Earlier this year, I wrote a story about Maya, a four-year-old girl who used an app called Speak for Yourself to help her communicate with the outside world. Maya’s mother, Dana Nieder, preferred the app over more established augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices because it worked windows 10 download free on an iPad, which was easier for Maya to handle, and it was cheaper — $299 plus the cost of an iPad, as opposed to bulkier devices that can cost up to $8,000.
The app is being threatened by a joint lawsuit from Prentke Romich Company (PRC) and Semantic Compaction Systems, which claim that Heidi LoStracco and Renee Collender — the two speech pathologists behind Speak for Yourself — infringed on over 100 of their software patents. LoStracco and Collender fought back, claiming in court that the lawsuit is baseless.
Now it seems that despite the fact that the lawsuit is still in court, Apple has pulled Speak for Yourself from the App Store. Nieder is obviously not very happy about the decision. While she already has the app on her iPad, she worries about the fact that Speak for Yourself can’t send out updates and that new iOS updates from Apple could interfere with how the app functions.
I’m not a patent lawyer, but I think that normally in such cases, the plaintiff would have to apply for an injunction to stop the company from selling the software or making updates available. Simply by filing a claim would not be enough for software to be removed. But what happened in this case is that the company (Prentke Romich Company) approached Apple and Apple removed the app.
Because of the nature of the App Store, that Apple control what software is on there, and limit users to only getting apps from the App Store, it means that no-one can get this app for iOS devices. For existing users, they won’t get updates, or if they drop their iPad, they won’t be able to download it again.
This isn’t the same as Android. However Google might act with regards to the Market, there’s always this option…
…that is, the Unknown sources option which allows install of non Market applications. It’s off by default to protect people, but if you really want the flexibility of installing things from outside, you always have that option.
The Unknown sources option mean that you ultimately retain control, not the machine or the curators of the Market/App store, and as a result, even if someone pulls something from the store, you have a way to get it onto your device.