Oops—how about this for some embarrassing backtracking? Apple's quickly moving to get a previously-rejected app by Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore. It's original crime: ridiculing public figures. Way to set yourselves up as a target, Apple.
The recent fuss about Fiore's app centered on its recent rejection on "taste" grounds. We know Apple's app approval processes can sometimes be mysterious, confusing, incorrect, and amusing...but never before has a rejection seemed so surreal. I mean, subtle ridicule is the raison d'être of the political cartoonist. And political satire is, some would argue, a vital tool in our slow-as-molasses un-dynamic political landscape.
Of course, one of the Apple App Minions, busily beavering away at an app approval/rejection rate that must number tens of apps per hour, simply and unthinkingly deemed Fiore's app content to be in violation of an "objectionable" material clause in the iPhone Software Developers agreement...and stamped a big fat "no" on the app.
And now, in the wake of a lot of amused, angry, and generally pointy press attention, Apple's realized what's occurred and has contacted Mark by telephone to ask him to resubmit his app, presumably because it plans to expedite it through the approvals procedure and get the whole matter closed. Mark, to his credit, wasn't too miffed at Cupertino's shenanigans, professing himself something of an Apple fan in an interview with the Wall St Journal. He's even slightly guilty at what he perceives to be preferential treatment, motivated by his Pulitzer Prize-winning status.
But should Apple make an exception in Mark's case? Clearly his work is important and highly regarded. And Apple reserves the right (like any good nightclub, keen on keeping its clientele all top-notch and well-behaved) to refuse admission to its exclusive iPhone app domain. But will the company look equally favorably on other "objectionable" material that arrives at its app-aproval desk in the future? Is this a one-off? Or is its famous vice-like grip on app content slightly relaxing (as we also hear rumors that the "explicit" app category may soon resurface)? We've dropped Steve Jobs a quick missive to see what he'll say. Maybe don't hold your breath.
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