PC World’s coverage of 10 rejected apps was meant to shed light on the iPhone app developer’s dilemma: Is there any way to know whether a pet project stands a chance of approval in the App Store in advance? That way, time and money wouldn’t have to be spent on creating an app, only to receive a rejection notice.
It’s a good question. And the issue has upset plenty of emerging developers. But c’mon! At least some of these guys HAD to know their pet projects would be slated for the “reject” pile.
I think someone at PC World had a sense of humor and was just looking for an excuse to run this list. But judge for yourself. You can read the whole article here. Or if you’d rather skim through, here’s the list in a nutshell:
- Obama Trampoline: The game challenged user to pop onscreen balloons — by tossing politicians at them via trampoline.
- MyShoe: Remember the infamous George W. Bush/shoe-throwing incident? A developer from Pakistan made a game where users can hurl footwear at different public figures (including W).
- I Am Poor: Puts images of Ramen noodles, tuna, and mac and cheese on your home screen. That’s about it.
- The South Park App: SP fans could’ve had a pretty easy way to get episode clips, news, wallpapers and other show-related stuff via this app. But Apple said the content was potentially offensive (and yet, says the article, the TV show is available in the iTunes store. Hmmm…)
- Pull My Finger: Hey, wait. Why is this on the list? The flatulence emulator is already in the App Store.
- iBoobs: Well, what can you say about this one? Users have missed out on jiggling the virtual iBoobs to their hearts’ content. The developer argued that an episode of Baywatch was far more revealing than this little app. (Ah yes, the old Baywatch defense. Someday, censorship attorneys everywhere will be required to study Pamela Anderson…)
- Slasher: It got approved, then yanked a day later. The app displayed a kitchen knife and emitted a scream when a user shook it. (Apparently, an app that lets user wield a virtual broken bottle is okay, though, because that one’s already sitting in the App Store.)
- Murderdrome: The digital comic was snubbed because it was not kid-friendly. (And yet, broken bottles are okay?) I’m with the developer on this one: “Apple should really extend their ratings system for games onto the other applications that the App Store has,” says comic creator PJ Holden. As it is now, he wonders if genuine artists will end up being discouraged from the platform.
- Podcaster: Apparently, this app’s sin is being too good at competing with iTunes. Users can listen to their favorite podcasts, as well as download them right to the phone. (It’s gone to the darkside now, for jailbreakers only.)
- Freedom Time: Billed as a presidential countdown clock, Freedom Time would’ve tracked the previous administration’s final moments down to 0. It’s a mute point now, but I know plenty of people who would’ve loved this app not too long ago.
So there you have it. It seems that the biggest peeve of these developers is that rejections and approvals seem to be happening arbitrarily. (Before Apple can distribute guidelines in advance, it would actually have to have some, right?)
Since we end users are the ones who will ultimately benefit, I do hope the process becomes easier for app developers. But I’m not holding my breath. Apple hasn’t exactly had a big track record for transparency. And I’m not sure that the makers of iBoobs or Freedom Timer are the catalytic visionaries necessary to get the company to change its mind now.