AMITIAE - Monday 5 August 2013

App Duplication or Cloning: A-Sketch and AA Sketch

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By Graham K. Rogers

AA Sketch A Sketch

Last week I examined three apps that I found that were capable of producing sketch-like output from Photographs: My Sketch, AA Sketch and Camera 4 Line Art. After reviewing those apps, my plan was to look at a few more that had similar output, including a couple I had had in my app collection for a while.

draw To prepare for the next part, I had a look in my iTunes library. I was surprised to see two similar app icons, one marked AA-Sketch and the other A-Sketch. The sketched faces in each app were not the same, but the pencil style was identical, with one pointing down to the left (A-Sketch) and the other a mirror if this (AA Sketch). When installed on the iPhone the text below the icon on both reads "ASketch". I was confused.

I checked the purchase history by accessing my iTunes account and, sure enough, I had bought both ($0.99) at the same time, perhaps when installing on the iPhone and the iPad.

I ran both apps on the iPhone. They were identical in almost every way: start screen; camera and photo library access; filters, textures and save icons. The Sketch filters appeared to be slightly different. AA Sketch had 21 textures (plus no effect), A-Sketch had the same number. The textures appear to be identical.

Sketch Sketch

Textures: AA Sketch (left), A-Sketch (right)

An examination of the information in the iTunes store showed some minor differences.

  • A-Sketch was from a developer with the name Moore Brown. This was also shown as Shu Fangxiong. The app was at version 1.0 with a size of 2.6 MB. The release date was shown as 17 November 2012. Moore Brown are shown as having released a number of other photography-related apps

  • AA Sketch was from Toni Peter. The app was at version 1.0 but with a size of 2.8 MB. The release date was shown as 17 December 2013. This developer also has a number of photography-related apps available.

Neither developer has contact information available, so I was unable to ask the genesis of the respective apps. Whether the apps are duplicates, clones, or the same developer uses more than one name is unknown. With both at the same low price, but doing an identical job, there is a waste of space and one will have to go.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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