In an interview published yesterday in The Wall Street Journal, Apple boss Steve Jobs confirmed that Apple has the ability to remove applications from users’ iPhones. However, he insists, it’s all for the good and would only be used in extreme circumstances – if, for example, the company inadvertently sold a malicious program through it’s App Store.
"Hopefully, we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull," he told the newspaper.
Rumors about such a program had been circulating since hacker Jonathan Zdziarski discovered something in the iPhone that checks in with an Apple web page to see if any applications should be removed, according to Information Week. Until the WSJ interview Apple had refused to discuss the matter, which had raised concerns among privacy advocates.
Apple hasn’t used its power yet, but it has pulled some apps from its store, notably Nullriver’s NetShare, which allowed the iPhone to Web access to a PC, and I Am Rich, which cost $999.99 and simply displayed a glowing red gem. But, Jobs said, the App Store has been a great success, selling over $30 million in software, and with over 60 million apps downloaded.