Today we got an anonymous tip from a user about a certain application on the App Store which simply disappeared from users iPhones and Macs, overnight. Did Apple just use the kill switch?
Confirmed by Steve Jobs himself in August 2008, Apple’s iOS kill switch allows the company to reportedly remotely delete malicious or inappropriate applications stored on the device. Once deleted, when the user(s) sync their device with iTunes, because the app is no longer on their iPhone or iPod touch the file is deleted from their library.
The switch was described by Jobs as ‘precaution,’ with Jobs stating: “Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull,”.
Our tipster refers to the application NDrive, which according to @AppShopper, was a small indie entry into the GPS market. The app offered users a whopping 1.8 GB of US map data for only $2.99, if they were luckily enough to be among the first to download the app. But users were hardly able to download the application when it simply disappeared. Not just from the App Store, but according to reports the app simply disappeared off customers iPhone’s, Macintosh computers and PCs.
When asked about the issue, NDrive customer services released the following statement:
“It has recently come to our attention that customers are experiencing difficulties with our iPhone navigation applications. Accordingly, NDrive acknowledges that our software listed in the Apple iTunes Store have been dissolved until further notice. We are currently working to address and improve the situation in an efficient manner. This issue has been assigned a maximum urgency level as we cannot inquire on the duration of our void from said markets. We are attentively listening and working hard to address all inquisitions submitted.”
The company failed to explain why the application had been pulled, suggesting they too were not expecting the situation. A quick head over to Apple Discussions confirms this fact, with a bunch of users reporting “I had the application, now it’s gone from my iPhone AND my computer“.
It is still unclear why Apple would use the kill switch on such an application, and as far as we are aware, Apple is yet to refund customers who bought NDrive. We’ll have more on this as and when we have it. Did you own the application yourself? Has the app disappeared from your own computer? – Let us know in the comments!
[Update] – Multiple users are reporting to us via Twitter and in the comments section that NDrive is still present on both their iPhone and respective computers, therefore we’re filing this one under: “Apple has -not- used the iOS kill switch … yet”.[via PhoneNews]