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Apple undos rejection of iPhone app with Obama art

updated 05:15 pm EDT, Fri August 21, 2009

Obama art controversy

Apple has reversed course on the rejection an iPhone app featuring art of President Obama, the title's developer says. Start Mobile comments that it today received a letter from the iPhone Developer Program, claiming that after "further investigation," Start Mobile Wallpaper Gallery is fully compliant with all rules. It must be resubmitted to the App Store, but an Apple representative is promising an "expedited review."

The app was initially blocked because it contains Shepard Fairey's famous "Hope" poster, from Obama's 2008 election campaign. While the subject of its own rights controversies, Apple initially cited the art as simply inappropriate, due to ridiculing public figures. The classification was paradoxical, as Obama himself has been a supporter of Fairey's work.

Apple has had to admit errors in the case of a number of apps, as a result of what developers claim are inconsistent approval policies. A notable example is Eucalyptus, an e-book reader which was first rejected because of access to the Kama Sutra. The company has since begun work on cleaning up its image, for instance promising changes to the App Store based on developer feedback.

by MacNN Staff



  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why is no one questioning this rule by itself? The one that Apple imposes that prevents apps the ridiculing public figures. Think this through -- it is effectively a ban on all political speech in iPhone applications. In short, it is the most reprehensible and conservative form of censorship there is.

  1. SlimGem

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yes, as 'TheSnarkmeister' says, it's the end of the free world, democracy, and life as we know it. We're doooooomed!

  1. petsounds

    Joined: Dec 1969


    beavers vs. tsunami

    A lot of all this app chaos comes down to what Apple just revealed in their FCC filing: they have about 40 app reviewers, and they receive about 8,500 new apps and updates to apps PER DAY.

    That's a bit over 200 reviews they need to do per day, or about 25 per hour. This is the real reason for the lack of feedback, and the arbitrary rejections. They have no time to think about the nuances, and they probably reject out of caution rather than get in trouble later for letting through something legitimately "bad". I don't envy their job really; it must be pretty grueling. Apple needs to ramp up their number of reviewers posthaste.

    This is not to say that Apple doesn't have some very arbitrary, protectionist clauses. But Apple needs to survive on the merits of their innovation and superior software, not the Gatesian destroy-your-competitors-by-owning-the-platform mentality Jobs has fallen into.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple outsources.....

    Apple outsources its app store application process.

    - A

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I want.....

    I want an app that lets you distort the faces like on that one website.

    - A

  1. ajhoughton

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "undos"?! You are kidding, right?!

    You mean "undoes", of course, but surely your copy editors (you do have copy editors, I hope) should have picked that up?

    Ironically, even MacNN's OWN spell checker picks it up!

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