iOS 7 updates allegedly 'Sherlocked' apps: Were developers surprised?

By Randell Suba , Jun 13, 2013 09:07 AM EDT

During the unveiling of the overhauled iOS 7 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), developers of apps such as Photowerks, 1Password and Mailbox found that their applications got "Sherlocked."

"Sherlocked" is when an individual or a company develops a product, launches it and finds out when Apple releases an update that the functionality of their product has been integrated if not totally copied.

The attendees of the WWDC 2013 saw the phenomenon happening again.

The Mail app of the new version of the iOS used swipe gestures similar to how the third part app Mailbox does to organize and clean up their e-mail inbox. Mailbox users can swipe to the left or to the right in order to delete messages, mark or prioritize them. So far, the app developer has not commented about being Sherlocked.

Ars Technica also reported that the iCloud Keychain, basically a password manager and sync tool for the iOS and the OS X also looked a lot like Agilebits' 1Password. The third-party app has been popular with Mac users and the popularity eventually spilled to the iOS when Agilebits launched its app for the mobile platform.

Now with Apple offering the same functionality for free to its users, the iPhone and iPad manufacturer has practically killed the business of Agilebits.

David Chartier who spoke for Agilebits, the developer of 1Password, explained in an interview with Ars Technica that while 1Password might have been Sherlocked, having a better technology for security is a win-win situation for companies and consumers. He dismissed the thought that 1Password should be worried after seeing what Apple has done since apps like Pocket and Dropbox have done well even after the roll out of Apple's iCloud and Reading List.

"1Password supports multiple browsers and platforms, multiple accounts at each site, and it secures so much more than passwords and even credit cards," said Charter about the diversity and functionality of the said mobile app.

Another Sherlocked app during the WWDC 2013 keynote was Photowerks that was rolled out last month. This third party app makes life easier for those who want to sort images according to location and date. Apple rolled out Moments for iPhoto that has the same functionality as Photowerks.

"I guess my new app just got sherlocked," said Stephen Orth, creator of Photowerks, in a tweet.

Other apps that got Sherlocked include Any.Do that has a similar design appearing on the iOS to-do list management app and Sunrise that appeared to look similar to the updated calendar app of Apple.

While some app developers may not be too happy with Apple launching an app similar to theirs, some are somewhat humbled that a household technology brand copied them.

Maybe Sherlocked must have another definition, the act of sighing and saying goodbye to one's tech dreams after finding out that Apple created a similar app or has copied one's work.

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