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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

It's no secret that Apple's forthcoming iOS 5 incorporates a lot of new features and ideas that might say the company "borrowed" from third-party developers, but one feature in particular is raising some eyebrows: Wi-Fi Sync.

Way back in April 2010, we profiled an app called Wi-Fi Sync that allowed users to sync their iOS devices wirelessly to iTunes. The application was submitted to Apple for inclusion in the App Store, but it was rejected. The developer subsequently released the app into the Cydia store for jailbroken devices, where it has been selling well at a $9.99 price point.

As noted by TUAW, Apple's Wi-Fi sync feature enabled by the combination of iOS 5 and iTunes 10.5 bears a strong resemblance to the original third-party app, right down to the name and the design of the icon Apple is using to promote it.
OK, so maybe Apple was working on this capability in April of 2010 when Hughes first submitted Wi-Fi Sync to the App Store. But is it a coincidence that the Apple Wi-Fi Sync icon is almost identical to the one that Hughes had a designer create for him last year? Check out Hughes' icon below at left, and Apple's new icon at right. Interesting...

The Register follows up with Greg Hughes, the developer of the original Wi-Fi Sync app, who notes that he was "fairly shocked" to see the similar feature make an appearance on Monday.
"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."
Hughes notes that Apple took a special interest in his initial application, with a member of the developer relations team personally calling him to report the rejection and to say that the iPhone engineering team had looked at the application and had been impressed. Hughes says that Apple had also requested a copy of his curriculum vitae, suggesting that the company did have some interest in what he was up to.

In an email to a customer sent in June 2010 after the original Wi-Fi Sync application had been rejected, Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that the company was planning to introduce a Wi-Fi syncing feature "someday", although he provided no indication of what stage of development the feature was at or when the company hoped to release it.

Article Link: Apple Borrows iOS 5's Wi-Fi Sync From Rejected App Submission


macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2008
Orlando, FL
No.. they didn't borrow it from the rejected app.. They used two already universal/common logos already in Mac OS X and combined them to make sense of Wifi-Sync..


Feb 18, 2009
"Borrowed" implies what was taken from the owner will be given back to the owner.

Very poor choice of words in this context. I believe a better word is "stole".


macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2008
When Apple does it, people call it "borrowing". When everyone else does it, it is called "stealing".

Double standard much?


macrumors regular
Mar 7, 2007
Apple is known for rejecting apps that implement / re-implement existing features...or perhaps in this case, PLANNED features, not yet implemented (by Apple).

One could also point out that the use of the volume up button as a photo shutter button was previously made possible by more than one App which was pulled for "user interface violation" reasons and will now be coming as part of iOS 5.


macrumors 65816
May 21, 2009
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/8J2)

It's important to note that cydia's wi-fi sync requires another program installed on your computer and generally speaking performs like ****.


macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2007
While I don't think Apple have taken anything (the icon is just plain what an icon for wireless sync should be, what else could it be?) it is a bit of a double standard to call this 'borrowing'. Borrowing without permission is stealing. Even though I don't think this is the case.


macrumors newbie
Jun 25, 2008
Ok so yeah to be fair the icons resemble each other but, that is the exact same wifi icon that Apple already uses, and the same sync icon Apple already uses just overlaying one another. I don't think this was Apple trying to steal the guys icon, this was them reusing icons they already had in use, plain and simple.


macrumors 68040
Mar 3, 2008
A feature like wi-fi syncing has to be done by apple. Besides, considering that they asked for what amounts to a resume, he could've gotten hired if he chose.


macrumors 65816
Aug 3, 2010


macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
Yeah, there's not really any other intuitive way to combine the sync and wifi logos into one icon.


macrumors 65816
Sep 11, 2003
I bought that piece of crap app. It works, but there's nothing automated about it, it screws up your normal syncing, and runs a daemon that sometimes goes to 100% CPU until you force quit it. He released one version, never a single bugfix (for the OSX version), and charged $10. I bought it to support this independent developer who got rejected from the AppStore, and then he dropped the project entirely.


macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
The creator of the app (who did something cool and I hope saw some success) “borrowed” Apple’s WiFi and Sync icons to make a WiFi Sync icon (not that others haven’t used those symbols too).

It’s absurd to think that iOS would never cut the cord as it evolved; that was inevitable regardless of the existence of this app. It was always a matter of time.

And it’s absurd to think that Apple should not have used their already-existing WiFi and Sync icons in combination, just because someone else already combined them! Should Apple have made up two entirely new, unknown symbols for this purpose, not matching the rest of Apple’s products?

Whose eyebrows are being raised by this? :p


macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2010
Seems simple to me:
  1. That Apple combined the Wifi icon with an iSync icon to create the icon for WI-FI SYNC shouldn’t exactly be ”shocking”.
  2. Apple has obviously been planning the ability to sync data over Wifi for a LONG time and had every right to reject his app based on that.
  3. That’s it. Done. :D


macrumors newbie
Apr 22, 2010
I'm sure Apple never thought of WiFi Sync b4 some frickin never entered their minds....a big fat W (hatever)


macrumors member
Oct 12, 2009

if it was the other way around alot of you would say it was stolen from apple if apple gave u crap to eat you would say thank you and eat it alot of you need to stop acting mindless and think for youself guess thats asking too much


macrumors member
May 26, 2011
If you think about it, both icons make sense. It's just the Apple 'sync' icon with the Apple 'wifi' icon crammed in the middle. To come up with something different is just silly. Sure, Apple may already have designers working for them, creating icons like this, which is quite obvious from the respective separate icons that make up the new 'air sync' icon, but that's how product identification works.

With a feature such as wireless syncing being on every iPhone user's wish list since the first generation phone, it's hard to believe that the phone's creators needed a third party app to give them the idea to finally implement it.

To say it was 'borrowed' or 'stolen' or saying anything else that may imply Apple didn't come up with the idea themselves without evidence is just plain libel and slander.

A complete mis-nomer when there is no evidence of ideas being pilfered.


macrumors member
Mar 20, 2008
"When Apple does it, people call it "borrowing". When everyone else does it, it is called "stealing".

Double standard much?"
When Apple does it, people call it "copying". When everyone else does it, it is called "inventing".



macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2008
How else was Apple supposed to implement Wi-Fi Sync? And how else were they suppose to make the icon look?


macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2008
The method of syncing is pretty different too, as the rejected app talked to iTunes directly (requiring the computer to be on) but Apple's implementation talks to iCloud so the computer can be off and you could even be on a totally different network. Very different. Not to say Apple's method is better because it could very well be slower unless they first detect iTunes on your local network to sync directly before going out to the cloud. Either way it's more complex.


macrumors regular
May 23, 2011

You can't be serious about this.

1. Apple has been asked/trying to put this feature for the last 2 years?

2. The icon is more or less common sense isn't it?

But yeah, inb4 troll attack.


macrumors newbie
Jun 9, 2011
Borrowed? No.
The MobileMe and Apple Sync Logos are exactly like that sync symbol around it.
The WiFi symbol is exactly the same as the WiFi symbol on iOS devices. In fact, I'm willing to bet that they used the assets they already had to make this logo instead of making it from scratch.
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