As we noted last week, Apple’s vetting procedure for its iPhone app store is mysterious to say the least. While the decisions have involved everything from technical to licensing issues, the company appears to be particularly inconsistent on matters of taste. It rejected an official South Park app which would have delivered clips of the show to users, but approved a baby-shaking game (only to withdraw it after the inevitable outrage).
Now a development company has detailed its journey to get an application approved, a journey which strongly suggests the vetting procedure involves automated keywords as much as human judgment.
Alkali Media twice failed to get approval for Crudebox, an application which features a soundboard of “16 high-quality and mildly disgusting sounds”. (The firm is run by three recent business and advertising university graduates…)
The app was initially rejected for failing to meet Apple’s requirement that “Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”
After the firm tweaked the app to remove one sound, a female orgasm, it got the thumbs down again. Rather than go through the process repeatedly to figure out exactly which sounds were causing the problem, the developers decided to simply give it a makeover.
In the revised version, the functionality was unchanged – users still get the same collection of sounds. However, Crudebox became Prudebox, a snot-like background became a collection of sunflowers, and several buttons were renamed. For example, users can now ‘Sicky’ rather than ‘Vomit’, while the option to ‘Fart’ is now ‘Toot’.
So did this revamp, in which you can make a fart sound but you can’t call it that, get Apple’s approval?
Darn tootin’, it did!