The Apple iTunes App Store boasts over 10,000 applications and approximately 300 million downloads just six months after its launch, although App Store rules have been relaxed, the ecosystem is still more restrained than some would like.
We've written about many of the barred apps (and ). At issue has been Apple's often inconsistent interpretation of the iPhone app approval rules. Acting in it's own interest and those of it's partner AT&T, Apple has blocked tethering and VoIP apps from the iTunes App Store, and taken other measures to protect the bandwidth on what many consider an already-overtaxed 3G network.
Now things are starting to change. However, there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason. On one hand, crass (to some) flatulence apps are being accepted, while other crass (to some) boob emulating apps are being rejected
The App Store now offers apps like iFart Mobile $.99 (iTunes Link) and Pull my Finger $.99 (iTunes Link).The powers that be at Apple might let things get a little stinky, but they are protecting us against porn and sexual content in the App Store.
Note: that at this time there are approximately 30 of these gaseous apps being offered in the iTunes App Store. Just how many of these the economy can support remains to be seen.
iBoobs: Perky Emulation Defeated by Apple Censor
iBoobs is an app that was created by Mystic Game Development and was rejected because it contains "objectionable content" along with the usual Apple rejection was a small ray of hope: "If you believe that you can make necessary changes so that iBoobs does not violate the Apple iPhone SDK we encourage you to do so." You can see what the app does on the YouTube video below:
Basically the app does what anyone would expect it to do. It demonstrates Mystic Game Development's character animation software. The iBoobs never make an appearance outside of their skillfully rendered blouse.
Gaseous Apps Boost Sales
The response by iTunes App Store customers to the sale of these flatulence apps has been astounding. So why is it that iBoobs loses out when it likely has potential sales that might exceed that of apps like iFart Mobile and Pull My Finger?
Initially sales numbers for iFart Mobile according to InfoMedia were exceptional, placing the $.99 flatulence app into the number one slot on the iTunes App Store Top 100 sales list. You can see some interesting sales stats here. Weeks after its initial release, the app is still posted, but at the number three slot--still placing it above apps like Crazy Tanks, Crash Bandicoot, Monopoly, Tetris, etc. While in the number one slot, iFart made over $10,000 on its first day.
Pill My Finger is an app that is very similar to iFart Mobile, but it was written and designed differently. This app was very controversial since it was banned initially by Apple because it was of "limited utility."
Application Programming Interface Rules Broken
Tom Krazit, that "Google acknowledged breaking the official rules of Apple's iPhone software development kit(SDK) which it created the latest version of the Google Mobile application for the iPhone, but denied a more serious charge."
"A Google spokesman confirmed Tuesday thatin order to use the iPhone's proximity sensor to prompt a verbal search. iPhone developers were only supposed to use the APIs that Apple published in its SDK when they create their applications under the terms of that agreement.
Google has denied, however, a more serious charge that it was linking to private or dynamic frameworks in the Google Mobile application. That's considered a big no-no in the development community. "
The problem with this whole situation is that using the undocumented API's in your application can put it at the risk of failing in the future if Apple does any software updates that affect it. However, it might be risk that is worthwhile for some developers seeking to bring otherwise impossible features to their appilcations, e.g. Google's verbal search prompt.
Peeps $1.99 (iTunes Link) made by Plausible Labs, is famous because Apple went after the developer for what appeared to be the use of Private APIs that facilitate the use of Coverflow in their app. So the app was rejected by Apple. The developer, however, explained that he came up with his own version of Coverflow using his own code. Apple subsequently accepted the app into the App Store.
What is Missing from the App Store?
It's clear that practically anyone would welcome apps like Nullriver's phone-as-modem app NetShare, and Apple has already started accepting third-party Web browsers. What's missing for the App Store, however, are rules that the developer community can trust.
Lets hope that by the time the iTunes App Store reaches it's first anniversary that Apple will be able to find the balance that iPhone users and developers need, and that the App Store rules will bend a little bit more even though it is clear from this story that that is already happening. Apple is showing some signs of listening, learning and effecting change.