updated 08:55 pm EDT, Mon May 4, 2009
App Store rules to change?
Apple may be ready to loosen rules regarding objectionable content with the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0. The company recently rejected Newspapers, an app developed by Makayama, for containing objectionable content, according to iLounge. The app provides access to a variety of content from other publishers such as the New York Times and Frankfurter Algemeine.
The offensive material was contained in the Page 3 section of The Sun which includes images of topless women. Although the content was accessed from a third-party source, and not directly from Newspapers, the app initially did not make it through the approval process.
Apple provided a suggestion in the rejection message that indicates possible changes to its future policies. Because the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 will contain parental controls, the company explained to the developer that it "would be appropriate to resubmit your application for review once this feature is available.” Makayama removed The Sun from its listings, however, and successfully resubmitted the app instead of waiting for OS 3.0.
The company has previously been criticized for rejecting apps that provide content from the Internet. Even though a user could presumably access Page 3 from Safari without any problem, an app that accesses the same information is deemed offensive. A Tweetie update was rejected because of offensive words in search results, although Apple quickly reversed its decision amid strong criticism.
A Nine Inch Nails app was recently rejected, also due to objectionable content. Apple did not detail which content was considered offensive, although Trent Reznor noted that a streaming podcast accesses the title song for Downward Spiral which contains swearing. Ironically, Apple profits from sales of the track via iTunes downloads.
Apple has yet to formally announce any changes to the App Store approval process. It remains unknown if submissions such as the Nine Inch Nails app will be reconsidered after parental controls become available.