspot based on information from an online directory, but also can dynamically add more listings based on what Wi-Fi access points the iPhone detects in the immediate vicinity.

Their removal won't be as hotly debated as a the boob-ban though because Apple is on a little stronger footing this time, noting that the apps use undocumented, private APIs.

Macworld notes that Apple's stumbler ban doesn't affect apps that only search from a directory like Wi-Fi Finder and Spots.

Update: Infomind, developer of yFy Network Finder (pictured) said on its Web site "A cydia version will be released VERY soon." 3 Jacks Software, developer of Wifi-Where, called its removal "very unfortunate" and pleaded with Apple to expose the API to developers in a future version of the SDK. Tonchidot's Sekai Camera, one of the most promising augmented reality apps, hasn't responded to the removal.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Apps, Networking, Wi-Fi

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10 comments
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  • So is this...

    a non-issue or an attempt to control Wi-Fi access?
    Economister
    • More likely, they will be removing the undoc APIs

      If an app uses APIs that are undocumented, the developers can't complain when the API is changed and the app no longer works.

      Base on the reaction of the developers quoted in this article, it sounds like Apple contacted them ahead of time and not just yank the apps without notice.

      Apple is probably about the change one or more of the undocumented APIs. Removing from the app store any that would break before they make the update is not an abusive move. After all, the developer knew the APIs they used weren't part of the SDK.
      wackoae
  • The Appletocracy will have total control. Invest dev time at your own risk.

    nt
    T1Oracle
    • What part of undocumented APIs didn't you understand?

      nt
      wackoae
  • RE: Apple purges Wi-Fi discovery apps from App Store

    This is Apple's attempt to lock users into expensive 3G data plans.
    No Hypocrites
    • Since users are already paying for unlimited usage ....

      ... your logic is kind of idiotic.

      1- Sell a product with an unlimited data package
      2- Remove apps using undocumented APIs from the store.
      3- ???????
      4- Make more profit.

      Sure, that is the most logic reason. It has nothing to do with removing apps that will break on the next update.
      wackoae
      • unlimited up to 5GB....

        Need to read the fine print !
        mrlinux1
  • RE: Apple purges Wi-Fi discovery apps from App Store

    u
    justro
  • there are other phones

    Apple is behaving like my parents. It is not Apple but me
    who decides what is legal and what is not legal, what is good
    and what is bad for myself. Apple is used to customers
    buying computers, by using a certain OS for a long long time
    it becomes difficult to switch. Not such a problem with a
    mobile phone. A mobile phone can easily be switched. Mobile
    Me can be exchanged for another service, the one and only
    killer application is synchronization. Syncs can now be
    performed with lots of different applications.
    rhon1
  • There's an API for that!

    ... you just can't use it.
    a raccoon