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back to article iPhone apps selling like hot cakes

Apple has been selling $1m worth of iPhone apps every day, Steve Jobs told the Wall Street Journal. He also confirmed Apple's ability to reach out and disappear applications previously installed on punters' iPhones. Steve informed the Journal that more than 60 million apps have been downloaded through the Application Store. …

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Jobs Horns

Refunds?

This a theoretical question, not being a devotee of the Jesus Phone, but if Mr Jobs and co decide that the application installed on your machine is no longer appropriate and removes it (without permission), does the user get refunded at all?

If I'd paid for any software, I wouldn't expect it to be removed from my usage without some form of recompense! That would amount to obtaining money by deception, surely?

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Go

Yep

It's just a backup option apparently, but there's no reason to suggest you won't get a refund from a deleted app. They'd have to.

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Jobs Horns

@ Mike & refunds

Pffffft. Refunds if Apple pulls an app. Aye right indeed. Have you been drinking teh Kool Aid?

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Paris Hilton

You'll get

a store credit, valid for 1 month providing you show the original receipt !!!

Not even Paris is stupid enough to get a 3Jesus phone, let alone buy a virtual $999 red ruby.

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Anonymous Coward

@mike

I daresay they DO have permission. It'l be in the EULA somewhere, or some sub-EULA of a sub-agreement you click when you enter itunes or something.

Apple may be cunts, but they have well paid lawyers to keep them legal.

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aL
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doubt it..

they boys in cupertino are alot better at taking your money than giving it back..

again i would ask the questiong: "what if microsoft did it?"

what if microsoft could uninstall any app that ran on windows? suddely, before the launch of the next office, all the open office installaions are removed without explination.. they flamewar would be unfathomable.. yet, this Exactly what apple can do now..

bad smell i tells you.

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J
Jobs Horns

Not just refunds...

They should be sued. Is that possible? I don't know. In a decent society it should be. Nobody should have the power to remotely control my computer (these things are computers, of course), specially to destroy data, no matter the reason.

Also the app store debacle, that should be illegal, if it's not already. That smells like unfair commercial practices or whatever you'd call it.

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Black Helicopters

Refund? I wouldn't stop there!

I'd go as far as charging them for my time installing the magically-disappearing app and then charging them for my time spent scratching my head, wondering where my $1000 app went.

@Apple, you suck. This is all just a little too underhanded.

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Anonymous Coward

In the firmware ...

There is a url that provides a list of apps to blacklist ...Can't wait for that to get hacked :)

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Paris Hilton

Pump 'n' dump

Another problem with the App Store is the flood of US-relevant crap there which is of no earthly use to anyone eg someone tried to sell a 'Universal Sign Language' program which is purely American Sign Language and exhorted the viewer to 'go and learn about other cultures'. Developer, educate thyself.

It's a complete con. If you examine the 'What's Hot' list you'll see a number of apps with very bad reviews and the corresponding low number of stars.

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Woah....

Well, that's killed the iPhone stone dead for me. Maybe I will wait for that elusive slightly-open Android. Or maybe I'll just recase my P990i (and buy a spare P1i for later) and get back into programming for symbian again...

It's all very well protecting your platform and trying to avert a M$-style virus / malware free-for-all (esp on a mobile platform - if that S40 hack is for real, Nokia should be shitting themselves, and the researcher's got previous of finding J2ME holes) but uninstalling stuff for the user is just cnotrol freakery of the worst kind. I can't be carrying something which might revert / uninstall stuff without asking, it's condescending in the extreme!

There are just too many caveats with the thing now, and the functionality simply isn't there in so many places.

Oh well. I'll just have to look out for something else.

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Pirate

ahhh but the apple defense

They should be sued. Is that possible? I don't know. In a decent society it should be. Nobody should have the power to remotely control my computer (these things are computers, of course), specially to destroy data, no matter the reason.----

Apple will no doubt note that jesus phone users don't actually OWN the phone, therefore since APPLE still owns the phone, atleast based on my understanding - I never buy crapple products - then they have the right to maintain it in such manner as they see fit. A nice little scam Apple has going there, and one that pretty much ensures that they can charge for "upgraded" software when they decide original versions are no longer in compliance. Of course you'll get the upgrade at a discount since you had the original version - oh wait, you dont have it anymore? Too bad, full price for you as we don't have a record of your purchase......

nice scam, jolly roger as Jobs is once again proving Priacy is alive and well in the 21st

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Anonymous Coward

remote control?

