Updated 1:25 p.m.: Apple has pulled Baby Shaker from the App Store.
If you needed any further proof that Apple's App Store approval process is horrifyingly out of whack, consider one of the latest additions to the App Store: Baby Shaker.
A company called Sikalosoft is currently selling a $0.99 iPhone application called Baby Shaker, as of Monday. The object of Baby Shaker is to stop the incessant crying of an infant pictured on screen by violently shaking the iPhone, at which point two red "x" marks appear over the baby's eyes. "See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!" reads the sales pitch for Baby Shaker.
Jennipher Dickens, who founded a nonprofit organization in 2007 after her son Christopher was injured from being shaken by his father, brought the new application to our attention after reading about it on Krapps, an iPhone application review site. I downloaded it from the App Store this morning to verify it existed and worked as described.
"As a mother of a child who was violently shaken at 7 weeks old, causing a severe brain injury, and the founder of a national organization for Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention (as well as the communications director for a national organization helping children with brain injuries), I don't have to tell you how much this horrifies me!!!" she wrote in an e-mail.
When the App Store was first announced in March 2008, Apple said it would vet every single application submitted to the App Store and approve or reject applications based on its internal standards. So, as Apple approaches the one billionth download of App Store applications, let's review what Apple has decided you're allowed to do, and what you're not allowed to do, with iPhone applications.
You are not allowed to have swear words in your application.
You are not allowed to develop applications that could potentially harm existing or future Apple businesses.
You are allowed to develop applications that break App Store rules if you work for one of the most important companies on the planet, whose CEO happens to sit on Apple's board of directors.
You are allowed to simulate infanticide.
Apple representatives did not respond to requests for comment on Baby Shaker.