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News

Apple Deletes Baby Shaker App

Apple has removed an iPhone app called Baby Shaker from the App Store, likely in response to widespread outrage across the Internet. Company spokeswoman Natalie Kerris confirmed with Canwest News Service on Wednesday that it was taken down, but she would not comment further.

Baby Shaker encouraged the user to shake their device to stop a baby from crying. When they succeeded, red X's appeared over the baby's eyes. The app was created by a company called Sikalosoft, which does not seem to have a web site.

13 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Tiger said:

Yet the major news networks have been openly attributing the app as one of Apple’s, NOT made by a third party. No mention of Sikalosoft.

The state of journalism today is awful.

As for the app incident, it was dumb, it slipped under the radar, but then again, so much slips under peoples radar these days. It’s information overload. Fortunately, removing it was quick and easy.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings) said:

Chairman Mao would be proud.

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Brad Cook said:

Because a private sector decision is the same as government censorship?

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brett_x said:

No, Brad, because they had used red X’s.

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Brad Cook said:

Oh, right. My son’s high school has red as one of its colors. Maybe I should report them to the McCarthy Society.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings) said:

I’m still pissed off about the South Park app. You know, with a little graphics help, one could whip up a web version of the Baby Shaker in a couple days. And then the Jerry Falwell wannabes at the People’s Republic of Apple couldn’t do a damned thing about it. Or, if the developers were really inspired, they could make a version for the MacBook Pro and use its built-in accelerometer to shake the baby on 15” and 17” screens. Yeah, it’s tasteless, but anyone with half a brain knows that this app is in bad taste, not a threat to civilization.

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Brad Cook said:

I wonder how the Jerry Falwell wannabes at Apple feel about the fact that the company offers domestic partner benefits and contributed money to the No on Prop 8 campaign. Also, Al Gore sits on the board of directors, which must be tough for anyone who aspires to be like Falwell.

I think everyone agrees that the app was in bad taste. The question was, how did it slip through the approvals process, since Apple says it is vetting apps according to certain criteria?

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geoduck said:

Personally it does not bother me that the App was pulled. Something that crass should not have been approved in the first place.  The alternative would be for Apple to let anything that didn’t break the system or carry malware in. Personally I think that would detract from the appeal of the AppStore. Imagine if Target didn’t restrict what they carry. How about a shelf of sex toys next to the baby products. Logically they would be connected. But Target knows its cliental would be put off by that sort of product. Similarly I have no problem with Apple trying to have some standards of what they will and won’t let in their store. If Apple is going to look at each app I do wish they would have a clear set of rules that both the developers and those responsible for approving or denying the apps could follow. Right now it appears to be somewhat haphazard.

Apple is a private company and I have no problem with them having final say as to what is sold in their own store.

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ctopher said:

I agree that Apple should never have let this into the App store. What I disagree with is the inability to load software any other way. If someone wants to make a tasteless game (GTA anyone?) their customers should be able to play it without tainting Apple’s image.

I can add songs to my iPod that I didn’t buy on iTunes. Why can’t I download crap from a web site and then import it into my iPhone or iPod Touch?

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings) said:

geoduck, Look, I am as staunch a believer in private property as anyone. Apple most certainly has the right to decide what is sold in their store. I would be happy to let the President send other people’s kids off to war to defend that right. Just as I don’t want a court to send Charlie Lynch to jail today for selling weed to 17 year old cancer patient, I would not want a court to tell Apple that they must accept the South Park app or the Baby Shaker app. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with Apple’s decision. And it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t prefer if Apple made it possible for non approved apps to appear on the platform. After-all, there is the iPod Touch side of the platform that does not have the same network security concerns as iPhone.

And to really confuse everyone here, I have never, don’t currently, and would never support jailbreaking. I think that the right method to route around Apple’s censorship just hasn’t materialized yet. But when it does, I will be totally on board and rooting it on. Maybe it will be the Flash player. That would be pretty frakking awesome smile.

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Mikuro said:

I have to agree with Bosco.

From Apple’s perspective, I understand it completely. Rightly or wrongly, THEY are the ones who have to deal with bad press. THEY are the ones who are held responsible for every little thing. They’re the ones who will be boycotted by this or that humorless closed-minded group if something is deemed offensive.

That doesn’t change anything about the user’s perspective, which is that an open system is better than a closed system. We don’t want everything that is not 100% normal and mainstream to be categorically banned. We don’t need Apple to play nanny for us. We’re big boys and girls.

What kind of effect does this have on developers of bigger games? Do they shy away from developing games with any kind of political message or dark humor for fear of having their work rejected after they’ve already invested thousands of hours into it? I know I would. Is that the kind of culture that benefits the users or the platform (or if you want to be big-picture about it, society at large)? I think not.

I hope Apple changes their policy, and I actually expect them to at some point. Ever since the iPhone was first released, Apple has been slowly repurposing it. At first no third-party apps were available. I’m pretty sure Apple intended to change that right from the get-go, but they didn’t want that to be what people (and the press) focused on. But until Apple actually DOES change the policy, it’s something that should be criticized.

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geoduck said:

“That doesn?t change anything about the user?s perspective, which is that an open system is better than a closed system. We don?t want everything that is not 100% normal and mainstream to be categorically banned. We don?t need Apple to play nanny for us. We?re big boys and girls.”

True for you, me and Bosco. Unfortunately the majority of people seem to want someone to ‘protect’ them from doing something stupid or seeing something they might find offensive. For example;

http://wcco.com/education/birthday.treats.ban.2.992033.html

There is a cultural abrogation of responsibility for ones own behavior that make Apple’s actions necessary. Personally I’d like to see the app store allow much more stuff and at many more price points. I believe though that it would adversely impact Apple’s bottom line. Even if Apple created an Adult Zone for 18+ only I think they’d get roasted by the neo-puritans.

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Tiger said:

With a few exceptions here and there, Apple has decided on a calculated risk to take the high road and limit offensive material. Call it a family friendly environment. A Disney like atmosphere. The cold, harsh world is filled with enough violence, filth, and negativity. So, if as a company, they choose a policy for their image that shies away from that, that is their choice and the service they offer to the customer.

As the customer or a developer, I can choose to live within that realm since I know the rules going in. While some may call it Draconian, it’s a misuse of the term. Apple is not the only game in town. In fact, as RIMM, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, etc., like to point out, they have LOTS of options to the iPhone and seem very willing to open up their devices to all sorts of apps that run the gamut.

So, it in fact is the opposite of a cultural abrogation of responsibility. Apple is offering the customer a responsible choice in the marketplace. Not every company has to pander to those who live their life in the red light district. In fact, since that’s a minority of the populace, Apple’s decision seems all the more intelligent!

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