I think people are getting a little too excited. The way this was described to work is as follows: the iphone firmware has a URL embedded which points to a list of apps which are declared malicious. When an app is launched, the iphone's OS checks that URL and if the app being launched is on the list then the OS will not grant that app any network access nor access to the built-in GPS.

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N95 it is then

I was all set - indeed waiting - for the new iPhone to become available where I am, mainly due to the perceived simplicity of having just one more Apple toy that would play nicely with my other Apple toys (he says, writing this on a MBP.)

But this stinks. My phone, I bought it, let me do with it what I will.

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@ Jamie Kephalas

More fool you for buying the $1000 app in the first place.

One thing the article fails to mention is that the top 10 developers have shared $9,000,000 since the app store opened.

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Paris Hilton

Missed the pun?

Surely "Appless Apples" is the headline?

Maybe all the bad press is just to damp supply down a little

Paris, as this is my first post and she is equally innocent

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@ pump n dump

i actually wonder if some of this is about the US only apps being pulled, i've only had freebies so far, but according to one my nearest cinema is in the US (possibly box office?), the yellow pages app doesn't recognise anywhere outside of the US either, all of this on the EU store.

I got a warcraft app that only pulled info from the the US servers, not the EU ones, however that was patched in a few days to work in the EU after all the reviews.

The first time i get a paid for application like this i'll not be happy.

It would be nice if there was some sort of review process that checked these apps before they were made available and decided not to list the unusuitable ones.

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@ Hedley Lamarr

I don't think it's an issue of whether or not the "commentards" are against Apple being able to get rid of malicious software (which appears to be little more then an excuse for Apple to let them do what they want in any case).

It's more to do with the fact that some applications are being pulled with little or no warning, rhyme nor reason. Developers are shocked to find out their apps are gone, and Apple do very little to warn or advise these developers of what's going on; which is the true crime here. If they give you a 30 days to reclaim the money spent as a store credit, that's pretty wrong too. It's the same as Nintendo making their "stars" expire after 2 years, and shop gift vouchers having an expiry date. It's all a bit dodgy.

I won't reply using any of your identi-reply suggestions, only to say that I'd rather my gadgetry not be controlled quite so tightly by someone who appears to be on a bit of a power trip.

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Flame

Oh get over it

Gotta love people who don't own an iPhone and clearly have no intention of ever buying one complaining about something thats never going to effect them. Sad, quiet sad.

This isn't the phone your looking for.. move along....

You do own the phone, what on earth made you think otherwise?? "Your understanding" is quite clearly very short of the truth.

And no it doesn't apply to "upgrades", all upgrades to apps are free. The only reason they remove an app is if its been removed from the store, if they then decide to put it back on again you'll be able to download it again for free as it notes which apps you've previously purchased. i.e. when I upgraded to the 3G it quite happily reinstalled all my apps on the new phone.

Nobody should be able to remotely control your computer? Really? Do you know the exact contents of every Windows update you've ever applied? Do you have any idea what Microsoft pulls down from your PC and what they install and uninstall on every update? No. So get over yourself.

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Paris Hilton

@Hedley Lamarr

You seem to be missing the point by an utterly huge margin.

Once you pay for something, it's yours. No if's, no buts and no fucking small print either. Let's try a few analogies and see if they strike you as acceptable:

1) You buy a DVD from Amazon. Due to a manufacturing mistake, it's region free instead of locked. When you go out, someone from Amazon comes round to your house and takes the disc out of your player. You ask for a refund, but nobody *ever* gets back to you.

2) You buy a car, and pay the dealer to fit a new stereo. It turns out to have an electrical fault which may cause a problem, so shouldn't really have been fitted. The next time you take your car in for a service, the dealer removes the stereo without asking and won't tell you why or give you a refund.

A model I would support would be along the "Product recall" scenario for cars. There's potentially a problem with something about your car. Dealer contacts you and it is rectified at dealer's (manufacturer's really) expense.

If you buy an app from the store, and Apple later decides that they don't like it (perhaps it does something useful like rewrite the shitty bluetooth stack), tough shit, they should have screened it before selling it. If it's actually *faulty* and could cause problems to your hardware, then fix the problem and offer the user a free upgrade at the publisher's expense.

As for "Funny how most iPhone users absolutely love their purchases", of course they do, they don't know (or care) about what's going on behind the scenes. However, this is a tech site you Tard, so people here are concerned.

Paris, because she likes getting shafted as much as you seem to.

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Jobs Horns

@ Hedley Lamarr

"So, if you had downloaded an app that had sneaked past Apple's QA process onto iTunes, and it started doing naughty things that perhaps you were unaware of - you wouldn't want Apple to kill it?"

