Update: According to news.com.au, Apple has issued an official apology for letting this app onto the store.
Sometimes, you really have to question the App Store approval process.
Sure, this isn't the first time that Apple has made an unwise decision regarding the approval (or lack thereof) of applications to the App Store. But, this one takes the cake. For the span of a few hours on Wednesday, Apple allowed the release of "Baby Shaker," an app from Slkalosoft (ironically, the company no longer has the app listed on its site). The application displayed an image of a crying infant. You had to shake the iPhone or iPod touch repeatedly in order to get the child to stop crying -- literally shaking the baby to death. When the crying ceased and two red Xs appeared over the baby's eyes, you succeeded.
There's plenty of criticism over App Store standards. You can find a plethora of fart-simulating apps and other programs designed just to be a sheer nuisance, yet legitimate apps such as Tweetie get caught up in the pipeline because of potentially offensive language. "Baby Shaker" quickly hit a lot of news sites, and it didn't bode too well for an Apple doing its best to spotlight its second quarter earnings.
App Store approval is already something that is cumbersome and vague at best -- often leaving developers in limbo as to the status of their product. "Baby Shaker" certainly isn't the first dubious piece of software released into the App Store, but it is by far the worst. Even though Apple did yank "Baby Shaker" within a couple of hours, it does leave a nasty taste in people's mouths. It means that somewhere, somehow, there was a failure to communicate to employees that releasing an application promoting infanticide is a moronically stupid move. I do wonder how long "Baby Shaker" would have remained in the App Store if the media suddenly hadn't jumped on the story. What do you think this latest situation says about the App Store process? Let us know in the comments.
UPDATE: Apple has apologized for the app's release. [thanks to Paul for the tip]