"After a couple of attempts to get the application approved, we are sad to say that our app has been rejected," the duo explains. "According to Apple, the content was 'potentially offensive.'" The app would have allowed iPhone users to access episode clips, read South Park news, and grab wallpaper and other South Park-related downloadables. Some of this content, we gather, contains some R-rated words or concepts. But then again so do the South Park episodes Apple already sells in its iTunes store.
One glimmer of hope for anyone waiting on a mobile Mr. Hankey: Parker and Stone say that Apple told them its standards could "evolve" over time. Hey, maybe by the year 2014, images acceptable on cable television will be allowed on mobile devices, too. Maybe.
5. Pull My Finger
Another app found to be full of hot air was Air-O-Matic's Pull My Finger--you know, the adolescent-aimed emulator of flatulent tones. (That's the technical description, anyway). When Apple first caught wind of the concept, it said no thanks. Right away, the app's originators sensed something didn't smell right.
"Their reasons for banning us really didn't add up," says developer Sam Magdalein.
Apple initially said Pull My Finger had "limited utility," Magdalein remembers, then went on to explain that it might offend some of the iPhone's more sophisticated overseas shoppers.
"After that, they pretty much stopped talking to us or returning e-mail and voicemail," Magdalein recalls.
A month later, Apple reconsidered. A rep told Magdalein inspectors had been caught off-guard with this "genre" of apps and had needed to carefully consider which submissions should be approved. Pull My Finger was in, then, and it didn't take long for the app to propel its way into the store's list of bestselling items.
While a bodily function ended up getting approval, a bodily bounce did not. We're talking, of course, about iBoobs--the breast application Mystic Game Development ever created. (You can see a video demo here, if you're into that sort of thing.) The app lets you interactively jiggle a particular part of the female anatomy. Unfortunately, the only thing shaking on Apple's reviewer was his head. The program featured "inappropriate sexual content," Apple said, along with "obscene, pornographic, offensive, or defamatory content."
"Watching an episode of Baywatch on TV shows a lot more than iBoobs," counters MGD Development Director John van der Burg. "Besides that, iBoobs is just a 3-D model and not even real," he says.
Van der Burg's biggest beef was not being able to know in advance if the idea would fly. Had Apple answered his predevelopment inquiries, he says, it would have saved everybody some time.
The same "offensive content" tag slashed Slasher's chances at App Store success. The simple program was cut from the catalog just one day after it was approved.
"In a word, I was upset," says Josef Wankerl, the app's creator. "I tried contacting Apple to see if there was any way to resolve their concerns, but they never answered my e-mail."
The seeming lack of consistency is what really twists the knife in Wankerl's side: Apps with comparable violence, he notes--such as one in which you use a broken beer bottle as a weapon--have been allowed into the store. Slasher, which only showed an image of a kitchen knife and sounded a scream when you shook it, was not.