updated 12:51 am EDT, Thu June 7, 2012
Apple not allowing iOS-to-iOS streaming
After seeing their app pulled from the App Store for violating unspecified Apple guidelines, Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil Speakers Touch returned earlier today, but missing the in-app purchase ability to receive audio directly from other iOS devices and iTunes. Ultimately, for reasons left unsaid, Apple decided that direct AirPlay receiving on iOS devices -- allowing either direct iOS-to-iOS device or iOS iTunes-to-iOS device streaming -- was not an option they would allow.
Users who previously bought the application will retain the functionality even after upgrading to version 3.1, Rogue Amoeba head Paul Kafasis explained in a company blog post, as do those who don't update -- but new installs will lose the functionality as it has been removed from the App Store version. Though Kafasis does not address the subject directly, it is likely that the company used an illegally-distributed "cracked" AirPlay encryption key to achieve the feature. As part of the post, Kafasis revealed that the app had only 7,073 users, though it was not clear if this was the total number or just those who had paid for the extra functionality.
Kafasis did address -- and refute -- charges that the program may have used private APIs. He said that upon a review of the matter during the appeal process, the "Enhanced Audio Receiving" feature was implemented "entirely from scratch" and conformed to Apple's guidelines. Kafasis also said that Apple apologized for its initial (brief) discussions with Rogue Amoeba about the matter, which he said had never provided a clear explanation for the initial removal. Apple told him the early discussions had been "poorly handled."
The program (free) is still able to perform its main function of receiving audio from a Mac or PC that has Airfoil installed to an iOS device with Airfoil Speakers Touch installed. Users can stream audio from their Mac or PC's iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, Pandora or any other audio-producing program or website to their iOS device, turning an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad into a portable receiver. Only the ability to stream audio from the iOS version of iTunes and other programs directly to other iOS devices has been removed.
It could be that Apple is planning to implement this feature in a future version of iOS itself, a common reason for non-violation-related removals. Another possibility is that Apple didn't want another company to make money on AirPlay technology without providing a fee to Apple. It's also possible that the selling point of the Enhanced Audio Receiving feature -- helping users avoid buying AirPlay-compatible receivers that are often a bit more expensive than non-AirPlay units -- may have had something to do with it. Apple licenses AirPlay technology to a wide variety of third-party accessory makers and may have felt that Airfoil Speakers Touch would undermine a nascent but growing market.
At the end of the explanatory post, Kafasis mentions some workarounds for emulating iOS-to-iOS streaming so that users who never had Airfoil Speakers Touch 3 can replicate the effect.