back to article Tear teardown down, roars Apple: iFixit app yanked from store

DIY repair biz iFixit says it can no longer offer its iOS mobile app, thanks to a ban from Apple. iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens wrote in a blog post that Apple had pulled his company's developer account due to a terms and conditions violation and, as a result, the iFixit iOS app had also been taken down from the App Store. According …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Information wants to be free!

    There.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Information wants to be free!

      Ironic really, given the Apple logo was based on the symbolic apple from Genesis story of God kicking out Adam & Eve for tasting the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Now they do the same...

      1. phy445

        Re: Information wants to be free!

        I agree with the need to free information wherever possible, but not sure about the biblical reference. IIRC the original company logo was based on an apple falling on Newton's head. They then went over to the silhouette apple and the bite was taken out to stop it being confused with a cherry.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: Information wants to be free!

          To stop some of the more esoteric theories around this:

          The name "Apple" was chosen because Jobs and Wozniak wanted a word that was alphabetically high up the list of computer makers (this was 1976, when there were hundreds of small outfits, like Apple) while being a basic word that everyone knew. Woz credits Jobs with the choice of "Apple". Steve Jobs was also, at the time, dabbling with an all-fruit diet (I'm not actually kidding about this..) and had previously spent time in a hippy-commune in an apple orchard. Whether Jobs and Wozniak were Beatles fans is debatable - Jobs was a big Bob Dylan fan, however.

          The original, original company logo used for the Apple 1 kits featured an engraving-style illustration of Isaac Newton by co-founder Ron Wayne. For the Apple II model in 1977, the newly incorporated company hired marketing expert Regis McKenna's eponymous ad agency to produce a better logo (Jobs had phoned Intel, asked who did their "cool ads" for them, and then phoned McKenna). The "bite" was done by the designer there, Ron Janoff, to make the logo read as "apple sized" as opposed to the many other fruits that have the same basic shape. This is quite a clever bit of graphic design, by the way, because it is only the relative sizes of the "bite" and the fruit that makes this look like an apple in the first place. (see http://robjanoff.com/applelogo/)

          There's no biblical reference, but that has never stopped people (particularly Americans) from trying to find one. For what it's worth, Jobs was agnostic, and Wozniak is very publicly an atheist.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Information wants to be free!

            Ah... Apple Lore!

      2. Mage Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Information wants to be free!

        " Apple logo was based on the symbolic apple from Genesis "

        Nice idea, but wrong.

        It was because they were Beatles fans. Beatles had Apple Corp

        There is no symbolic apple in Genesis. It's comparatively recent idea to describe it as an apple, (Abraham is in Genesis and that at least is drawing on nearly 4000 year old oral tradition maybe written 3,500 years ago (biblical inscriptions have been found on jewellery that old).

      3. BenDwire Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Information wants to be free!

        Or was the logo inspired by Alan Turing? Or neither? Discuss ...

        http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/06/opinion/apple-logo/

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      I want free stuff!

      FTFY.

  2. John Tserkezis

    So Apple, how does it feel to get kicked in the balls?

  3. Mike Shepherd

    All your offspring, their offspring etc.

    are belong to us.

  4. Phil Kingston

    What, exactly, did Apple think iFixit would do with a sample unit they got sent? Chumptards.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Devil

      Take it apart, violate their developer terms, and get rid of that annoying app of theirs which indicates that there's something other than fairy dust and Sir Jony's juice inside?

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Apple doesn't think, Apple does, with no regard for anybody, except the board and shareholders of course.

      up vote for you as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apple has tons of developer accounts, many who requested Apple TV hardware. They don't have a human look at each one and say "aha, iFixit, these are the guys who do teardowns". If iFixIt had waited to buy an Apple TV like they do with an iPhone, they wouldn't have had this problem.

        A lot of companies have restrictions on what developers can do. Heck, if you have a license (not a developer license, just a regular user license) to Oracle, you are banned from publishing any benchmarks without their prior approval. You think Apple is bad, you should look into the restrictions they place on you in the enterprise world!

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Bigger picture

    This is a real issue for anyone wanting to do enterprise apps for Apple.

    I can spend serious person-years-$$ of development effort on a serious iPhone app if it can be rejected/pulled from the app store on a whim or for some anti-competition reason.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Bigger picture

      @Yet Another Anonymous coward, do you mean like when Jobs pulled the licensing of Apple's Mac OS for clone manufacturers in the mid-90s or one of the many other times they pulled a similar stunt? It's a lot less painful to learn from other people's mistakes than to endure "won't get fooled again" status, but both eventually get the point across.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Bigger picture

      Their market, their rules. You know the risks when you spend serious person-years-$$ (?!?) or you're a bit too naive to be running a business.

