updated 11:45 pm EDT, Mon October 5, 2009
App promotes health care reform in US
Apple has reversed course and approved iSinglePayer, an iPhone app advocating health care reform in the US. The app had initially been rejected for being "politically charged," as it contains charts and information regarding single-payer health care systems. Users can even find the nearest congressperson and view campaign donations provided by companies in the health sector.
The app creator criticized Apple for lacking clarity with its SDK terms, a complaint echoed by many other developers. While Apple approves apps promoting individual candidates, iSinglePayer was said to have been rejected, in part, because it lacked official backing by a politician or group.
Aside from apps created for politicians, the App Store contains content that would also seem to be "politically charged" concerning specific issues. "America's political civil war has hit the Apple iPhone," reads a description for Conservative Talking Points. "The first shot over the liberal bow has been fired!"
Apple has not been accused of having a political bias when reviewing apps, but rather an inconsistent approach that leads to frustration and wasted time from a developer's standpoint. The App Store review policies have even brought attention from the FCC, following the rejection of a Google Voice app.
The company's approach has not gone unnoticed by competitors, as Palm has organized its app portal in stark contrast to the App Store. Not all webOS apps will have to go through an approval process. Developers can instead choose to independently create content and host it on the web, outside of Palm's App Catalog.
"I am glad that the app got through, and I hope that Apple will not be rejecting any more applications because they are politically charged," says Red, the creator of iSinglePayer. Apple's reasons for reversing its decision remain unclear, however.