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Iphone Cellphones Games

Apple Bans Game App That Criticizes Smartphone Production 213

An anonymous reader sends word that Apple has removed from the App Store a game called Phone Story, which walks players through the creation of a smartphone, highlighting many of the negative aspects. There are four brief stages: running a mining facility in the Congo, saving suicidal factory workers, handing out phones to oblivious consumers, and generating e-waste through planned obsolescence. Apple said Phone Story violated sections 15.2, 16.1, 21.1, and 21.2 of the App Store guidelines, which make reference to "objectionable or crude content" and "offensive or mean-spirited commentary." A short video of the game has been posted at Kotaku.
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Apple Bans Game App That Criticizes Smartphone Production

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  • by youn ( 1516637 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @01:27AM (#37395006) Homepage

    apple has always been acting very nice to criticism so far, never threatening to sue commentaries it did not like... this is so out of character :)

    • by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @02:00AM (#37395174) Homepage
      Oh, but the independent, trendy vanguard of the people that is Apple would never attempt to do anything bad! Why, whatever they do has to be good; for, simply their doing it makes it good!

      Hark! I hear now many rushing to justify Apple, by quoting other worse companies, or such by ingenious logical methods as to perplex lesser men entirely. Surely, this is simply another reason that Apple is the great organization that it is!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jo_ham ( 604554 )

        Who says it's a justification of Apple to point out that they get singled out in this sort of thing.

        1) Person A is doing bad things!

        2) Well, Person B does identical things, perhaps you should criticise them too.

        1) You're just trying to justify Person A's actions!

        2) Err? I guess you could try and twist it that way. Am I not allowed to mention Person B's infractions at all when talking about this? Does mentioning them somehow make it look like I'm trying to give Person A a pass?

        1) Whatever fanboi!

        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

          In the Android market (person B) it would have just been accepted and the authors of this game wouldn't have anything to publicly complain about in the media.

          • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

            Well that's the point isn't it - despite doing the same things (apart from tighter control on the App Store, which is really the only difference), they're the same. Yet I've already seen it on this thread a few times: "this is what you get with Apple: censorship, third world slave labour and outsourcing!" in serious posts, as if every other mass market product in the world is made in the utopian ideal of well paid/well treated factory workers in local factories.

            Point out the issues with globalisation and ca

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by danish94 ( 2427678 )
              But you forget that android's marketplace is NOT the only legal way to buy and sell apps. even if google rejects the game, the developers can still just send a link to download the game (you know, like normal software) or publish it at amazon's appstore. If you are rejected by apple you're only way to share the game is to jailbroken devices. That's why ios is a walled garden, and android is not. (I am talking about the censorship part. slave labor and outsourcing is done by everyone)
              • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

                You can, of course, publish it as an HTML5 app on the iPhone - the method that predates the App Store and is still fully supported.

        • Google good, Apple bad. It's time for your two minutes of hate.

  • No win, really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @01:35AM (#37395042)

    Allowing the application will reflect negatively on Apple just as much as censoring it (and not for reasons having to do with whether the criticism has substance). I can just imagine the headlines: "Apple is so dumb they will sell you the rope you can hang them with".

    • by bky1701 ( 979071 )
      Please tell me. Who would use that headline? "Man publishes app that makes Apple look bad," somehow lacks the editorial ring of "Apple censors app that makes them look bad."
    • Just like you have cop-assisted suicide, you also have apple-assisted Streisand effect.

      If you think about it, producing controversial app that you know since day 1 of development to not pass review process, is extemely cheap way to get your name on title pages.

      I bet app authors would be royally pissed if it actually passed review process and appeared in app store.

      • Actually, it did pass the review process. It was available on the app store for a couple of hours before Apple pulled it. Whoever reviewed it probably wasn't playing close attention.

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      I think blocking this gives the 'game' as well as Apple more press coverage than allowing it, so we have here a win/lose situation.

    • Yeah.... right.
      In my country, letting people express critiscism is not stupidity. It's call freedom of speech and it's something that some of us value (you know a little... like the ability to eat of breath)
      So NO it's not a no-win situation. You evaluate this as if it was a PR problem, (which it is, for apple's fucking PR departement !) but for you it's not a PR problem, if you really dig this, just go work in PR, you appear to be cynical enough for it.
      But don't think that the issue is in PR, the issu
      • You do not understand freedom of speech. Freedom of speech only means that the government won't abridge your speech. No one is required to facilitate your speech.
    • Allowing the app would have let apple owners (who possess a certain flair for cognitive dissonance) a chance to have fun on their i-device at the expense of apple's reputation (but let's face it, if you have an i-device you have already bought in and could care less about it). Instead, now we have a news story that transcends apple users and the whole world is hearing about not only the hilarious app, but apple's intent on censoring it. The net effect, I predict, will be that apple users will continue to

    • Would it really? Foxconn has been target of controversy for quite some time, but iPhones still sell very well.