      Besides, by the sounds of it the app did nothing that the mobile site doesn't (except possibly generate revenue).

      1. lurker

        Re: Bigger picture

        "Their market, their rules"

        It should not be the case that companies 'own the market', that's not healthy competition, that's monopolistic. Of course this is the entire goal of the walled garden software/content ecosystem, but it would be short sighted to accept it as 'the norm'.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: It should not be the case that companies 'own the market', that's not healthy

          Supermarkets choose if they'll stock your product, isn't this broadly similar though? Tesco can decide on a whim to stop selling your stuff (perhaps with some notice period based on your contract).

          Don't enterprise developers get the ability to run their own private app-stores... not sure if these can also be pulled or not?

          1. Pookietoo

            Re: Supermarkets choose ...

            But you have a choice of supermarkets, and you don't need any supermarket in order to sell product, they are just convenient marketing points.

      2. Michael Strorm

        Re: Bigger picture

        On top of agreeing with Lurker's response, I'll add...

        "Their market, their rules."

        ...which he's entitled to use his free speech to criticise whether or not he actually went down that path (and it sounds more like he was discussing it hypothetically).

        As I've already commented countless times (because this line of argument keeps cropping up), this is...

        "a misapprehension *way* too common these days- that because a free market exists, or because it's a free country and no-one is forcing someone to do something, that somehow people have no moral right to criticise something? e.g. in response to iWatch criticism, "Don't Like the iWatch? No-one's pointing a gun at your head to make you buy it"- implication, you have no moral right to criticise it for that reason.

        Taken to its logical conclusion, no-one would have the right to criticise *anything* they didn't have to buy.

        A close relative of this is- again, in response to criticism- saying (e.g.) Apple or whoever are a free company to develop and sell what they like. Implication, what you said infringes on that freedom- no, it doesn't- they still have the freedom to do that, and others have the freedom to say what they like about it.

        Freedom cuts both ways, but too often fanboys- without even realising how entitled, hypocritical and/or misguided they're being- expect that freedom to work in their favour but somehow think it protects *them* against that supposed infringement of their freedom.

        Except that there's no such infringement- freedom of speech does not imply freedom from criticism- quite the opposite, to do so would be to suppress *others'* free speech- and criticism itself in no way affects your freedom of speech (unless expressed in a clearly menacing manner). End of rant... but see how often you can spot this mentality; it's annoyingly common."

        ["Fanboys" here can also be extended to people who picture themselves as would-be defenders of the "free" market but act as if criticism of a particular company is an attack on that free market, rather than the complete opposite, i.e. someone exerting *their* freedom to legitimate opinion, imparting the *free* exchange of information that proponents of efficient free markets advocate.]

    3. Hellcat

      Re: Bigger picture

      On the back of the maxipad release too with the whole being marketed as a serious corporate tool. But you can only use apps through the app store, and if you create your own, on a whim Apple could pull it.

      Suddenly a windows or linux tablet running regular applications seems less risky.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bigger picture

      If you are creating enterprise apps you use an enterprise license. You do not use the App Store And so can't be pulled from it.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Bigger picture

        >If you are creating enterprise apps you use an enterprise license.

        For internal use but the rules on an enterprise license are pretty strict.

        If I was IBM/SAP/Salesforce/SAS/etc I would be very nervous about developing anything for this new enterprise iPad

  6. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Good reason not to deal with Apple

    This illustrates a good reason not to deal with Apple. I won't buy an Apple product (why would pay more for a product that does a subset of what I can get from another vendor for less money?) and why I don't plan to develop for them either.

    1. PeterM42

      Re: Good reason not to deal with Apple

      ABSOLUTELY.

      As an IT consultant, I often get asked for advice (don't we all!?).

      And I always recommend against the (technically superior?) Apple products for all the reasons expressed above.

      1. g e

        Re: Good reason not to deal with Apple

        Being 'a bit technical' I get, from time to time, people saying 'How do I get my phone/tablet/etc to do that, I saw it on a mate's phone/tablet/etc'.

        Sometimes they saw something on an Android and they want to do the same thing on an iThing, something it may well be capable of.

        Being, however, of a curmudgeonly disposition I just say 'It's an Apple device. No clue'. Sometimes, even if I know how...

        Humourless fanbois please respond in the space below.

