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Apple Pulls Airfoil Speakers Touch From App Store Without Reason

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Say goodbye to quick and easy audio sharing on your iPhone. Apple has pulled developer Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil Speakers Touch app from iTunes.

Despite requests, Apple has not given Rogue Amoeba a definitive answer on why it decided to pull the 3-year-old app.

"We still do not yet have a clear answer on why Apple has chosen to remove Airfoil Speakers Touch," CEO Paul Kafasis wrote in a blog post on Rogue Amoeba's site. "As far as we can tell, Airfoil Speakers Touch is in full compliance with Apple’s posted rules and developer agreements."

Tech bloggers jumped to their own conclusions, guessing that there was either an issue with Airfoil's latest update, or Apple has its own audio sharing option up its sleeve.

Version three of the Airfoil app, updated last month, used Apple's AirPlay streaming protocol to send, receive and play audio from other iOS devices, including iPods and iPads, along with PCs and Macs when paired with the desktop program. Apple offers its own streaming audio option through Airplay, however the functionality is extremely limited since users can only beam content out to Apple TV or designated speakers.

The Airfoil app allowed users to receive and play streamed audio on their phone -- something Airplay lacks. Not to mention, the costs of Airplay are greater with speciality speaker systems costing hundreds of dollars, whereas the Airfoil app was free.

Apple-centric blog Daring Fireball writes that the reasoning behind Apple's removal of the app surrounds its latest update, which was allegedly not in compliance with Apple's guidelines and license agreement.

"As I understand it, it’s not that Apple yanked Airfoil Speakers Touch after it had been in the store for three years. It’s that they yanked version 3 after it had been in the store for a month," blog owner John Gruber wrote.

The enhanced receiver option was the latest addition to the app, so that feature may indeed be the culprit that drew Apple's attention.

Other bloggers speculate that Apple kicked Airfoil to the curb in order to make room for a similar feature in iOS 6.

An anonymous Apple tipster reported to Cult Of Mac that "Airfoil Speakers Touch wasn’t yanked arbitrarily, but instead because it duplicates functionality in the still unreleased and officially unannounced iOS 6." Gruber, however, shoots this speculation down, reminding everyone that Apple didn't remove Instapaper from the iTunes app store after it introduced offline support for Safari's Reading List.

This is not the first time Airfoil's app has been pulled from the iTunes app store, either. After its debut in 2009, Rogue Amoeba was forced to make some functionality changes to the app to make it comply to Apple standards. Since Rogue Amoeba believes its current update is in full compliance, it is appealing the decision with Apple's Review Board

Whether or not Airfoil was pulled for its update or because of a similar feature in Apple's next mobile operating system is something only Apple knows. For now, at least.

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