Feeds

Apple shovels admin iPhoneware onto PCs

Nefarious plot or brainless cock-up?

Top three mobile application threats

Apple shot itself in its Software Update foot - again - by briefly offering an enterprise-level utility through its Windows update service.

Apple has since pulled the errant and thoroughly unnecessary software from the updater, but its brief inclusion left many - including The Reg - scratching their heads in puzzlement.

The utility in question was the iPhone Configuration Utility (PDF), which is used by sysadmins to "easily create, encrypt and install configuration profiles" for corporate iPhone users, controlling such features as VPN access, passcodes, Exchange settings, and the like.

The iPCU is clearly not something that a run-of-the-mill Windows user would have any need for. But if you fired up Apple Software Update on your PC recently, it was ready and waiting for your downloading pleasure.

And then on Monday afternoon, it was gone.

This oddity was first brought to our attention by Ed Bott over at Cnet, who noted that the iPCU was listed as an update - version 2.1 - and not in the updater's New Software list. Odder still, seeing as how Bott didn't have iPCU on his PC in the first place.

A simple mistake by an overworked Apple minion, right? Most likely. But it's interesting to note that Bott was told by another blogger that installing iPCU also installs the Apache web server. "So if I install this update I suddenly have a web server running on my PC? Yikes," he writes.

We, however, have been unable to confirm or deny this claim - finding only a brief blog posting from a PC user who writes "Just checked, and there’s no Apache process (just an iPCU.exe) when running the app."

On our Mac running Mac OS 10.6.1, by the way, Activity Monitor shows that firing up iPCU doesn't launch Apache (httpd) - which, by the way, has been included with Mac OS X from the beginning.

Apache or no Apache, Apple's inclusion of iPCU as an "update" is another embarrassment for Cupertino, which has shoveled software onto PCs in the past. Remember, for example, how ticked off Mozilla CEO John Lilly was when Software Update for Windows defaulted to a Safari download last March. Or - again according to Bott - how Apple slipped some surreptitious software into its iTunes 8 for Windows update of last September.

From where we sit, this latest gaff appears to be in the same class as Apple's original Safari for Windows silliness, when the EULA for that PC browser only allowed you to run it on "a single Apple-labeled computer."

In other words, just a dumb mistake by someone who, as Ricky would say to Lucy, "has some 'splainin' to do." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.