Apple To Start Charging For Wireless App Re-Downloads
Evidence has just been uncovered in the latest beta of iPhone OS 3.0 that Apple may begin charging for re-downloading apps over the air. Currently, if you delete an app from your iPhone, you can re-download it either in iTunes on your computer or in the App Store on your iPhone at no additional charge. However, a dialogue box has been found indicating that they may start charging full price for the app for re-downloading it wirelessly.
It is believed that the reasoning behind it is to prevent the illegal sharing of apps in the 3.0 firmware. At present, Apple’s iTunes DRM limits the numbers of computers on a single iTunes account, but not the number of iPhones, allowing an app to be downloaded for free by an unlimited number of iPhones on the same account after the account has paid for the app once.
This is still impractical for stealing apps since most users probably aren’t going to share accounts for any length of time. However, 3.0 will allow a user to wirelessly switch iTunes accounts on the iPhone simultaneously, which would let a user enter in a friend’s iTunes account password and wirelessly download an app they have already paid for without syncing through iTunes. Charging the account again for wireless re-downloading would limit this.
A source of our own has confirmed that this is happening in version 3.0b5 for both paid and promo code apps.