-----

No, you see, I'd want the option of using antivirus software to identify the 'naughty' app and then deciding for myself whether it should be 'killed', as you put it.

Its strange that the Apple fanboys are so keen for everyone to believe that the iPhone is perfect in every way that they are even singing the praises of its bugs... err, I mean, features... Now where have we seen that before?

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Paris Hilton

Removal of apps

When apps are removed from the app store they aren't removed magically from your phone, morons.

No moreso that when WH Smith stops selling your Linux Penguin Porn mags do they come round to your house and ask for the ones under your bed back (sticky and moist though they probably are by now).

Paris, because she's *way* smarter than most of you, it would seem.

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Just reminds me

why i don't have and won't 'buy' one of these...

Actually, 'buy' is the wrong term. It implies ownership. Seems like the ownership firmly remains with Apple for these bits of kit...

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Boffin

Apple's always thought of their customers

the same way Big Brother does in 1984. Including revising history.

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jai
Silver badge

who's more the fool, the fanatic that buys the phone or the fanatic that comments on this forum

i'm sorry, but some of you anti-Jesusphone are more zealtous than us mac-fanatics are. all it requires is for one slightly vindictive piece of El Reg reporting and away you go, off on your high-horses. you're more mindless and like driven-sheep than the iPhone users you so despise, repeating what your El Reg overlords have told you.

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Paris Hilton

@Ben Jamieson

Ahem...

"Steve also confirmed that every iPhone calls home every now and then, and that the company can uninstall applications that it decides are no longer appropriate."

So, who was the moron again...?

Just how far through the article did you read before putting your FanBoi suit on?

Paris, because that's you, that is...

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@Dan White

So, you expect APPLE to write-write and fix the author's apps if they are malware or malicious? They aren't killing off apps for any other reason apparently - there are a host of Apps Store apps that have a history of crashing, not being thought worth what people have paid, missing features, etc. And yet Apple hasn't disabled any of these...because people bought them, and the DEVELOPERS should have a chance to fix them (and given the commentary available on App Store, they had better if they want to sell more).

No, I am glad to see that Apple is taking steps to ban malicious or malware apps as they are discovered - given that MY email and phone number may be on YOUR phone, I don't even want you to have a choice about running a malicious app that may phone home with the contents of your address book. All this talk about the iPhone being unsecure, and the one really positive step they have taken suddenly gets compared to 1984...because, of course, some people just need something to complain about...

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Jobs Horns

a Control-Center Dream...

Apple has become their own 1984 reality with this "phone".

Hey, at least they don't force us to buy it... Yet...

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Anonymous Coward

An old geezer writes

When I started using the Internet (via JANET, as it happens) around 15 years years ago everyone seemed so much more polite, and dare I say it, helpful even.

What happened?

Anyway, regarding the App store, $30m in 30 days isn't bad, good on you Apple.

(and no, I don't a mobile telephone, i- or otherwise)

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Stop

Cripes...

There I was, fiddling with an iPod touch and App store, thinking that I should buy an iPhone as I'd actually spend money on some apps for it, as they seemed to extend the functionality of the phone.

After reading the story and the comments here: I think I'll go off aaaaaaand ...... do it anyway.

This whole "OMG- Apple took an app off my phone!!!! It's my phone and I'll do with it what I will!" stance is bollocks, and fatuous posturing bollocks at that.

Prior to the app store, I'd never considered buying an app for a mobile- they all seemed a bit shonkey, a bit naff and rather pointless.

My ipod touch changed that- lots of nice products, many free, and- get this- it's actually nice to know that there's a kill switch so I know I wont have to rebuild my phone if some malware gets thru' the net.

Why is this nice to know? Why do I care so little about my phone/GPS/MP3 Player's digital virginity? Weeeeeeeeeeeell, here's why: this isn't a life support machine. It's a phone.

If a dodgy app gets taken off it, so what? You haven't been raped by Steve Jobs.

This isn't the fucking holocaust- It's just some understandable consumer-level protection.

Any IT pro knows that users need to be protected: stop being so arrogant that you assume you don't need that protection, and railing against the manufacturer of a device that (and remember this) you don't need to buy.

It seems to be doing quite well without your cash.

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Pirate

Poison that cache...

1 Locate a shoddy iPhoneSP that has not updated their DNS servers.

2 Do that funky cache poisoning thing that's been in the news.

3 Push everyone's jesus phone to a list that uninstalls a bunch of critical apps.

..

5 Profit?

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@Dan White

"You seem to be missing the point by an utterly huge margin.

Once you pay for something, it's yours."

