Apple Removing Wi-Fi Scanning Apps from App Store
Cult of Mac reports that Apple has begun removing apps from the iTunes App Store that scan for Wi-Fi access points. It looks like these apps are being removed due to their use of private APIs, which is prohibited by the iPhone SDK agreement. This would make it similar to the recent removal of apps that misused the iPhone camera DCIM folder to store and exchange documents.
There's been some suggestion, however, that list reflects a policy change from Apple closer to the recent removal of sex-based apps.
Our speculation is that Apple has either added the Wi-Fi private APIs to their static analysis tool, or has just finally gotten around to checking for them. That would make it appear like a new policy when it's actually the originally agreement finally being enforced.
Some developers believe long term lack of action by Apple equals tacit approval for private API use. Those beliefs likely have to start changing. When Apple makes an API public, they're guaranteeing that developers can use them and have faith Apple won't break them (and the apps built on them) in a future update. Private APIs are the opposite -- Apple can and will change them at any point, breaking apps that try to use them when they shouldn't. In some cases Apple is working on public versions of private APIs and will release them in future versions of the iPhone OS. In other cases they aren't -- sometimes for security, other times just for proprietary reasons.
In either case, this isn't the first and likely won't be last set of rejections.
If you're a developer who's dealing with this and have a better take on the situation, please let us know!
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