Apple on Wednesday denied tracking the location of iPhone users amid a growing scandal over a hidden program that stores the data. It was Apple's first response since the program was discovered by a pair of boffins last week.
"Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so," it claimed in a statement. Users "are confused" about the program, which is part of "a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location... to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested."
The company claims the database enables the phone to establish where a user is without relying on GPS signals. Apple says it plans to provide an updated program within the next few weeks to stop it backing up this cache of data and delete it entirely when it is turned off.
Despite the controversy, Apple announced on the same day on its website that the white version of the iPhone 4 will be unveiled in 28 countries around the world including Korea starting Thursday and that sales of the iPad 2 will begin in Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore on Friday.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate plans to hold a hearing around May 10 to discuss privacy issues with mobile communications devices. Also, two iPhone users in Florida have filed a lawsuit against Apple for violating their privacy.