App shoot

Upon reflecting more about recent, high-profile rejections from Apple’s App Store, one thing is becoming apparent: with the iPhone/iPod platform is gaining popularity, more developers are investing time and resources writing software for it only to see their creations rejected.

The closed-door approach makes sense for Apple – since their platform is the first of its kind, any questionable use would reflect back on their highly-recognizable brand rather than an anonymous developer.  If Saturday Night Live legend Garrett Morris developed a game for the iPhone called “Gonna Get Me a Shotgun and Kill all the Whities I See,” Apple would bear the brunt of the protests for allowing it rather than Morris.  (When Morris famously – and hilariously – sang that line on the air in 1976, the NBC switchboard probably got more calls than Morris’s home phone.  By citing the actual sketch, do I avoid somehow being called a racist for quoting it?)

But the closed door has implications for potentially revolutionary uses of mobile technology.  In 2008 a developer created an excellent application for the Obama Campaign, allowing volunteers to prioritize their contacts for get out the vote calls.  If the time and effort invested in creating an app is possibly wasted, how will small, volunteer-driven campaigns for local or Congressional offices – the types of campaigns who could really use the technology – justify exploring the possibilities of the platform?

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