Well yes, the iPhone is yours. You can do what you want with the HARDWARE - bury it in the ground, use it as an iPod, smash it into pieces, give it away, encase it acrylic and use it as a paperweight. Whatever takes your fancy.

But when you buy software or subscribe to a service the process is completely different. You are buying a LICENSE to copy the software onto your machine's hard disk/flash memory, and then subsequently to copy it into RAM to execute it. And that license may have all sorts of conditions attached (eg. you can only use it for non-commercial purposes, you can only use it on files less than X big, you can only use it for 30 days, we can revoke the license at any point, you can only use it while you maintain a subscription for service Y, etc.).

It's very, very simple. If you don't like the terms of the license, don't buy the license and agree to its terms. Plenty of people do, and are very happy with the results. Plenty of others don't, and that's fine too, but no need to scream and shout about it so.

And yes, if Apple do revoke the license to use a particular piece of software for any reason, OF COURSE they will compensate you by refunding your purchase price. Apple may be money-grabbing bastards (you do realise it's a commercial company whose goal is to make a profit, right?) but they're certainly not stupid.

A better analogy to a car dealer removing your car stereo without asking might be something like Sky Plus, where I'm pretty sure they can revoke your right to watch something you've recorded over the air if they choose to.

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Paris Hilton

@Robert Hill

"So, you expect APPLE to write-write and fix the author's apps if they are malware or malicious?"

No, where did I say that? Try re-reading this bit again:

"If it's actually *faulty* and could cause problems to your hardware, then fix the problem and offer the user a free upgrade at the publisher's expense."

So if APPLE wrote the app, then, yes, I would expect them to fix it, and free of charge too. Otherwise I would expect a free fix from the developer, or a refund at the very least.

Sorry you don't seem to be famliar with the Sale of Goods Act, but if a product is not fit for purpose or is faulty, you have the legal RIGHT to a refund or replacement. What part of that do you object to?

Paris, again...

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Silver badge

I find this amusing

If Apple were above board and made it clear about this feature in the marketing literature then I wonder how the hell it sold in the first place. If they didn't, anyone who is smarter than the average sheep will not buy an iPhone now that this information has come to light. Were iPhone purchasers aware that Apple has full control of an unlocked iPhone before they bought into the hype? I am curious if people were that stupid.

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Boffin

So..

You're willing to defend this practise becuase it adds safety. Would it not make more sense just to.. improve the QA procedure instead?

No refunds, no faff, just release to beta testers first, then to general public. If need be tell the user that the application they have installed may do this or that which is "bad", let the user decide.

Temporarily locking an app remotely that warns a user of the issue and then allows them to unlock it at their own risk maybe? Does it not make sense?

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Linux

Hmmm

Hmmm , an open source smart phone looks better every day for the best choice as you get full source code and none of the back unlabeled doors or open windows that come free with your "Ifoney" one "!

As for Crapple's lack of integrity they make all pirates look like honest merchants these days , that be for sure !

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Jobs Horns

Control freak??

This article details the primary reason why I'm not clamoring for an iPhone. Apple's removal of applications from the iTunes store is inappropriate but having your iPhone "phone home" so that Apple can decide what you can and can't run on YOUR i Phone that you paid YOUR MONEY for is too over the top for me. I install whatever I want on my Blackjack and it isn't "phoning home" to Microsoft for them to remove applications I bought and installed on it. This kind of control freak nonsense coupled with the iPhone being exclusive to AT&T till 2010 is going to ultimately kill the hype. Have for with your iPhone boys and girls. Don't freak out when whatever apps you bought suddenly vanish without any explanation.

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Anonymous Coward

When do we get primary source quotes?

The tech media is more and more deteriorating to the level of The Sun. Rumours and hearsay are quoted and presented as if they were primary sources.

For example, this article sheepishly repeated the exact same phrase which so many other tech media outlets have used ...

"Steve also confirmed that every iPhone calls home every now and then, and that the company can uninstall applications that it decides are no longer appropriate."

Who said this? Can we know the source please? And has anybody actually got a quote of what Jobs actually said, that is to say not any interpretation of what he said, but the exact words he used. I have been unable to find any article that provided that. So far all I can see is that somebody has provided an interpretation and everybody else is repeating that.

It's possible the Jobs used the words "calling home", but it is also possible that he didn't, he might simply have said that Apple has a means of disabling malicious applications, without implying any of what the tech media has made of it. One article I found quoted some Apple engineer who described the process on a functional level in more detail and according to that account, the phone is not being remote controlled and doesn't "call home", instead it was described to check a URL for a malicious applications list and deny those applications listed there access of the network. If that account is correct, then any interpretation of "remote control" or "calling home" would be inaccurate.

