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Apple approves its first BitTorrent app

Image used with permission by copyright holder

In what appears to be a reversal of policy, Apple has allowed the first BitTorrent app into the App Store.

Known as IS Drive, it is live in the App store  for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Apple had previously denied such fire sharing applications due to the fact they can be used for illegal file sharing. Apple’s concerns centered around not wanting its own music sales to be cannibalized by free competitors of questionable legitimacy.

IS Drive is linked to ImageShack.us and allows users to check and manage downloads from the site. ImageShack.us has a variety of services including image hosting, photo sharing and video sharing as well as access to BitTorrent.

IS Drive isn’t the first application that Apple has unexpectedly let through the gates after previously denying. This seems to mark a larger change in Apple’s reversal of direction with regards to the App Store. Recently, they allowed Google Voice to enter the App Store, having previously denied the Internet giant access.

While IS Drive is new to the App Store, it has been widely available for through Cydia, the unofficial app store for jailbroken phones, where it was sold under the name of Jack Torrents.

It is possible that IS Drive slipped through the review process through some careful wording. Derek Kepner, the developer behind IS Drive told TorrentFreak, ““I always had the thought that if I didn’t call the app a ‘torrent client,’ Apple would probably let it through the review process. The app doesn’t use the words “torrent” or “BitTorrent” at all, and it’s simply a download manager.”

Whether or not IS Drive slipped through the cracks, Kepner seems intent on making sure the application is used for legitimate purposes, “I’ll probably add a search feature where it’s up to the user to manually add the torrent site they want. The app will not be designed to easily break the law and I hope no one intends to do so. But if a user is determined to break the law, what business is that of mine or Apple’s? They could do the same in Safari anyway, right?”

IS Drive costs $4.99 in the App Store and requires iOS 4.0 to run. The ImageShack service requires an additional paid subscription.

Laura Khalil
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Laura is a tech reporter for Digital Trends, the editor of Dorkbyte and a science blogger for PBS. She's been named one of…
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