MailSource: Joseph Keller/iMore

What you need to know

  • Developer Blix has called on other iOS developers to fight back against Apple and "sherlocking".
  • Blix claims that Apple's 'Sign in with Apple' feature was taken from their own idea "without permission, payment or credit".
  • Blix says it is considering all options, including a class-action lawsuit.

Blix has called on iOS developers to fight back against Apple over sherlocking, the practice of copying and incorporating ideas from smaller developers into its own software.

According to a report from Financial Times, Blix says it plans to bring a resolution to the issue, claiming that there are thousands of developers suffering from the practice.

Blix's own grievance with Apple relates to Apple's 'Sign in with Apple' feature, which it sued the company over in October for patent infringement. Not only does it claim that Apple stole a feature from BlueMail which allowed users to sign up to services with an anonymous email, but it also claims that Apple buried its app in App Store search results, and booted its desktop app from the store altogether.

According to the report:

But the start-up said that the slow legal process worked in Apple's favour. It said other developers that share its concerns, but are fearful of retribution, should speak up.

"We are considering all options, including a class-action lawsuit," said Ben Volach, who co-founded Blix with his brother Dan. "We are going to make sure this is resolved. We are sure there are thousands [of developers] that are suffering from this."

Other developers have waded into the debate too. The chief executive of Astro, Matt Ronge said:

"The pattern is that they see what's popular, they implement it into their device, they bundle it, and they use private APIs [a programming protocol] that others don't have access to — so their version has a leg-up on the competition,

Apple created its own version of Astro's tool, which turned your iPad into a second display for Mac, into Sidecar.

As noted in the report, Blix claims it is considering all options, including a class-action lawsuit against Apple, a scenario Apple will no doubt be keen to avoid.