An Interview With Greg Hughes, Wi-Fi Sync Developer

We’ve covered Wi-Fi Sync previously, a simple app that lets you sync your iPhone, iPod Touch, and now iPad, without needing to plug in. The app and its developer, Greg Hughes, got a bit of attention because of Apple’s rejection. I recently had the opportunity to interview Hughes and discuss some of the details with his app, the app store rejection, and his feelings on Cydia.

Something I wondered about when we first learned about the app — and realizing there was no way Apple was going to allow it up in their app store — was the number of sales lost by being only being available to jailbroken phones. Hughes agrees that the volume would have likely been higher on iTunes, but sales exceeded his expectations on Cydia. He goes on to say that despite the lower number of customers on Cydia, there’s an advantage with the jailbreak community. “Lots of apps on the App Store fade into obscurity,” says Hughes, but on Cydia there are far fewer apps to compete with.

This probably rings even more true with the price Hughes set for Wi-Fi Sync. Not a lot of iPhone apps have faired well when the price goes above $3, and yet Wi-Fi Sync dares to be $10. “I also think that there’s a somewhat bizarre expectation that mobile apps should cost a fraction of the price of desktop apps,” Hughes said. The iPad has started to push the prices of apps upwards, but it’s been a slow process wrought with one-star reviews.

But being rejected by Apple really played well into his marketing plans. Prior to submission, Hughes did well letting the public be aware of the app. By the time he received word of the rejection, he unknowingly had the press on his side. “I was surprised that news of the app spread so quickly and reached mainstream news organizations such as the BBC.” Not bad for being a self-professed one man band.

So what was the problem with the app according to Apple anyway? “The issue was with the app as a whole. Basically they weren’t prepared to allow an app that subverts the security net that’s typically enforced on apps, regardless of the method used (as my method doesn’t use any private APIs – just public APIs in an unintended manner).”

When I asked Hughes about future apps, he says he has a few ideas but nothing concrete yet. So in the meantime we’ll be keeping on eye on this developer to see what else comes our way.

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