        1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Good reason not to deal with Apple

          I have sense of humour - your approach to business seems pretty funny. Why don't you just say I don't work with Apple devices because.... This way all it takes is a little inter customer chat for it to be known that X knows sh*t - is his/her knowledge of other things any better. And there goes your rep.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good reason not to deal with Apple

            I completely and utterly disagree.

            There are PC techs and there are Apple techs, in my experience (athough there may be some exceptions). PC techs tend to work on Apple devices because they have to. Funnily enough I have just had a science tech come and see me about an ipad alarm that keeps going off every day. We can't lock the damn things down! If you want to employ an Apple expert you can quadruple the normal pay grade in my industry, otherwise it's not happening.

            I would have no qualms over people claiming "This way all it takes is a little inter customer chat for it to be known that X knows sh*t"

            I don't like them, I don't like supporting them. It's as simple as that, and I really don't care who knows it.

            If you have to strip down an old IMAC to mend things though, IFIXIT is an absolute godsend.

  7. JLV

    You know, every so often you wonder why Apple has such a nasty rep for being pointlessly petty and control-freakish.

    This is a reminder.

    I may prefer some of their products to some of their competitors' wares (my choice), but as a company they quite often go out of their way to leave a bad taste. And I often wonder why. Is being nicer so hard?

    Shame on you, Apple.

  8. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Don't get it

    What's the violation? Do Apple actually have T&Cs forbidding developers from opening devices and taking pictures?

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Don't get it

      Well do S0N allow Dev's to crack open DEX Equipment for those to post Pics of? What about MicroSoft with their Failbox360, or the XBOne(er)? I'm guessing these are all covers under an NDA. So your saying that Apple have no claims to the same protections?

      Remember this was about Dev-Kit equipment, and not the final product here.

    2. Frank Bough

      Re: Don't get it

      I suspect iFixit jumped the gun. The new Apple TV isn't available yet, so what on Earth is the point of releasing a teardown to help people fix theirs? No doubt they violated their developer agreement, and it only takes one person at Apple being pissed off for them to enforce those terms. Honestly, iFixit fucked up here. Shame, we all lose out.

      1. JoshOvki

        Re: Don't get it

        "Shame, we all lose out."

        I don't lose out. I have an android phone.

      2. Indolent Wretch

        Re: Don't get it

        >> so what on Earth is the point of releasing a teardown to help people fix theirs?

        It's how they make their money and pay their staff?

        >> No doubt they violated their developer agreement

        No doubt, but presumably the stuff was paid for and belonged to iFixit so one wonders how the agreement is worded and enforced to punish an act such as this when it does no damage to Apple at all.

        In reality the damage has been done by this story and the bad PR it causes and the damage has been done to Apple.

        Apple fucked up here.

      3. Pookietoo

        Re: so what on Earth is the point of releasing a teardown ...

        ... to help people fix theirs? It's not just about how to pull it apart, but also how well it's put together (how likely it will need servicing/repair, how easy that will be) and the precise hardware specification.

    3. Frank Bough

      Re: Don't get it

      Do you mean publishing details of a forthcoming product in violation of their dev agreement? Yes, I'm sure that they do. If we published details of our clients unreleased products we'd be in court pretty quick. The new Apple TV may have been announced, but it hasn't yet been released. It is possible that the unit they tore down doesn't properly represent the final product in some way.

    4. Mage Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Don't get it

      Yes. Also often there is a non-disclosure contract. I've even signed such with Trolltech for software and created them for others to sign.

      Once it's on retail sale, then iFixIt can do what they like. I think the issue was they didn't just go out an buy them so NDA applied.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't get it

      They received a free Apple TV and the agreement for this included no reviewing of the product. The intention was for developers to have apps ready before the launch at the end of this month.

      1. Indolent Wretch

        Re: Don't get it

        I'm not sure telling the world how it's been glued together is strictly a "review"

  9. tempemeaty
    Big Brother

    I have a book list for Tim & Sir Jony

    It's a long list...

    One book...

    "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie

    And this time I'm not talking tongue in cheek. I'm dead serious.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: I have a book list for Tim & Sir Jony

      They already know how to win 'friends' and influence people. Apple marketing and PR is very efficient, look at how they turned devices into status symbols and how the mainstream media love to drool about their products turning them into more than electronic devices.

      What Apple hates is any critic, even the most harmless one. It's part of their marketing and PR ideology that its products are no less than absolutely perfect, and that's what their 'friends' have to think and the way they need to influence people. Whoever won't comply will be booted from the 'garden of Appleden'. It believes it will put the needed stigma on you in the eyes of most worshippers, and some could feel it damaging enough to bend to Apple ideology. It's the marketing equivalent of bullying, of course.