Yet, it seems we'll never be told because there is no media outlet left which is willing to actually check sources, tell their readers what those sources are, get second sources to confirm and most importantly get primary sources when a CEO is being quoted. Anything less is nothing but rumour mongering.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am not an Apple fanboy, I am simply interested in proper information instead of hearsay.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Martin Lyne

"Does it not make sense?"

What you suggest may make sense to techie types, but it does not make sense to non-techie types. Besides, there are already phones that cater for the techie market, Apple are not targeting that market. If you are a techie, buy a phone that is made for techies, not one that isn't.

Also, if you are a techie and you know that the non-techie phone is not for you, then don't complain that non-techies are being offered a non-techie phone. There is absolutely no reason why every product on the market must be made to appeal to techies. There is nothing wrong with also having products on the market that do not appeal to techies.

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Anonymous Coward

Blacklist is just for core location services

As has been pointed out in several places now, the blacklist only prevents the applications from accessing the core location services. Does anyone have any evidence (other than rumour) that Apple can remotely un-install an entire application?

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Jobs Horns

To sum up...

http://www.willitblend.com/videos.aspx?video=iphone

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Jobs Horns

...or even

http://www.willitblend.com/videos.aspx?type=unsafe&video=iphone3g

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Paris Hilton

Whoops - re: Blacklist is just for core location services

Looks like the kill-switch and the blacklist for core location services are different things - my bad.

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If this was MS, the outcry would be deafening

If Microsoft were doing this (i.e., building in a capability to remove software if they see fit, there would be an outcry. And the European Union would fine them half a billion dollars.

Can't stand the one-sided criticism of MS, while blind eye is turned to other companies equally dodgy practices.

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Jobs Horns

Here is why this is dangerous...

The problem here is a matter of control and personal freedom. As more and more of our activities are computerized, many people a starting to depend on their software for their daily lives. When companies such as Apple and Microsoft gives themselves the rights to control and disable the application you have bought (or licensed), they are actually controlling what you can or cannot do with your own property, and that is unaceptable.

If you consider that all software is actually rented instead of bought, then it's actually worse, that would mean we are back to medieval times where the lord of the castle (the software owner) actually owns all the cultivable land, and to make a living the poor serf (the users) have to serve the lord on his terms and pay him taxes to keep him happy lest they are booted out of the farm (the app the need is removed).

The security argument is not really valid in my eyes. Sure we would all be a lot more secure if we had cameras connected to the police in each of our houses room so the police can come as soon as something they may not like happens, but that doesn't mean we should do it as it would make our lives unliveables.

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Stop

Calm down everybody

Steve Jobs *has* confirmed (for example in an interview with the Wall Street Journal) that the remote kill switch capability exists, in case a malicious app slips through and starts to steal your address book entries for example, but also that they hoped never to have to use it.

What people seem to be getting all worked up about is the suggestion that they are already applying this feature to arbitrarily remove apps that you have already bought. Apple have *not* done that. Instead, what they have done is arbitrarily removed apps from being listed on the app store. So the analogy isn't Amazon coming round and removing a DVD that you bought from your house but deciding no longer to stock something. Wow. Big whooping deal.

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Anonymous Coward

old news

I was under the impression that this was old news? iirc a jailbreak programmer discovered the hidden xml url (ie apple.com/iphone/unauthorisedApps.xml) within the firmware. The xml file contains no listed applications as of yet, apart from a test entry, but is intended to be used as above... remote application removal capabilities... iphones 'call home' every so often and sync with the xml feed... did steve not confirm this as well??

More to the point, this would be a huge security vunerability if the xml feed was to be comprimised, *especially* if they've built in the reverse, remote application installation.

All it would take is someone to make an app which modifies the /private/etc/hosts file and redirects apple domains to private ip's which contain replicated xml sync lists and the user would have full control, application installation/removal... replace the apple servers xml feed with your own for a few hours and bam... full control of a few thousand iphone users... wishful thinking maybe!? :)

/ always wondered the same with ubuntu and its online repositories

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Jobs Horns

Proof. We don't need no stinkin' proof.

Who needs quotes or proof when it comes to Reg comments? It's much easier to pick up on the minutiae and work yourself into a frenzy of hate.

Imagine if the story was that a malicious app got into the wild with no way of slowing or stopping it's progress:

"Ha Ha Ha - Crapple got pwned!!"

"iTards deserve all they get"

"Now who's your god, you Jobs bummers?!"

etc. etc.

It's like HYS but different.

Devil Jobs - corporations are evil, kids. Get over it.

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