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Apple app vs DJI. Anyone seen this?

Discussion in 'News' started by QuadGrandad, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. QuadGrandad

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    Copied this from another board..

    Last edited by jwight In 2015-1-14 15:25 Editor
    (Background: I'm an iPhone app developer and have been making iOS apps since the iOS AppStore opened. I don't have my Inspire-1 yet - should be here Thursday.)
    (Copy of this post here as a backup: https://gist.github.com/schwa/1122ddbe351535be419c)
    tl;dr DJI is distributing the DJI Pilot app using a mechanism that Apple does not authorise and they risk Apple "kill switching" the software.
    Over the last few days I've been checking the iOS AppStore to see if the DJI Pilot app was available on it so I can install and try it out before I get my quadcopter. I found nothing, despite seeing YouTube videos from Inspire-1 owners who were definitely running the app on their iPad. This made me wonder why - when I realised the app receives video directly from the controller via the USB/Lightning cable. This is _not_ an iOS feature currently available to developers who want to release on the AppStore. (with the conspicuous exception of the “Duet Display” app - more on that later)
    This made me realise that DJI must be distributing the app under an Enterprise certificate and not with an AppStore certificate that we developers normally use to distribute apps on the AppStore. I noticed a link to the app in the Inspire manual and after a little bit of cheating (it required that I enter my Inspire S/N which I dont have yet) I managed to download the app and inspect it to confirm that it indeed was signed using an Enterprise profile: (see screenshot herehttps://www.dropbox.com/s/6n55dpj0vm7ccc1/Screenshot%202015-01-13%2021.37.45.png?dl=0 )
    Quick background: individuals and companies who want to sell (or give away) apps on the AppStore sign up for the iOS Developer program and are able to build and distribute apps using AppStore certicates. As part of this program they submit apps for review to Apple, who make sure the app is following all the rules (and not say, receiving video via USB). One of the limitations is that AppStore developers cannot just distribute the app to whoever they like (with the exception of a small number of beta testers) - everyone must go via the AppStore to install the app.
    Enterprise program members, on the other hand are not limited by the same rules. They can make apps that anyone can install on their devices without going through the AppStore. And also - because they bypass the AppStore - these apps can do things that Apple would not normally allow. This is how the DJI Pilot app is able to receive video directly over the USB/Lightning cable. The catch, and this is the dealbreaker - is that these Enterprise apps can ONLY be distributed to members of the enterprise in question.
    In fact this is spelt out quite clearly on the main Apple Enterprise Program page (https://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise/): "Get tools and resources for developing proprietary, in-house iOS apps that you can distribute to your employees". The DJI Pilot app is NOT in-house and is NOT being distributed to just DJI employees. (This, of course, described legally and very verbosely in the actual Enterprise program terms and conditions).
    So all this would really be none of our business if not for the fact that Apple can decide at will to revoke DJI’s Enterprise certificate and stop everyone (you, me and all Inspire users) from using the app. They can, in effect, pull a remote “kill switch” that will disable the App. Because DJI is breaking their Enterprise agreement with Apple, Apple is more than within their rights to do this. In fact Apple has in the past done exactly this to other enterprises that have pulled the same trick (see for example: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/02/19/gba4ios-game-boy-emulator/)
    Will Apple do this? Personally I doubt it - DJI isn’t doing anything malicious, and to be quite honest the iPad controlled Inspire looks great for Apple too. Can Apple do this? Definitely. Is Apple within their rights to do this? Again, definitely. Will this mean your $3000 drone will suddenly have a large part of its functionality rendered useless? Yes.
    So if Apple was to do this what could DJI do? They’d have to remove functionality that was unavailable to them if they were to release it on the AppStore (e.g. video over USB/Lightning).
    But I bet a lot of Inspire users would go out and buy a Nexus ? immediately though.
    You may be wondering why DJI is breaking their agreement with Apple and releasing the App like this? Again it comes down to video over USB/Lightning. As mentioned this is not something that AppStore apps can usually do. And I believe DJI either tried to get DJI Pilot on the AppStore and failed (perhaps asking Apple for an exception for this feature) or decided to bypass the issue completely and went straight for the Enterprise release.
    In the last couple of weeks an app receiving video via USB/Lightning has appeared on the AppStore: “Duet Display” (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/duet-display/id935754064?mt=8) allows you to use an iPad as a second monitor for your Mac - and it transmits video from the Mac via USB/Lightning. As all developers up to now thought that technique was off-limits this naturally caused a lot of controversy: https://medium.com/@mronge/apple-is-usb-allowed-now-8da959394e82
    Now that this precedent has been set it MIGHT be possible for DJI to go with the AppStore route. And I really hope that DJI are trying as hard as they can to get the DJI Pilot app released this way.
    If they’re not - then I hope bringing this issue into the open will help pressure them into at least trying this route.
    If attempts to get DJI Pilot onto the AppStore fail then I think it’s useful for all Inspire-1 and iOS users are aware of this situation and know that DJI is playing rather “fast and loose” with their customer’s purchases.
     
