Ripping Off Web Apps on the App Store

A little while ago, I came across this thread on Reddit that was advertising a certain weather app available on the App Store. The OP claims that he’s a 17-year-old developer of the app and that the app is:

[...] a whole new and revolutionary concept: Weather, only with Gestures. Very simple, but effective. It only cost 0,99$.

Curious enough about it, I looked up the app ‘CubeWeather‘ (DO NOT BUY) on App Store and was kinda blow away when I glanced at the screenshots listed for the app. The screenshots very closely almost exactly resembled the Sun weather web app, developed by Jakob Henner — a designer/developer from Copenhagen. If you haven’t heard about Sun yet, I urge you to first go and check it out. Sun is a remarkably good web app and it often puts me in awe how ridiculously well it works on the iPhone or iPad in spite of it being a web app. When I wrote about the app on Beautiful Pixels, I’d wished that there was a native iOS version of it.

sun-ui

So when I came across CubeWeather, for a moment, I thought it had finally happened. But then I took a gander at the developer who was listed as ‘RFV UG (haftungsbeschrankt)‘. I looked through his other apps and realized that something wasn’t right. One look at the following set of screenshots and it’s clear what was going on.

ripoff-ui-eg

To confirm, I shot off an email to Sun’s original developer who confirmed that CubeWeather was NOT his app and was in no way related to Sun.

I thought of trying out the app at first, but I really don’t want to give my $1 to the scammer. This doesn’t appear to be a case where the screenshots were swapped after the app was released on the App Store, as Apple has recently started locking screenshots down in iTunes Connect and they can only be updated when the developer submits an update to the app. It’s likely that in this case, this scammer just took Sun and wrapper it in a web-view and submitted it to the App Store.

It’s a shame that cases like this are so easy to happen on the App Store and there seems to be no way to report an app on the App Store.

TL;DR: Sun is a weather web app for iOS. It’s awesome and Free to use. CubeWeather is NOT related to Sun. It’s probably a scammer who’s selling it for $0.99. Do not buy it.