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Can Apple kill your iPhone apps?

iPhone rumour mongering is always an interesting sport and, like the Olympics, mostly it’s a waste of time with the occasional bit of gold thrown in for good measure. Here’s the latest piece of Apple scuttlebutt, courtesy of iPhone developer Jonathan Zdziarski. Zdziarski has found an interesting line of code inside the iPhone 2.0 software, initially theorised by some as some form of “kill switch” – a mechanism by which Apple could find which applications are running on your mobile and nix the ones it didn’t like.

It wouldn’t exactly be outside of the realms of possibility – think back to the whole furore that surrounded Apple’s decision to ‘brick’ hacked iPhones – but just how much control does this code give Apple over your iPhone?

According to Zdziarski: “Either there is some mechanism that can be activated to kill the app entirely, or this isn’t really designed to kill “malicious” applications, as advertised, but rather applications that interfere with Apple’s business model. Either way, the idea that Apple can choose what functionality my applications should have frightens me.” I”m with Zdziarski – time to lose the paranoia, Apple.

5 replies on “Can Apple kill your iPhone apps?”

Nevertheless iPhone developers are beginning to say “hey, wait a minute” as they ponder developing software under the influence of Apple's apparent fickle whims. Many are now asking questions about this “kill switch” wondering could their hard work vanish from iPhones at the flip of a switch?

The NetShare app's direct violation of AT&T's Terms of Service agreement justifies its removal. BoxOffice, which harmlessly provided information on movie theaters, died for no divulged reason. (BoxOffice still exists and functions on my iPhone; is it only a matter of time before it disappears?) Yesterday the “I Am Rich” application was removed.

These disappearances come amidst thorny relations between Apple and app developers surrounding Apple's non disclosure aggreement. Developers are legally barred from exchanging or discussing programming tips with one another. Consequently, the applications suffer, they argue.

Nevertheless iPhone developers are beginning to say “hey, wait a minute” as they ponder developing software under the influence of Apple's apparent fickle whims. Many are now asking questions about this “kill switch” wondering could their hard work vanish from iPhones at the flip of a switch?

The NetShare app's direct violation of AT&T's Terms of Service agreement justifies its removal. BoxOffice, which harmlessly provided information on movie theaters, died for no divulged reason. (BoxOffice still exists and functions on my iPhone; is it only a matter of time before it disappears?) Yesterday the “I Am Rich” application was removed.

These disappearances come amidst thorny relations between Apple and app developers surrounding Apple's non disclosure aggreement. Developers are legally barred from exchanging or discussing programming tips with one another. Consequently, the applications suffer, they argue.

Nevertheless iPhone developers are beginning to say “hey, wait a minute” as they ponder developing software under the influence of Apple's apparent fickle whims. Many are now asking questions about this “kill switch” wondering could their hard work vanish from iPhones at the flip of a switch?

The NetShare app's direct violation of AT&T's Terms of Service agreement justifies its removal. BoxOffice, which harmlessly provided information on movie theaters, died for no divulged reason. (BoxOffice still exists and functions on my iPhone; is it only a matter of time before it disappears?) Yesterday the “I Am Rich” application was removed.

These disappearances come amidst thorny relations between Apple and app developers surrounding Apple's non disclosure aggreement. Developers are legally barred from exchanging or discussing programming tips with one another. Consequently, the applications suffer, they argue.

Even if they could, its not the kind of thing that people should worry about. Its not like there is some dude deactivating iphones at random. they would need a solid reason to do it.

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