I have to say, when I wrote my first post on Apple's attempts to soup-nazi new media spaces, I had no idea a sequel would be so soon in the offing. In this week's episode, we have an actual App Store rejection letter from Apple, which is so galling in its casual application of censorship to a harmless fart joke app, that even in the unlikely event that it would be a good idea to let any one posse of techno-dudes carry the keys to the new media kingdom, it's as clear as day the people at Apple are not those dudes.
The rejection letter was emailed to MacRumors by the developer, who also posted a full demo of the app to YouTube. The text of the letter follows:
We've reviewed your application Pull My Finger. We have determined that this application is of limited utility to the broad iPhone and iPod touch user community, and will not be published to the App Store.
It may be very appropriate to share with friends and family, and we recommend you review the Ad Hoc method on the Distribution tab of the iPhone Developer Portal for details on distributing this application among a small group of people of your choosing.
Victor Wang Worldwide Developer Relations Apple, Inc.
So, in other words, Apple controls the entire software market for this new medium (every effort having been taken to lock things down otherwise), which it will now fill capriciously according to its taste! And if you don't like it, you are free to use a method they have provided you to share your app with a 'small group of people of your choosing'? Why small? Isn't that a lot like saying you are free to sing in the shower — but they own everywhere else? Imagine if Apple had invented the microphone...
Essentially, Apple is trying to appoint itself the cultural gatekeepers as well as the technicians of a new public square, blocking you from it without their prior approval — a responsibility, by the way, that they appear to approach about as democratically as picking a T-shirt.
I defy anyone in the 'iPhone and iPod touch user community' to watch this video, and not want to install this thing and run it, at least once...