When Apple announced its iOS software update at its WWDC keynote on Monday, one much-vaunted feature caught the eye of a university student in Birmingham, England. Greg Hughes apparently looked on in surprise as Apple announced iOS 5’s PC-Free credentials including Wi-Fi iTunes syncing. Surprise came from the fact that Hughes had submitted an app to Apple’s App Store that did the exact same thing, an app that was rejected by the Cupertino outfit.

Named ‘Wi-Fi Sync‘, the app was originally rejected by Apple way back in May 2010 according to The Register, with Hughes even receiving a personal call from an Apple representative to commend him on his efforts.

Little did he know that Apple would later use the same name and even logo in iOS 5…

“Obviously I was fairly shocked,” said Hughes, referring to his reaction on Monday when he saw the new feature promoted on Apple’s website. “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.”

Greg Hughes released his Wi-Fi Sync application on the jailbreak store, Cydia, priced at $9.99 and has sold around 50,000 copies to date. Even with some promotional pricing at times, that’s a considerable chunk of change – and we can only imagine how many more sales he would have received if the app had been available to everyone in the App Store.

This isn’t the only case of Apple borrowing functionality from other developers for use inside iOS 5. Instapaper, Google’s Android, and even other jailbreak developers have found features in iOS 5 that are similar to other’s work.

While improving software will inevitably end with some features appearing that are similar to others, we can’t help but wish Hughes had at least been offered a job at Apple, just as they did with jailbreak developer Peter Hajas.

What do you think?

  • JB

    I certainly hope that Apple paid Hughes a decent royalty for his intellectual properties.

    • Vic

      You have it wrong, it’s developers that must pay Apple. >:|

    • Jon Garrett

      No surprise here, this isn’t the first time a new iOS has incorporated features formerly found only on Cydia.

      iOS 5 also includes copies of features found in Android, RIM and WP7 and of course, Cydia.

      innovation my ass.

  • Burge

    What’s to say..apple have turned down a app only to make there own..but what’s bad is the same name and icon..I do hope Greg Hughes can sue them for royalties…this is copying someone elses work down to the pixals …bad bad apple …

  • Érico

    and what about that app called camera+?? that’s the same case here.

  • Syncing wirelessly isn’t an original concept.

    And he ripped of the logo by combining two of Apple’s icons (Wifi + iSync) which are basically industry standard anyways.

    His application required an extra application installed on your computer and worked terribly anyways.

    • :)

      jordan,you you a dickhead

    • Daniel Hernandez

      I agree with you Jordan >.< I don't see why people keep saying Apple took the icon. The Wi-Fi meter is from iOS and the Sync symbol is what Apple uses for all their syncing needs. Plus there's no other easier way to display "Wi-Fi Sync" unless it was just text.

  • Morgan

    I’m reasonably sure Apple was working on Wi-Fi Sync when Hughes submitted his app –and of course, the reason for rejection is not in this article –so can somewhat understand the refusal. I question if the iOS version of Wi-Fi Sync work exactly the same way as the app version, or does it use something that was not available to an app developer? I’m also not sure what an app developer needs to do to protect his intellectual property from Apple or anyone else who wants to use it without approval/payment. I do hope Apple compensates Hughes for his efforts, monetarily if not a job.

  • Morgan

    So it doesn’t work the same. Just a good idea that Apple implemented than?

  • Dios

    I think all you guys have it twisted… Apple rejected his app because they was working on there on wifi sync…

  • If hughes copyrighted the idea and all that stuff he should sue apple those f ups stealing others ideas from good people

    • William

      he can’t, because he did not pioneer the idea of wireless sync

      • Well he is screwed poor bloke 🙁

  • AMB

    Ultimately it was done on Apple’s hardware and was sold on Apple’s hardware without any profit getting to them. He made a lot of money off of it and really, at this point I believe Apple owes him nothing. The reason being that this is ”simple” tweak of their hardware and software, something they can just as easily do themselves. Plus, they are NOT selling it and so, are not making any profit from people who simply update.