    MenaceCat, jon b and GenesisKnight like this.
  2. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Yes - I'm surprised more people haven't picked up on this. Especially since so many people have jumped into the iPad/IPad mini camp and now run the risk of it being useless to use with the Inspire!

    Must say.... Typical of DJI though and what we have come to expect from them.

    Of course any reference to this article will disappear from their Facebook page in the next few minutes once the sphinter police at DJI see it !!
     
  3. Quadpilot

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    It's been posted on DJI's Forum on the Inspire page. Don't know about their FB page. Thorough explanation of the issue, but it's old news. Known since December. Stay tuned.
     
  4. Diirk

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    Great research. I wouldn't be surprised if DJI are in direct contact with Apple about this and that Apple green-lighted Enterprise app for customers as an exception and that Apple are currently looking into making an Apple Store exception as well, but that it takes time.

    I'd say there is a very low possibility of Apple revoking the Enterprise license as they would hurt themselves massively. If anything, I would not be surprised if Apple changed their rules because of the DJI Pilot app.

    Lot of assumptions here, but I am in direct contact with Apple as a part of my job (I manage an app) and they are reasonable people. They will make exceptions for cases like these. They've made exceptions with the app I manage as well.
     
    DjiQuadzilla likes this.
  5. Mike Meyer

    Mike Meyer Guest

    Much of what you guys are talking about is totally above my head. I bought an I Pad Air specifically for my Inspire which I am receiving Friday. I have read hundreds of posts and articles stating that the I Pad is fine for the Inspire...for the app and to monitor flight. Am I out of luck here? What is the deal with this? Thanks?
     
  6. DK42

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    IMO if DJI were going to submit it to Apple it would have been done by now. DJI have other apps available from the App Store, why not the Pilot App? Is it that unstable? There will be a lot of unhappy people that purchased an iOS platform if apple blocks the app. The ball is in DJI court and I hope they do the right thing
     
  7. Mike Meyer

    Mike Meyer Guest

    How is it that several people are using the Inspire with Apple devices? I pads, Mini I pads, etc... I had no idea that this would be an issue? I bought my I Pad Air specifically for use with my Inspire, based on information published by DJI and others...what the Heck?
     
  8. Mike Meyer

    Mike Meyer Guest

    So am I okay with my I Pad Air? I don't really care if this app is not on Apples App store or whatever...I just want to be confident that the app will work and I can monitor my flights well with my I Pad Air. Thanks for you help.
     
  9. Mike Meyer

    Mike Meyer Guest

    Thanks...enough to take in as it is making sure I'm up to speed on the Inspire, etc.
     
  10. DK42

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    Why should an exception be made for the pilot app. DJI have other apps available from the app store. is the iOS app that unstable to submit it to apple?
     
  11. DK42

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    Is that a hacked app?
     
  12. rilot

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    It's not a hacked app. If you READ the original post it explains it all. DJI are releasing the app via a method that is not approved by Apple. The reason is because of the video over lightning functionality which is functionality that Apple does not allow. DJI have done it anyway and released via their enterprise account which they are technically not allowed to do.
    There is no hacking involved, it is just that DJI cannot release on the official app store because it does things that Apple don't allow.

    Personally, I don't give a stuff how they release it as long as they support it if Apple pull the plug.
     
    DustyVisor and wattage like this.
  13. DK42

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    The reason I asked is because it doesn't ask for a sn.
     
