Apple Store Policy Rejects Southpark App

Dennis Faas's picture

Several incidents this week have reawakened questions over Apple's policy of screening submissions to its iPhone App store -- including the recent rejection of a highly-anticipated South Park app. There have been repeated claims of inconsistency ever since the launch of the store, the only official way to distribute applications for use on the iPhone and iPod touch.

An official South Park app, which would have featured streaming clips from the show, was first submitted for review in October. It was finally rejected this week because the content is "potentially offensive". Even if you agree with that view and believe that's an acceptable reason to ban it from the store, it's incredibly inconsistent given many episodes of the show are available through iTunes.  (Source:

Unwelcome Second Edition

One application which did recently get the thumbs up, Classics: Jane Austen, offers a series of the novelist's works for $2.99. That might appear just fine: the books are out of copyright and the idea of a book-reading app itself is not protected. Unfortunately, the look and feel of the app is identical to a more established app simply named Classics.

Given that the original was featured in high-profile iPhone ads, it's clear the producers of the Jane Austen version are trying to unfairly capitalize on its success. The question is why Apple allowed such a blatant rip-off of an existing app to pass its vetting system. (Source:

Approval Route Hazy

Meanwhile there's still confusion over the status of GPS navigation systems in the App Store. Officially, the rules ban any application which contains real-time navigation, meaning you can only use it to plan a route in advance. However, one app which is already in the store offers this feature but, to comply with the rules, doesn't give voice prompts, meaning that a solo driver can't safely use it (which the manufacturers do point out). (Source:

Another firm, Sygic, demonstrated a GPS app with voice prompts at a conference this week and seems pretty confident of getting approval. Given that navigation is clearly a feature firms want to provide, there doesn't seem any sensible reason why such apps should be banned. The cynical view is that Apple is simply blocking smaller developers to give a major firm time to develop their own navigation app.

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