    End of story, he should move on and not expect anything from Apple, at all. Because they truly don’t owe a single thing. And that’s coming from a future software developer. That’s just how it goes.

  • James

    Maybe he needs to update his to 3G Sync so you can sync from anywhere. Then he will be good till they include that in iOS 6.

  • Garry

    He got 50,000 downloads at 10$ a pop. I was one that downloaded it. It was buggy as hell. Needed an application to be installed on ur pc/mac. Apples icons. He did ok from it.

  • The reason apps like Wi-Fi Sync and Camera+ get rejected is because Apple was planning on releasing their own version bundled in the iOS firmware. That’s the way things work, Apple has every right to reject an app and every right to incorporate any functions they want into iOS. Developers know this, it’s part of the game, I can’t believe he “was fairly shocked” I would have expected Apple to bundle wireless syncing much earlier, he should have been expecting it to happen eventually. He almost made half a mill off a tweak that was overpriced and buggy as hell.(I purchased it and ended up uninstalling it a week later when I had to restore my phone and spent 4 hours trying to figure out why it wouldn’t only to eventually discover that it was his software causing the error). Apple doesn’t owe him squat.

    As far as the logo, he stole those icons FROM Apple. If anything he should be paying THEM royalties.

    My 2 cents.

  • steve

    I think it worked well for the dev considering he at least had lead time to sell quite a few copies of his Cydia app. Wifi Sync is nothing novel at all and was likely being developed at Apple at the same time, which is why he shouldn’t be legally entitled to anything from Apple.

  • Ben

    Good article. The reasons to jailbreak are getting fewer.

    Apple, if you are listening:

    1. Allow me to print anything through my base mac.
    2. Enable AirPlay in everything. I mean all safari pages and all apps.
    3. Enable FaceTime over 3G.

    Then I won’t need to jailbreak anything (phone, iPad, appletv).

  • Austin

    The idea of syncing something over Wi-Fi is just so original. Apple STOLE that idea from that guy who made the shitty tweak. And the LOGO. OH SHIT his was awesome. Apple are such thieves, rippin’ people off and such.

  • Luis

    im happy they stole the app… because it doesnt work anymore with new itunes anyway

  • Danielcg

    Ugh. I’m tired of this crap. Apple copy’s people’s work because they wait and see if it works good. It’s ok. Everyone does it. It’s why Apple is successful. Royalties are bullshit.

  • Menzo

    Glad Apple is implementing this. Bought the JB tweak a while back and could never get it to work. At least Apple will make it work.

  • Juan

    this developer was one of those flakey ones. Cydia is full of them. How long did people have to wait between 1.1 and 2.0?

    Apple didn’t steal the idea from this guy. wifi syncing

  • Juan

    isn’t an original idea conjured up by this developer. he needs to move on…

    sorry for the break in post.

  • Craig

    I’m sure Apple was working on wireless sync long before this developer submitted his app to the store. Same way like how Apple must now also know what iOS6 is gonna have.

    Wireless sync is something everybody wants and he has made a decent profit already with his app. His he saying that apple should not implement features that customers want, instead allow a third party to create one that does not work seamlessly and charge a bunch for the privilege? Come on, everybody is complaining Apple is copying from Android etc or ripping developers off blah blah, yet they are the same one cursing apple for not having these features. But now they give you these features you complain. How many ways can these feature be implement without looking similar to other implimentations? At least Apple implement features in such a way that is seamless and easy for the customer to use.

    That’s my two cents.

  • Eric

    It was rejected because it used illegal API’s. That simple. If he’d have followed the rules it would have been in.

  • Gercel

    Sue Them Greg!

  • Michele Masiero

    Greg Hughes got what he deserves: he ripped me the money he asks for his crappy WiFi-Sync application which does not even work and few days later my assistance requests, he even closed the support platform and closed the support for the application. But he did not close his pocket to avoid my money coming in… Well, he closed his own ears too…
    Bad, bad, bad behaviour.
    He’s not getting richer with my money, and I’m not going bankrupt, that’s true, but it’s a matter of honor and respect.
    I really hope that Apple will sue him for having even thought developing an application…
    Blame on him…