As we reported just yesterday, Apple didn’t take too kindly to El Gato’s “accidental” inclusion of a workaround to enable 3G streaming of live TV on the iPhone using its EyeTV app. The app, combined with an EyeTV USB Mac TV tuner, allows users to stream that content from their computer. I say allows, not allowed, because it’s now back in the App Store for $4.99.
For those who missed the reason why the app was pulled in the first place, El Gato had “accidentally left in” a feature whereby if you click the warning window that tells you Wi-Fi is required for live TV playback, instead of the “OK” button in the window, the dialog would close and streaming would occur over 3G anyway.
El Gato revealed that it had already resubmitted a fixed version when the problem was discovered, and that version has today been approved by Apple and is available for download. This time around, clicking the dialog box has no effect.
Whether it was an Easter egg, meant to pass undetected through Apple’s censors (which seems unlikely, given how easy it was to activate), or whether it was just an accident, the incident reveals that despite AT&T’s recent announcement that voice calls would now be allowed over 3G, that doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all with all types of content.
I still think this needs looking into by a regulatory body. Data is data, and if wireless customers are paying not-insignificant fees in order to be able to use data on their cell phones, they should have the right to choose the nature of that traffic. My plan covers 6GB per month. Who’s to say I don’t want to use five of that on streaming video? I can see cutting me off once I exceed my limit, since I might then be causing undue strain on your network, but if you’ve assigned me 6GB, let me use that however I see fit.
At least Apple is being relatively understanding about the whole thing. It could easily have barred EyeTV from the app store for an extended period, or altogether, in order to punish what could easily be seen an a purposeful attempt to side-step App Store requirements. Instead, it acted quickly when a fix was issued and reintroduced in the app with very little delay following its removal. I think this especially points to the fact that AT&T is really still the one to blame in cases like this.