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Top 5 Free Apps

Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: May 22, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: August 29, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: March 27, 2009
Release Date: August 07, 2009

iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
Release Date: September 20, 2009
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Genre: Rock
Release Date: August 25, 2009

Top 5 Paid Apps

Release Date: April 22, 2009
StickWars $0.99
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Genre: Games
Bloons $0.99
Release Date: April 05, 2009
Genre: Games

Discover New Music

  • One Word Extinguisher

    • 8 out of 10
    • Prefuse 73
    • It's an album about a breakup, done with beats instead of mopey lyrics. But the beats are raw, and the emotions are there, even if there aren't many words on top of it. While possibly not Scott Herren
  • Suspended Animation

    • 8 out of 10
    • Fantomas
    • Mike Patton may well be one of the hardest working men in showbiz these days, and his latest with Fantômas underscores just about how far out he is willing to travel.

      Suspended Animation

  • The Life Pursuit

    • 8 out of 10
    • Belle & Sebastian
    • The Life Pursuit is a sort of Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. You get Belle & Sebastian's peanut butter (its wistful, often irresistible pop) dipped in a 'Have A Nice Day!' and glam 70s chocol

  • Priest = Aura

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Church
    • Another of my all-time favorites, Priest = Aura is one of those rare albums where every song is simply fantastic, and a testament to how good pop-rock can be.

      Each song immediatel

  • Chicago Transit Authority

    • 10 out of 10
    • Chicago
    • For those of you who don't know, Chicago didn't always suck, and everyone in the band didn't always play a keyboard. When the band started off they were pioneers of rock and jazz fusion, and guita

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The Back Page

I’d Hate To Be on the App Store Approval Team

Oy ve! I was compiling a list of least-appreciated jobs this weekend -- it's what I do when I have three days off from work -- and guess how surprised I was to find a job at Apple as Numero Uno Least-Appreciated Job?

Yeah, exactly, I was that surprised! Whoda thunk?

The job in question is being on the App Store approval team -- the group of men and women responsible for deciding which of the thousands and thousands of submitted iPhone apps gets approved and which gets rejected for being at odds with Apple's developer license and internal guidelines.

From fart apps (You know, really? A fart app? Several fart apps? A plethora of fart apps? Good [lack of] god(s), but I sometimes despair of my fellow human beings), to Jesus faces, to South Park (How in the hell was that rejected? How does that make any sense?), to calculator alternatives, to would-be Safari alternatives, to Bittorent clients, to games, to currency converters, to Baby Shaker...come on, how was that approved?

There's a poop-ton of apps out there, all stemming from the creative ingenuity of thousands upon thousands of developers harnessed towards thinking of new and different ways of leveraging the strengths and limitations of the iPhone and iPod touch.

And the product of their creativity, their work, their dedication, sweat, and desire for a new income stream, all has to meet the standards of one of the most secretive and paranoid companies in the tech space.

Which brings us back to that least-appreciated job, the people who are stuck between navigating through what the developers submit and working for an exacting team of executives, guided by rules written by mid-level engineers and managers scared of pissing off those executives and then tweaked and rewritten by lawyers.

Now, add in a dash of the subjective, that old I-can't-describe-obscenity-but-I-know-it-when-I-see-it, and we get yet another layer of complexity and difficulty.

Good lord. I don't want that job. Approve the Jesus-face app and get yelled at because all the religious nutjobs out there get up in arms. Deny Eucalyptus for reasons that are entirely logical -- you can access pornography in the form of The Kama Sutra -- yet utterly devoid of common sense -- it's the freakin' Kama Sutra, which is available through Safari!!! -- and you bring a different poopstorm of (deserved) criticism down on your company.

And that's not even talking about just how many apps have to be weighed and judged, and then all those updates that have to be weighed and judged...

No thanks. I picture this job as being the kind that you can do well, really well, 99.99% of the time, but that .01% mistake is all that will ever be remembered.

The reality is that Apple needs to revise its App Store approval policy to, at the very least, include some leeway for common sense, and to become more open about that process and more communicative with developers. One of these things is likely to happen as time progresses (hint, it's not Apple being more communicative with developers), but until then I just don't want to be on the team stuck between the twirling and swirling forces pulling and tugging on each app.

At least Apple has had the good sense to reverse some of its most silly mistakes. Eucalyptus, for instance, is good to go, while Baby Shaker is gone. I personally see both decision reversals to be good moves.

In the meanwhile, I'm thankful for my job as the guy who gets to write about the guys (and girls) doing the real work.

Follow me on Twitter @TMOBryan.
Bryan Chaffin began using Apple computers in 1983 in a high school BASIC programming class. He started using Macs in 1990 when the Kinko’s guy taught him how to use Aldus PageMaker, finally buying a Power Computing Power 100 in 1995. Today, Bryan is the Editor of The Mac Observer, and has contributed to the print versions of MacAddict and MacFormat (UK).
You can .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) directly to him, or you can also post your comments below.

5 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Lee Dronick said:

Not to mention that an audiobook of the Kama Sutra is available in the iTunes Store and there are currently no parental controls to make a purchase.


Bryan Chaffin said:

A very good point, Harry.


Lee Dronick said:

I just checked and there are number of “erotic” audiobooks in the iTunes Store, some with rather interesting cover graphics/photos. Then of course there are some podcasts and music tracks that are marked as explicit.

Yeah, ya wonder about the guidelines they use for apps when other products pass muster.


Bosco (Brad Hutchings) said:

Perhaps a case can be made that rogue apps can’t be running on the iPhone since it runs on AT&T’s wireless network. Funny how when you get a 3G wireless data card, you don’t have to submit all of the apps installed on your lapper to Apple for approval. So I say, in the case of iPhone, “perhaps”.

But the same case can’t be made for iPod Touch. Apple brings all the hate on itself by sticking itself in the middle of this and being the arbiter of good taste. Would anyone own a Mac if developers had to get Steve Jobs’ blessing for every app they wrote?

I wouldn’t participate in jailbreaking, but it amuses me at this point. It sets a bad example of consumers should respect licenses. But Apple’s just asking for it. And Apple is doing all developers a disservice by encouraging people to work around its draconian stranglehold on the platform.


davebarnes said:

I would find it very easy.
Approve everything and let the market decide who succeeds and who fails.
There is something to be said for Penthouse “pink” app.


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