      By censoring this game, not only they triggered Streisand effect and brought the problems about iPhone production to attention just the same, but also made the iPhone look like a restrictive platform for developers once again.

      Besides, do you really think iPhone buyers really actually care about it's production problems enough to not to buy them?

  • It needs to be ported to other platforms and renamed "this app is banned on the iphone".

  • Apple/Scientology? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by therufus ( 677843 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @01:46AM (#37395104)

    I've always jokingly called apple the "Cult of Macintology", but now it's even more obvious. The cult of $cientology sue people when they don't like what they're saying, Apple also take action (by the sole means they can) by killing off criticism.

    Can anyone say Streisand effect?

    • yea, they are stomping on freedom of speech when they removed this game from their store, using their rules to suit their own purpose or to stomp a compeditor.
    • I've always jokingly called apple the "Cult of Macintology", but now it's even more obvious. The cult of $cientology sue people when they don't like what they're saying, Apple also take action (by the sole means they can) by killing off criticism.

      Can anyone say Streisand effect?

      I'm not sure what your point is, but I'm not sure that a comparison between significant changes in their manufacturing due to direct criticism [] versus pulling a retarded game from their own app store helps your point.

      • The point is that their rules are arbitrary - They allow some apps that violate their rules, and ban others, or in this case allow it through their rigorous evaluation procedure that all apps go through, leave it up for a couple of hours when anyone could download it, until someone pointed out it could refelct badly on them , and the they banned it ...

        So apps like this can get through onto the apps store - their approval procedure is not up to much
        If an it was an app that did not bother them how long would

    • Can anyone say Streisand effect?

      Did you say something? I was too busy launching birds at pigs to care about that boring political bullshit.

    • Can anyone say Streisand effect?

      No; they are prevented to by threat of lawsuit.

    • Can anyone say Streisand effect?

      I sure can, I just posted to my failbook, and if history is any indication, at least one of my friends will pick it up and run with it. And if we all do it... well, you know. This is a great reason for more of us to run FB, twitter, etc. Just don't share anything personal and you're home free.

    • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

      Actually in most religions the apostate is the most hated enemy. I believe in the Catholic church, speaking out contrary to official teachings is just about the only way to get excommunicated these days.

      Point is, everyone hates a traitor.

    • Can anyone say echo chamber?

  • Giggles (Score:4, Funny)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @01:58AM (#37395158) Journal

    Goes back on his Android.

    • Indeed, this sort of crap is precisely why I didn't get an iPhone.

      Granted, there are downsides, but all in all I'd rather have to look out for myself than have somebody tell me I can't have an app because it makes them look bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Developer of the App knew they were going to get ban, it was obvious. Its like the child wanting to get up the parent skin just for the fun of it. It's no fun doing in on Android because they don't have guidelines. This is basically just to get attention. In reality most users like Apple's App review system, it get rid of the obvious garbage.

  • Would I ever heard anything from the game if Apply did not ban it from their phones?

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @02:18AM (#37395262) Journal

    I don't have an iPhone as I am not a moral vacuum and so would never have heard of this app normally but now I have... good job Apple. See that they are not completely evil, they want to make sure everyone is properly informed of just what you stand for when you buy an iPhone. Censorship, outsourcing of all production work from the US and turning it into slave labor instead.

    Samsung could at this point make Android phones with real kitten fur and still take the moral high ground... I didn't just give somebody an idea did I?

    Alright all your Apple cultists, time for you to loudly protest that: vote with your dollars, doesn't apply when the shiny is shiny enough but we should boycot X Y and Z because they are not hip. Oh and claiming that it ain't censorship if it is a company doing it is also a good way to protest (and show that you have no spine).

    Ready? GO!

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      Yeah, so much censorship, deciding what to carry in a privately owned store. They're still free to promote their app in other ways, on different devices. Hell, they can even make it an HTML5 app for the iPhone. Nothing at all stopping them doing that. What they can't do is sell it/give it away in the App Store, since that's Apple's decision. Subtle, but there it is.

      I take it all Android phones are made in the US, right? Not made in the same factories as iPhones? Right?

      Not that it makes outsourcing any bette

      • Yeah, so much censorship, deciding what to carry in a privately owned store.

