While Apple (AAPL) has become looser about the kinds of software it lets into its iPhone/iPod touch App Store, it’s still using subjective, unpublished qualifications for some applications.
For instance, while Apple recently allowed apps that make fart noises into the store — which have been tremendously popular and profitable for some developers — it’s still rejecting some apps based on taste.
- Legendary game developer Yoot Saito, famous for “Sim Tower” and “Seaman,” had his app “Gabo” rejected by Apple because the company deemed an anatomically correct cave man “unpleasant.” (See video below.)
- CNET’s David Carnoy wrote a book called Knife Music last year, which Apple rejected for containing “objectionable content” — a couple four-letter words beginning with F. Carnoy censored his book and Apple recently approved it for sale in the App Store. (Observers note that this is odd given the vast number of iTunes songs and movies Apple sells that are full of bad language, violence, etc.)
Apple has every right to do this. It’s their platform and their App Store. We’re fine with that. (And perhaps “Gabo” would even get approved under the new, post-fart-app rules, if Saito submitted it before the change.)
But we wish Apple would be more transparent — perhaps posting a sort of “seven dirty words” guidelines — and more consistent. For example, if Apple is rejecting “Gabo” because it has a nude cartoon in it, it seems odd that Apple allowed Joost’s video app into iTunes, which was full of videos of nude (real) women.
We figure Apple will eventually work out these kinks. And we doubt problems like this have made the App Store less of a success. But we still think Apple would win more goodwill with programmers — and perhaps more investment over rival platforms — if they worked on bring more transparent about the App Store approval process.