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Apple theatens to pull Evi from App Store over Siri likeness

updated 01:35 pm EST, Mon February 27, 2012

Title offers alternative for non-iPhone 4S owner

Apple is threatening to pull a Siri-like app called Evi from the App Store, according to the app's developer, True Knowledge. The latter company says that on Friday, Apple representative Richard Chipman called and explained that Apple was "going to pull Evi from the App Store," based on the title's parallels with Siri. As of this writing, though, Evi is still on sale for about 99 cents, and has managed over 200,000 downloads.

Evi combines a True Knowledge-built search engine with speech recognition technology licensed from Nuance. Although it can't add items to Calendar or Reminders, the app is similar to Siri in that it lets users ask natural-language questions and receive simple answers; instead of widgets, the app relies on web links. Its main advantage is that unlike Siri it can run on multiple iOS devices, not just the iPhone 4S.

Apple's position stems from an App Store guideline that says "Apps which appear confusingly similar to an existing Apple product or advertising theme will be rejected." True Knowledge CEO William Tunstall-Pedoe argues that Apple is trying to discourage competition. "I don't think it takes too much of a leap of the imagination to realise that 'confusingly similar' is code for 'competitive with' -- and that all the user and press reviews along the lines of 'now you don't need to buy a 4S -- you can download Evi', 'better than Siri' etc. have resulted in a change of heart from Apple about allowing its users to get the app."

Apple has approved multiple Evi updates in the past, but a recently submitted one is said to be taking over three weeks to get approval. Siri clones have proliferated since the launch of the iPhone 4S, largely to exploit the technology's device restrictions. Apple may expand Siri support in March, however, in tandem with the launch of an iPad 3.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Makes me think

    200,000 downloads, and the app is 99 cents... with Apple's 70/30 split, this developer has made roughly $140,000 on this app on iOS alone (it's available for Android too), all in just 4, 5 weeks.

    I should REALLY get into app development. And have a great idea for an app. And put in really long hours. Or, I could order a pizza and catch up on Family Guy. Decisions, decisions.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How can it be confusing to anyone, since it's an app you launch, not a hold the button down thing, and it works on any device with a speaker, not just the 4S.

    Oh, right, it might cut into Apple's new phone sales.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Those [sarcasm] tags are badly needed nowadays... with all that trolling happening here now, your rant could have been an honest-to-goodness genuine wrenchy/testy/Arne posting, with no irony whatsoever.

  1. Grendelmon

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Two things:

    1) Why do they need to "threaten" the developer? It's not like they can redesign the entire nature of the app to "fix" Apple's gripe, and
    2) How the he|| did Apple not know what the app did, which they had to approve it themselves for the app store?

  1. TomMcIn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Is EVI a Pig?

    The comments from people that bought it indicate they have found it is Sllooowwww if it ever answers. Apple should take it down to prevent others from wasting their money.

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