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Phone Story app critiques iPhone lifecycle, gets yanked (Updated)


It's not every day that we see an iPhone app which serves as an indictment of the entire consumer electronics ecosystem, but it's even rarer that such an app would show up on the App Store only to promptly disappear again.

Developed by Molleindustria, the Phone Story game combines economics, politics and environmental awareness with play. The 8-bit inspired graphics trace the origins of our electronic devices from the coltan mines of the Congo to the labor conditions in Chinese factories. The tale ends in the West, where our desire for the latest gadgets drives a cycle of innovation, obsolescence and e-waste. If the story sounds familiar, that's not an accident.

Phone Story made its way into the App Store early today, but a tweet by Molleindustria confirms the 99-cent app, like other controversial apps, has been quickly pulled without explanation by Apple. We've reached out to Molleindustria to find out why Apple used the ban hammer on this politically charged app. As our commenters point out below, it may well be the use of the Apple brand that tipped the scales (that's not allowed), but in that case one wonders why the app was approved in the first place.

Update: The developers have posted their rejection notice. Crude content, abusive portrayal of children, and two infractions of rules covering charitable donations in-app which actually don't seem to apply.

Hat tip to Daniel Sieradski.

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