Taking note of every rejection from the App Store would be a full-time job, so we generally just report on ones that seem particularly ridiculous, or that involve a high-profile app or developer. Another recent rejection which may otherwise have gone unnoticed has proven interesting for another reason. That’s because while rejecting it, Apple gave the dev in question reason to believe that the content that was deemed offensive in his app might be allowable once iPhone OS 3.0 went live for the general public.
Makayama’s Newspaper(s), an app that provides consolidated access to a variety of major international newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and, formerly, The Sun, was the app in question. It was The Sun, a popular UK daily, that caused the app to be initially rejected to begin with. As regular readers of that paper are likely aware, topless models are regularly included in one of its sections. Topless models are still a big no-no for the App Store, despite recent relaxation that has seen the rapid proliferation of bikini-clad models in a number of apps.
Even though Apple blocked the inclusion of The Sun in this iteration of Newspaper(s), they were careful to leave the door ajar for later on. According to iLounge, Apple told Makayama in their rejection letter that resubmitting the offending content once iPhone 3.0 is released, with its improved parental control features, would be appropriate. The new parental control options should, in theory, allow parents to control what kind of apps and content children have access to on the device, much like the blocking filters available on most cable/satellite boxes.
With the inclusion of such features, Apple should have no problem passing the onus of content filtering on to parents, which would let them focus on other issues when it comes to the App Store approval process. They might have to implement some kind of ratings system, like the ESRB does for video games, but once appropriate guidelines are established, they can be mostly hands-off.
Does this mean the floodgates are open for “Adult-only” type apps? There seems to be a market for them, considering the success of even pretty terrible apps like iGirl. I don’t think it would fit Apple’s corporate image to allow a proliferation of X-rated content, though, so they probably won’t allow things to get out of hand. On the other hand, hopefully, they can avoid things like the recent NIN: Access snafu or the rejection of a Tweetie update that seem to have a very negative effect on the public’s perception of the Apple brand.