      1. Hellcat

        Re: I have a book list for Tim & Sir Jony

        Current iDevices are perfect. But the future ones will be even more perfect.

        1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: I have a book list for Tim & Sir Jony

          Future perfect or pluperfect

      2. Dan Paul

        Re: I have a book list for Tim & Sir Jony

        It seems that they can't stand the harsh light of criticism so badly that they, like most of the effete idiots that buy their products; plug their ears and cover their eyes against any version of reality they don't like. This is the reality distortion field effect that Apple creates. Even if they read Carnegie, they would take it as complementing their version of reality. Truthfully, Apple have more in common with the cult of Scientology.

        Emperor Tim has no clothes and is surrounded by bright and shiny "yes men" (and women) who continually tell him his raiments are "glorious" and thus will remain naked and clueless until he is displaced. "Perfection" cannot exist in any manmade object, regardless of what Apple thinks.

  10. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Hurr durr

    NDA agreements... Its's almost like iFixit have never read their Developer Contract. So sorry I feel little pitty for 'em. OK perhaps it was MY poor reading comprehension that at faut here. But, the way I understood this. Apple had sent these Clowns a secret Developer Box. One that the John Q. Public should never had seen. These Devices usually have some type of NDA agreement that rides along with the Device / Software. Which they are in clear violation of having broken. So let us not confuse this with some Day One Jusus Phone 6S that they posted the latest Centerfolds of.

    At wich point yeah I'd have to agree that Apple were being a bunch of dicks again. But, the Story makes it (Well I thought anyway), that this was about a Dev-box, and that was clearly a no no!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Hurr durr

      Unless they published the teardown before the product was released, I don't think it should matter.

      1. Frank Bough

        Re: Hurr durr

        They did.

        1. Dodgy Dave

          Re: Hurr durr

          According to MacRumors, they did just that: "Apple provided developers with Apple TV Dev Kits to be used to create tvOS apps for the device", and it was one of these which was torn down.

          So Apple are pissed at them, not for looking inside a product they actually owned, but for effectively upstaging Apple's product launch. Everyone - really, everyone - knows that nothing winds Apple up more than leaks about forthcoming new shinies.

          Yes, Apple can be capricious and inscrutable and pull stuff for the most baffling of 'reasons', but this time round iFixit should have used some common sense.

          1. asdf

            Re: Hurr durr

            >Yes, Apple can be capricious and inscrutable and pull stuff for the most baffling of 'reasons', but this time round iFixit should have used some common sense.

            Perhaps they did and decided this new product scoop (people go batshit crazy over new Apple crap as much as ever maybe even more than in the future who knows) was worth the clicks to risk the wrath of Apple (plus the free publicity). Worst case now they have to just buy everything on release day like anybody else. Its not like anyone else can scoop them now more than once anyway.

  11. kmac499

    The Scientology of Apple

    I draw no close parallels in the aims of L Ron Hubbards followers and Apple computer corp.

    Hubbards mob are genuinely creepy and sinister. Apple just makes and sells IT kit.

    But they both guard their 'secrets' behind walls of litigation and control, are totally intolerant of any dissent, excommunicating the unbelievers; and charge a fortune for the experience.

  12. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I too think Apple can be control freaks, but in this case it looks like iFixit screwed up all by themselves.

  13. JDX Gold badge

    Big deal?

    Apple seem not to have an issue with the tear-downs. Merely that iFixit gave out privileged information from a DEVELOPMENT unit.

    If you break an NDA or whatever, this is what happens... try leaking details of a MS/Sony devkit and see if your license to develop for those platforms gets revoked.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Big deal?

      I heard that the unit in question didn't exactly go directly to iFixit, but an employee or associate with "the dev" account in question. So, I'm seeing a disconnect here or not seeing the connection.

      It's been a long week... Let's start the weekend early shall we? Pints all around!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big deal?

        "Sorry m'lud, I didn't nick the TV, my mate did. I was merely selling it for 'im..."

    2. sysconfig

      Re: Big deal?

      "If you break an NDA or whatever, this is what happens..."

      Given that they published detailed info before product launch, I'd expect the account closure and yanking of the app to be only first steps, with a legal shit storm to follow. If I was Apple, this wouldn't be the end of it. (Disclaimer: I'm not pro Apple, but breaking NDAs is a no-no.)

  14. Richard Boyce

    TANSTAAFL

    If you're offered a special arrangement, even for a short time, always check for gotchas in the T&Cs.

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