        Ownership is irrelevant, it's still censorship by definition. It is less odious than government censorship, but still offensive.

        Not that it makes outsourcing any better, but assuming any Android handsets *are* made in the same factories, the workers that make them are being paid less than the ones building iPhones sitting just across from them.

        How do you know? Because Apple claims it is so?

      • Can't understand a word - can you pull Steve Jobs' dick our of your mouth first? Thank you.
    • I don't have an iPhone as I am not a moral vacuum and so would never have heard of this app normally but now I have... good job Apple. [...]

      Alright all your Apple cultists, time for you to loudly protest that: vote with your dollars[...]

      Ready? GO!

      Does HTC fare any better in this regard? Is anyone higher rated by Greenepeace, EPA, etc, than Apple? Is there some magical bamboo and seaweed phone that is in the ballpark of an iPhone? Is there a better (and feasible) way to do this? Do tell.

    • Samsung also outsources some of its production. Some to China, some to India, some to other countries.

      Is there a manufacturer left building phones or computers in the US? I don't know of one.

      Is there a manufacturer left not doing some of its production in third-world countries?

      • by slim ( 1652 )

        There's nothing wrong with doing production in the third world.

        The greatest favour you could do those countries is to take your business there, treat your staff properly, do your manufacturing and raw materials sourcing in an ethical and environmentally responsible way.

        That's how to improve conditions for the people in those countries.

        What's wrong, is to outsource parts of your business to those parts of the world, and adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude to unethical practices.

        FWIW I'd pay a £50

  • by Slur ( 61510 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @03:03AM (#37395540) Homepage Journal

    VERY mean-spirited towards Evil. Whole cities destroyed. But perhaps this falls under the Parody Rule.

    • Dude the bible is the most mean spirited book ever...
      God basically kills several millions people in the most atrocious fashions for over 1000 pages. I mean seriously there are 2,476,633 documented murders commited by god in the bible. That must be some kind of record for the numbers of kills in a story. And that doesn't even count Sodome and Gomorra and the Flood and the really big stuff for which there are no numbers of victims provided by the Bible.
  • by LaRainette ( 1739938 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:10AM (#37396880)
    So some eco-friendly hippies make an app that teaches people how smartphone pollute and Apple takes it back because it's offensive ?
    I honnestly for the life of me still don't understand how anyone can have a good image of this company.
    How do they get ANY support ? They are the douchiest mean f*cks and they have no ethics whatsoever.
    When you get to the point where people saying your shit doesn't smell good enough to be put in their sink gets you mad, I think it's really time to see a psychiatrist. Hopefully Jobs departure will put an end to this decade of giant ego and utter douchery (but I wouldn't hold my breath)
    • I honnestly for the life of me still don't understand how anyone can have a good image of this company.

      Part of it is that Apple successfully prevents the masses from hearing about what is wrong with them. Banning this app is one such example. Another example is that Apple deletes documents from the knowledge base that make them look bad. B&W G3 has a UDMA data corruption problem that shows up with nearly all devices. Apple's fix (posted to the TIL) was to slow down the disk to PIO modes with FWB toolkit (commercial, for-pay software) or to use a Mac IDE PCI card, which at the time literally cost minimum

      • Meanwhile documents showing how bad DOS 5 was are still in Microsoft's pages.

        If you've used Vista, DOS 5 was an improvement. <ducks>

    • Practically everything you buy or consume in some way is manufactured, transported, or distributed by a company who employs some level of low-paid worker. Consumers want their shiny *cheap*, so it's either do that or be run out of business. In this case, this company wanted to be jerks and Apple subsequently wouldn't approve their app -- it didn't meet the published guidelines. Wah-wah-wah. You're getting your panties in an uproar over that fact, and missing the whole point that any single company isn't goi
  • []

    seems to have a faster approval process.

    But apple and ms should have a adult area with little in the Content Compliance area.

  • Why, what's wrong with that? It points out what is so very wrong with government regulation. The "regulation" in this case being that pesky freedom of speech most people have to adhere to. If we just got rid of the government, then the free market can sort out everything - just like Apple is doing. Then we'll be in free market heaven, won't we?

    • You don't understand "freedom of speech." It only protects you from government censorship. No one has to facilitate what you have to say. It is their store and their policy rules. Go play somewhere else if it bothers you.
  • Well, good. It was stupid and useless. And Apple played right into their hands so they could have an inflammatory news story to promote their "back to hunter-gatherer lifestyle" agenda.

    Maybe next time they can create one called Pencil Story [].

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"