  14. BaldEagle

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    I am very appreciative that Quadgd provided this information. It is something I would have never found out on my own and it is important to me. When I choose to make an investment in a product, I make certain assumption on functionality. I assumed the I1 worked with an iPad and will always work with an iPad. I actually bought an ipad Air 2 specifically for my Inspire 1. So I made an additional investment based on assumed functionality with the iPad. If DJI chose to circumvent certain legalities, at a minimum, it would be fair to the consumer to disclose that. I bet you that the reason that the iOS app is not a "1.xxx" is because of that. Maybe it is safer to leave it in the "beta" format because to put it out as official "1.x", consumers might have the right to take them to task if Apple chose to block USB to iPad video.

    Regardless, I think that if Apple blocked USB to Apple products, we have a right to be disappointed because DJI did not disclose that they basically were not transparent about it all. I don't know all the legalities of what an "Enterprise" is, but I assume a consumer is not included in an Enterprise.
     
  15. Morgon

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    No, DJI's gateway just sends you to the file location when it validates the SN. If you know that path, then you don't get the gateway.

    ---

    Anyway, DJI could probably make some argument that we were part of their community to fulfill the "Enterprise" clause, but that's pretty shaky. Apple has done some stupid moves in the past, but this is a completely different class of risk vs reward for them.

    It's clear that the tech is there and available, and with the Duet app being provided on the App Store, there's hope that this will be given the green light.
     
  16. jonathanivy

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    Maybe this is why the App is still in version "0.9" as long as they stay in "beta" they can distribute it through this channel. or at least maybe this is how DJI justifies it.
     
  17. dronie

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    Maybe Apple has killed the app due to DJI's violation of the agreement of Enterprise terms. DJI just removed the iOS app from their downloads section. Not good. Let's hope for the best, and that you did not purchase an iPad just for your Inspire.
     
  18. QuadGrandad

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    This mess just keeps growing, like mopping up mud.. Does anyone have more current info, ( later time stamp) about this? My hope is that the app has been removed until DJI gets it to work correctly. I cannot believe they would risk losing the thousands of ipad/apple users over this. They have to have a legal team. They have promoted using apple products since the first Phantom, with Android being almost a secondary consideration. I did buy an Air2 just for this purpose. I still have 10 days to return it ( not opened yet). My inspire arrives Monday. The Chinese certainly practice foggy communications, but DJI would not sabotage such a large percentage of its business. And I (hopefully) doubt Apple would shut down the opportunity to do the same.
    I will sit and wait.
     
  19. Mike Meyer

    Mike Meyer Guest

    I have heard nothing about this app not being available! I just got my Inspire, unpacked it, started charging the batteries and went on DJI website to download the app for my I PadAir....which I bought for my Inspire...and get a message that the app is not available and they are working on it...WHAT?

    This is really too much. Does anyone know what is going on? Again...nothing from my dealer about this...nothing from DJI.

    I've got $4,500 into this with everything!

    HELP!
     
  20. Tahoe Ed

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    This is DJI HQ official response:

    Here is the official reply HQ drafted:
    1、IOS app download:
    Thank you very much for your support and patience. We are extremely sorry to say that the DJI-Pilot App has been delayed for iOS devices. DJI is working hard on this to push the approval process through with Apple and will keep you informed of any of our progress.
    Currently we provide Android App for you to use. The recommended devices are as below: Samsung S4, S5, Note 3, P900 tablet, Sony Z3 EXPERIA, Google Nexus 7 II, Mi 3, Nubia Z7 mini.
    Thank you, and sorry again about the delay.
    2、Non GPS mode issue:
    Actually it is not GPS problem. DJI adds more critical standard to compass checking in latest firmware, it will switch to NON-GPS mode when compass data is abnormal during flight. You can judge from the LED of aircraft, RED and YELLOW. For GPS signal, trust the GPS icon in APP.
    3. IMU bug:
    The issue is believed to be caused by the accelerometer got shocked during transportation. And once powered on, it will give false data, thus the craft will drift to one side rapidly. The new FW .16 should fixed this issue.
    4. Prop shooting:
    It can be caused by different reasons: un-tightened props, sand in motor, strong wind and etc. DJI is releasing new accessories to lock the prop to prevent the prop from losing. Meanwhile, please make sure the prop are securely tightened before flight. And minimize the flight if possible.
    Thank you