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Apple stirs up outrage, pulls "Baby Shaker" iPhone software

Apple, iPhoneA message on Sikalosoft.com today reads, "Okay, so maybe the Baby Shaker iPhone app was a bad idea." The makers of this Apple iPhone software program—sold briefly through Apple's App Store Web site beginning Monday, before the company yanked it on Wednesday—have a way with understatement.

Evan as Apple lit up an otherwise sullen market yesterday by announcing record financials for its fiscal 2009 second quarter (including a $1.2 billion profit), the company was wiping egg off of its face for somehow allowing Baby Shaker to be offered via its site. The app encourages players to shake their handheld devices in order to silence the incessant crying of an infant. The game features the black-and-white line drawings of a baby as well as the following description: "See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!" the Associated Press reports.  Once the player finishes shaking the device, the on-screen baby is depicted with large red X's over its eyes.

The game, developed by Sikalosoft (which also wrote the "Dice Mosaic" App Store program that converts digital photos into black and white mosaics), sparked outrage, particularly from the New York City-based Sarah Jane Brain Foundation and National Shaken Baby Coalition, based in Edwardsville, Ill. Patrick Donohue, the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation's founder said in a statement, "You have no idea the number of children your actions have put at risk by your careless, thoughtless and reckless behavior! We will do everything we can to expose your reckless actions and reverse the horrific impact it will have on the innocent children throughout the United States."

Apple's App Store is a mixed bag, with items ranging from software that allows the iPhone to produce soothing ocarina music to apps that let the iPhone simulate the sounds of flatulence. The company's criteria for approving or rejecting software submitted by independent developers for sale via the App Store is at best inconsistent, according to TheAppleBlog.com (published by the GigaOM network). "Depending on who's looking at your app, and on what day," the blog points out, "you may garner a rejection when on any other day, you’d slip through unnoticed."

Image of Apple's New York City store © Anne Jan Roeleveld via Flickr

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