Following a day-long eruption of protest on Twitter and in blogs, on Wednesday afternoon Apple removed an app from the App Store that allowed iPhone and iPod touch users to shake a picture of a baby to stop it from crying. The Baby Shaker app, which was posted for sale for 99 cents on Monday, is just another head-scratching example of apps approved by Apple for inclusion in the App Store when other seemingly innocuous apps are held for months, or rejected.
The app can no longer be found in the App Store, but curious readers can find a screen shot in CNET coverage and even a video on YouTube. The app, published by Sikalosoft, which also offers an image mosaic creator app called Dice Mosaic, featured shaded line drawings and lifelike recordings of a baby's cry. The app's listing encouraged users to "See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!"
Apple later apologized for allowing the Baby Shaker app through.
Adam was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on the topic; reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane focused on the risks that Apple runs in acting as a gatekeeper for the App Store. Similar situations could crop up, as apps continue to be developed that fall on one side or another of any controversial issue. It will be interesting to see how Apple deals with such situations, or if the company eventually moves to a "common carrier" approach in which the App Store is open to all comers.