In a new article by The Verge app developer Kosta Eleftheriou tells how Apple “Sherlocked” his keyboard Flicktype for the new Apple Watch Series 7, which was presented on Tuesday.
The term “Sherlocked” comes from when Apple released Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar which had a new version of the search engine Sherlock which had very similarities to the Watson program from Karelia Software. Other examples are Launchbar which imitated Alfred and Notes which imitated Evernote.
According to Kosta Eleftheriou, Apple’s keyboard manager even commented on Flicktype that “Apple should buy it from you” and that the keyboard “could be a key function for the watch”.
The same evening that Kosta Eleftheriou had contact with the keyboard manager, he instead received a message from Apple where the company said that they had decided that keyboard apps for Apple Watch were now not allowed, so Flicktype would be removed from the App Store. However, Kosta Eleftheriou suspects that his app was treated differently when both the Shift Keyboard app and partner apps, which even contained Kosta Eleftherious’ keyboard technology, were allowed to remain on the App Store.
In a later comment to The Verge, Apple says that they initially did not want a keyboard that took up the entire screen of the Apple Watch but changed later.
However, Flicktype initially continued to be rated by the App Store before it was finally approved in January 2020. The app then became a sales success. As a result, Kosta Eleftheriou chose six months ago to sue Apple for financial damages as a result of the app’s treatment. He also accuses the company of treating Flicktype differently as a way of trying to get him to sell it cheaply to Apple. Since January 2019, Kosta Eleftheriou has also been in talks with Apple who were interested in buying Flicktype.
The latest twist in history is that in connection with this week’s Apple event, September 14, Apple showed off the Apple Watch Series 7 together with a brand new keyboard that is very similar to Flicktype.
Kosta Eleftheriou has commented on it all via Twitter with that: “So now we know. See you in court”.
How much this will affect his lawsuit is currently unknown. Kosta Eleftheriou has been advised by his lawyer not to say too much.