A few short weeks ago we wrote about the App Store being one huge joke after a simple update to Tweetie was mysteriously rejected for ostensible violations of Apple’s App Store policies. It should come as no surprise to see the geniuses at Apple displaying another stunning example of their utter incompetence to properly manage the App Store yet again.
Baby Shaker, an application designed to simulate shaking a crying baby, somehow made it through the approval process and landed smack dab in the middle of the App Store and controversy. The point of the app is to make the baby stop crying by shaking your iPhone really hard. If successful, the baby stops crying and two red X’s are placed over the baby’s eyes, seemingly to imply the baby has died!
The Baby Shaker sales pitch accompanying the App Store page stated the following:
“See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!”
Yes, you read that correctly – someone actually took time to develop an application designed to simulate murdering an infant. And more importantly, Apple initially condoned the sale of this application before realizing the error of its ways. Is there a better way to demonstrate how awfully out of whack Apple is handling the App Store than their approving such an blatantly appalling app?
One has to wonder how Baby Shaker was accepted through Apple’s Orwellian approval process. For the life of me I cannot understand how any competent reviewer on planet Earth would reject Tweetie but allow an app designed to simulate shaking a baby to death to be accepted for sale. What perverse world do we live in?
Apple did the right thing and removed Baby Shaker from the App Store after receiving enough complaints about the ill-conceived application. After doing so, InformationWeek spoke to an Apple spokesperson who issued one of their standard insightful comments when the company is knee-deep in a shit storm.
“This app is deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store,” an Apple spokeswoman told InformationWeek. “We sincerely apologize for this mistake.”
She declined to discuss whether the incident indicated that the company’s approval process was less than foolproof and in need of review. “We do have a process and this was a mistake,” she said. “I don’t have any comment beyond that.”
These incidents are going to continue to happen and with increasing frequency over the coming months. The more chinks in Apple’s App Store armor, the more developers will try to exploit the incompetency of the approval process, malicious or otherwise. At some point this is all going to come to a head and Apple is going to lose.
This begs a bigger question: is it time for Apple to open up iPhone software sales, downloads and installation to third parties? Why are iPhone and iPod Touch consumers limited to Apple’s App Store and their obvious incompetence? For all the good the App Store brings there are incidents like Baby Shaker that make you wonder if Apple can remain competent enough to manage their own App Store.
Considering the popularity and increasing ubiquity of the iPhone, why not just open up software installation on the iPhone like it is on OS X? Consumers should not be forced to stick with the App Store, especially when Apple continues to display utter ineptitude.
I love my iPhone to death but it’s moments like these that make me wonder what the hell Apple is thinking. Although I will continue to download apps from the App Store, I yearn for a day when consumers can install apps on their iPhone in a similar manner to a Mac. Somehow I get the feeling hell may freeze over before such a day arrives.