The topic of selling access to iOS beta software has come up again as of late, and with Apple’s release of the iOS 6 beta, many eager non-developers are itching to get their hands on the upcoming OS as soon as possible. For some, the desire to try iOS 6 is so great that they will buy access to developer-only software from unofficial websites Apple does not support.
Apple has turned its attention to the underbelly of selling iOS and OS X developer software, according to a new report.
When someone wants beta software from Apple but does not have access to a $99/year developer account, they have to either ask a developer friend to add their device, or gain access by purchasing an activated UDID (unique device identifier) that is tied to a registered developer account. There are multiple websites that buy Apple developer accounts in bulk and then sell off the 100 provided device slots at a relatively cheap price.
Federico Viticci of MacStories has a report today saying that multiple unofficial UDID activation sites have been taken down by Apple. After MacStories reached out to several site owners, some replied back saying that Apple had recently filed a DMCA request with the associated host provider.
In the email, the site owner said that their website made $75,000 since last June, when Apple released the first beta of iOS 6 to developers. “We do not believe our service was infringing and our services did not violate their guidelines for iOS 6″, the site owner commented, adding that they will soon launch another similar site, “with better and more secure data lines to handle Apple”.
The owner of another site replied to our emails with a “no comment”. According to him, “the Wired article has caused all these sites to go down”.
The aforementioned WIRED article is titled “Want iOS 6? No Problem: Buy It Now From a Scofflaw Developer.” Written by Andy Baio, the piece was published on June 20th, and it is to be believed that WIRED’s story prompted Apple to sit up and take notice. Apple reacted in a similar fashion after sites started selling iOS 5 betas last summer, but the company’s approach seems to be more forceful this time around.
Sites that have been selling access to OS X betas also seem to have been tapped by Apple. Beyond the sites that have been taken down, it’s unclear if customers who illegally bought access to Apple’s developer software have had or will have their access revoked.
Apple’s warning is clear in the iOS Provisioning Portal:
Your iOS Developer Program membership can be terminated if you provide pre-release Apple Software to anyone other than employees, contractors, and members of your organization who are registered as Apple Developers and have a demonstrable need to know or use Apple Software in order to develop and test applications on your behalf. Unauthorized distribution of Apple Confidential Information (including pre-release Apple Software) is prohibited and may subject you to both civil and criminal liability.
There are multiple reasons why non-developers shouldn’t have access to beta software. Developers have to deal with unnecessary bug reports and 1-star iTunes ratings in the App Store because of regular users getting upset that their favorite app couldn’t run on an iOS beta. An authorized developer would know better than to gripe about app support in beta software, because beta software exists to test app compatibility in the first place. Regular consumers aren’t meant to use betas because the developer community has to first iron out all the kinks. Let developers and Apple deal with betas, and the rest of us will be much happier with the finished product.
Apple hasn’t given a specific date, but iOS 6 will be made available to the public this fall.