So yeah, Apple recently loosened up their developer guidelines in a big way. Not only does Apple now allow developers to code for the iPhone using cross platform development tools, but a number of previously rejected iPhone apps are now finding their way back into the iTunes App Store. But that’s all old news. What happened earlier this week, however, was a bit surprising.
Earlier this week, Apple approved an iPhone app called IS Drive, which lets users check and manage downloads from ImageShack.us, while also offering users the option to use the company’s BitTorrent service to download files to their ImageShack account.
MacWorld.UK reported earlier this week:
The application was previously known as Jack Torrents, and was available on the unofficial Cydia platform for those with jailbroken Apple devices.
“I’m on dangerous ground here, and I know that,” Derek Kepner, the developer behind IS Drive told TorrentFreak.
Kepner theorized that the app was able to sneak in past Apple’s censors because he avoided using the word “torrent.” Well played, Sir Kepner. Well played.
The app was temporarily available for $5 before Apple caught on and subsequently removed it.
“Just got a call from Apple,” Kepner tweeted early on Tuesday. “I’m seeing what I can do. I have a feeling I won’t be able to change their mind.”
While Kepner is apparently trying to change Apple’s mind by pointing out that they don’t fully understand what the app is about, this isn’t Apple’s first rodeo with a BitTorrent style app. Back in May 2009, Apple removed a BitTorrent app called Drivetrain from iTunes. Drivetrain gave users the ability to remotely manage the BitTorrent client Transmission, and though the app never actually downloaded or uploaded any files itself, Apple wasn’t swayed.
Explaining its position to the developer of Drivetrain, Apple wrote:
…this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.
So despite Kepner’s efforts, don’t count on seeing IS Drive reappear on iTunes anytime soon.
And lastly, if you’re curious, check out a video of IS Drive in action below.