When Apple took to the stage to announce iTunes 11 we were pumped, then we were confused, and now we feel pretty bad for the team over at Sonora. By the looks and sounds of it, iTunes 11 has quite a few similarities to Sonora, a third-party music app for OS X.
Many of the features, including an album artwork view (Sonora’s only view), queueing, and track overlays have now been adopted and implemented by Apple in iTunes 11. Taking to his blog, Indragie Karunaratne published a brief state of the union for Sonora, and what he plans on doing with the application:
[quote]Regardless of whether Apple drew inspiration from Sonora or not, the fact that iTunes 11 shares much in common with Sonora makes us happy that the vision Tyler and I built Sonora upon is the same vision that Apple’s talented and much larger design team chose to pursue… As for what will happen to Sonora, what we can say is that we have no plans to let Sonora die, and if there is further opportunity for innovation, we will pursue it. If we decide that it is not in our best interests to continue to maintain it ourselves, we will hand over control to the community who will continue our work and empower our little app with innovation on a scale that even iTunes doesn’t have. Once iTunes 11 is available to the public, we will decide where we want to go with it and we’ll be sure to let everyone know of our decision.[/quote]
Sonora’s getting the raw deal, but then again, this isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last that Apple’s borrowed heavily from an independent developer for one of its apps (see: iBooks and Delicious Library, Hipchat Versus Messages). In fact, the practice has even resulted in a new slang term for getting your ideas and features borrowed by Apple. It’s pretty obvious that Sonora was just Sherlocked, and while the term is funny in and of itself, the practice isn’t funny at all. In fact, this is the kind of thing that Apple’s fighting with Samsung about right now.
If Apple did, in fact, lift Sonora’s concepts, it’s pretty disgusting that they’ll sue Samsung for a billion dollars for patent infringement then turn around and do this to an independent developer.