Chinese pirates have taken downloading cracked iPhone and iPad apps to the next new level. A new desktop software called “KuaiYong” (literally means “use quickly” in Chinese) will allows pirated iOS apps to be installed on non-jailbroken devices. It has been around on Chinese internet world since June 2012, being only in Chinese seems to have caused the software to go under Apple’s radar for so long. KuaiYong is basically using bulk enterprise licensing to bypass Apple’s safeguards. So the Chinese service is essentially distributing the exact same app – with the same license ID – over and over again. And now the same team has launched a web version of its pirate iOS app store. The online store is full of pirated iOS apps and games available for free. It makes the service more accessible to potential new users who can browse the available apps in their web browser. To download one of the iOS apps or games from the site, it’s actually downloading the “KuaiYong” PC software …
Shanghai Animation Film Studio, China’s first and official animation factory, sued Apple for hosting applications containing unlicensed versions of their works on its App Store that were available for download, demanding a total compensation of 3.3 million yuan (around $530,000 USD) from Apple for violating the copyrights of their 110 works.
China is Apple’s second biggest regional market by revenue behind the US. But Chinese Apple user always has a painful experience on downloading apps from Apple’s App Store. The connection in China is slow, it could take more than 10 minutes to get a simple app like FlipBoard to be downloaded. And it is one of the main reasons for Chinese people desperately need jailbreaking for their iPhone and iPad to go for local third-party App Store. Now the download speed in Apple’s online store in China has jumped 10 times through a recent network infrastructure upgrade. Apple used CDN (Content Delivery Network) to upgrade their network, which allowed Chinese users have a much higher download speed. CDN is usually deployed in multiple locations, often over multiple backbones. Benefits include reducing bandwidth costs, improving page load times, or increasing global availability of content. The latest upgrade helped Apple to improve the services of the iOS system in China in order to compete with the Android. The enhance of Chinese input method in iOS should be the next upgrade.
According to Chinese media report, Apple CEO Tim Cook outlined plans for the R&D center with acting Beijing Mayor during he visit to China last week. During the alleged meeting, Cook noted that Apple will move to China an undisclosed number of servers dedicated to the App Store and iTunes. Separate sources indicated that Hebei Province or Inner Mongolia could be potential location for the data center which is expected to improve download times for users in the region. The exact nature of the R&D center was not revealed. Cook has also met with the country’s head of industry and information technology to discuss Apple’s business in the region as well as global communications sector in general. The setting up of servers in China may improve the downloading speed for Chinese users, but it will also allow authorities to easily create regulations to stop iTune for selling VPN app.
The “Great Firewall” of China has properly killed many VPN connections recently. It has blocked searches for VPN apps on iTunes App Store in China too. But Apple, not to be out-gunned by the communist, has just switched connections to the App Store to the HTTPS protocol, a secure connection that is not easy to selectively filter. There is no doubt that Apple decision is brave enough, but it’s also extremely risky and may end up with more restrictions from the authorities. Apple’s move is actually building an unrestricted commercial platform which is free from the GFW’s control. It’s not clear how long the secure connection will be available. At the moment, Chinese Apple users can download or buy VPN apps freely in App store. In China, nothing can stay out of Chinese government’s eyes, especially the flow of information. It is highly likely that the government have noticed this loophole and they would step-up regulation on the Android and iTunes App Stores …
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