Apple has made it clear that South Park must respect its authority.
The company has now twice rejected an iPhone application designed to let iPhone owners watch clips of the long-running show featuring the exploits of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny. Apple apparently feels that South Park's content is "potentially offensive," according to Boing Boing, and will not allow it onto the App Store.
Once again, Apple's taste-making policies for the App Store leave it in a curious position. The company's decision to ban a book from the App Store for using dirty language, yet approve a fast-growing category of fart-related applications, has many wondering exactly what sort of standards are used to evaluate iPhone applications.
Apple briefly employed a rating system for iPhone applications with a "17+" category, but has since removed that from the App Store. Still, some developers are self-rating their applications as "17+," such as X-Soft's iWand 17+ (iTunes link), a fake metal detector that features images of a gun and knife.
Perhaps Apple isn't all that worried about the content itself. After all, it's not bothered enough by South Park to stop selling more than a hundred episodes of the edgy show (rated TV-MA) for $1.99 on the iTunes Store, as well as the R-rated South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut movie released in 1999.
And the top paid entertainment application on the App Store as of Tuesday is a "Yo mama" joke generator, with such classics as "Yo mama so stupid she spent twenty minutes lookin' at an orange juice box because it said 'concentrate.'" Slightly farther down the list, "Wobble Bikini Fun" promises that it's "the only application that can make ANY body part on people in your photos jiggle like jelly."
South Park Studios' application was designed to let iPhone users stream episodes, which might be the feature that really offended Apple. The company told South Park's creators that they might be able to get the application into the store at a later date, according to Boing Boing: "But Apple did admit that the standards would evolve, citing that when iTunes first launched it didn't sell any music with explicit lyrics."
Of course, Apple might also be waiting for its rumored iTunes video-streaming service to be completed. It wouldn't be the first time Apple has rejected an iPhone application that contained a feature the company was planning to implement on its own.