re-download-copy

The iPhone OS 3.0 re-download message saga may finally have come to a surprisingly positive conclusion.

We first reported seeing this new re-download message a little over a week ago when attempting to re-downloading an already purchased application.  The message indicated that if you wanted to re-download an application that you already own, you must do so from your computer and not from the device itself.  It was assumed that Apple would be employing this new download method to stop users from sharing applications between accounts.

This policy had the entire developer community, and websites like ours up in arms. The problem with Apple doing such a thing is that it would severely inconvenience users who were always on-the-go.  There would be no way for them to re-download apps they need without resyncing to their computer, so if you didn’t have your computer nearby, you would be out of luck.

With the final release of iTunes 8.2, we discovered that the message stopped appearing for users who had an authorized computer, but people who were sharing applications with unauthorized devices would still see the message. It was a welcome discovery that seemed to make the new policy palatable.

Now today, in a surprising turn of events the entire feature was removed completely! The message now will NOT appear in any envirnoment, authorized, non-authorized it doesn’t matter. We were able to talk to a lead Apple developer first hand at WWDC and he confirmed the feature is now gone completely.

So what’s the deal?  What’s with all of the changes?  Well, according to an Apple lead developer, all of this was just a simple bug in the system.  We decided to not just take their word for it, we tested all the possible scenerios we could think of and in all cases we were presented with the pleasant “You have already purchased this item. To download it again for free, select OK” message. We can confirm that repurchase option no longer appears in any instance.

Could this just have been a simple bug?  It’s hard to believe that it is possible, and even our own iPhone guru Nic Elder doesn’t buy it.  He believes that the whole re-download system was too well designed and the error message had to have been specifically designed for just this scenario.  It’s more likely that Apple just gave in to all of the negative feedback they had been receiving since the message first appeared over a week ago.

Is Apple telling the truth?  Who knows, all that matters is that we can re-download applications again like we used, actually even better now that we can easily switch between iTunes accounts in iPhone OS 3.0.

Thanks Apple for fixing the “bug” that plagued your system!