back to article Baby Shakergate: Apple officially sorry

In a statement Apple has apologised for allowing Baby Shaker into the iTunes store, on the basis that "deeply offensive" content shouldn't be allowed. The short statement, sent to every news outlet except El Reg, reads: "This application was deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple has now appointed itself arbitrator of what is just in poor taste..."

    Well... yeah... in its own store, for its own product... Is there some kind of shock here? In other horrible news, an indie record label has declared itself arbiter of good music! IT ONLY PICKS BANDS IT THINKS ARE GOOD! String them up! It's not democratic! Censorship! Fight the man!

    etc etc...

  2. Robert Ramsay

    Ah well

    there goes my idea for a game where a giant bouncing breast goes around beating up babies whilst web-surfing over your O2 connection.

  3. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    I was kind of surprised at the reaction - at least the app shows that you kill a baby by shaking it too much. The charities whining about it claimed that it would teach people that shaking babies shuts them up - I would have thought that showing them the fatal results (even in a comical way) would teach them quite the opposite. Far worse is trying to keep the effects of baby-battering hidden, in case it 'gives people ideas'.

  4. Al Iguana
    Jobs Horns

    Yeah but

    You can slag Apple off, and I'm not a fan. But that game WAS deeply offensive. Surely SOMEONE at Apple noticed it before the broohah? That's not Apple being policeman, that's just... being a human being. Or are they all robots and just follow the rules until someone complains then they change the rules? Dunno.

    if there had been a "gas the jews!" or somesuch 'game', would it have gone un-noticed and un-dealt with for so long? How about a "Shoot your classmates like it's columbine??" If so, then they SERIOUSLY need some kind of person testing these apps.

    Boobs are a different matter, if you're over 18 then what they heck. There is stuff that is dodgy, but if you're over 18 then knock yourself out, and then there is stuff that is just sick and nasty.

  5. Eddy Ito

    Press 7 for more options

    Just a guess but I think Apple uses Google Adwords engine to vet the apps instead of using a real human. Then they could have a magic 8 ball calling the shots.

  6. Tawakalna

    what is this "Baby Shaker?"

    ..and why should I care?

  7. David Buckley


    there is a point where you go to far. i think killing babies may well be it. the whole point of this app was to see how long you can stand the baby crying before you kill it....

    it is apple selling these apps after all, so a bit of corporate responsibility is required.

    as for the wobbely apps, they didn't really cross any line but the silly one.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    oh well!

    Now I no longer have a way to show my girlfriend what will happen if she gets pregnant.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    Why would anyone need an app to do this? Go down to a nearby park, plenty of real babies you can shake down there.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Al Iguana

    The problem is that "offensive" is inherently a subjective assessment. Name anything, anything at all: someone will manage to find it offensive and someone will find it perfectly acceptable. Using "offensive" as a standard basically means no standard at all. At best, you can achieve a sort of mob rule by taking votes, that's it.

    Now, "contains violence" or "contains nudity" are actually objectively assessable. Even "promotes intolerance of any particular group" isn't totally unworkable. But as it is, you're just doing the same thing here: setting yourself up as an arbitrary decider of what is and isn't acceptable based on your own personal ideas of propriety. That's the problem.

    Mind you, that's pretty much what Apple is about, as I understand it. But I think that's the point: Apple's decisions what to allow onto its boat are completely whimsical and capricious. Which is fine to me, but it makes life difficult for anyone who wants to be able to predict what will or won't be permitted.

  11. Shady
    Jobs Horns

    I think....

    ...the developers of this app did so not to make money but to expose the absurdity of the app store vetting and censoring process.

    In that respect it has been a real success.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Apple is out of control!

    Moses leaves his people alone for a while, and when he comes back they are worshiping golden idols.

    Jobs leaves Apple alone for a while, and when he comes back they are shaking babies.

  13. Pierre

    @ Al Iguana

    How about a "Shoot your classmates like it's columbine??"

    I thing you'll find thathalf the videogames ever made are actually variations on that theme.

  14. Steven Jones

    Idiotic comment

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML"but Apple has now appointed itself arbitrator of what is just in poor taste and what is actually "deeply offensive". We look forward to the Internet Watch Foundation referring to Cupertino when faced with difficult decisions about such things."

    Dumb, stupid remark. Apple vet what applications run on the iPhone so they can hardly allow themselves to be associated with what many would regard as deeply offensive. As they approve these things it is fundamentally associated with their brand. Should somebody write something like this for a more open programming platform (like the MAC) then Apple wouldn't have been in this position. Also, you can put whatever offensive-to-some video that you like into an iPod, although don't expect Apple to stock it.

    Of course you can raise the issue over whether the iPhone should be a completely open platform so anybody could download whatever offensive material you like. But when you get something through a company outlet then don't expect them to be uninterested in the association with their brand.

    I should add I hold no brief for Apple, but nobody with a few brain cells to rub together can blame them for this. Clearly the author of this particular article has styled himself after the unreconstructed 1970s student rag mag humour which I recall usually had a page of dead baby jokes. Students - really pushing the boundary of humour then...

  15. Watashi

    App le

    What is "offensive" is necessarily determined by what people complain about. That's what offensiveness is all about.

    The question is whether something has enough merit to defend it from those who would censor it. A game which involves shaking a baby into silence only has merit for people who think it's funny to pretend to kill babies, so it's pretty easy to chuck that one in the bin. Jiggling breasts is purile and sexist, but in the context of a society where porn and it's cultural spin-offs are so widespread I wouldn't put banning it as a top priority. However, it's no great loss either as it's total merit is almost zero.

    If Apple started banning apps that allowed you to paint your own nudes, or which encouraged people to be critical of the government... well, then I'd start worrying.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I'm more offended...

    I'm more offended that Apple wants to play arbiter of what I can and cannot see than I am by a poorly drawn baby being shaken on a portable device.

    Paris, because she was a shaken baby.

  17. Havin_it
    Thumb Down

    Where's the news angle?

    Does anyone besides the author (who is so incensed by it all that he's written the same article on it twice in a row now) give a tuppeny shit about this non-story? As he himself points out, there's nothing novel about apps getting banned for a host of reasons. Is "moral majority backlash" even a new one? Doubt it.

    Can we have a different story tomorrow Mr Ray, or are you going to spin this twatdangle all the way into next week?

  18. Frank Thomas

    The lesson?

    The lesson here is simple. Never write code for an apple machine.

  19. Jonathan Hogg

    What other measure would there be?

    Surely how much negative publicity something generates is a pretty good measure of how offensive society considers the subject. It's been tried and tested by politicians for the last few hundred years...

    Clearly Apple is still feeling their way here, but, as many others have pointed out many times here: it's their show. All this "Apple appoints self moral arbiter" stuff is pretty tired now.

    Where's the "whatever" icon?

  20. Brezin Bardout

    re: Censorship

    'there is a point where you go to far. i think killing babies may well be it.'

    Yeah, I think you might just be right about that. Just one thing though, I dont think any actual babies get killed. Its not real.

    Real babies getting killed = very bad

    Pretend babies getting killed = really couldn't care less

  21. Eddie Johnson

    This is why I would never buy an Apple product

    So its offensive, so what? I will never buy into Crapple's censorware software system. This is the perfect illustration of why open systems are so necessary. I demand my right to be offensive and politically incorrect.

  22. pjnola


    Reg writes whiny article about Apple controlling content on web site that it owns. Upon submission of this comment, I will receive a message that my comment will appear after being approved by self-same Reg.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    This wouldn't happen if...

    They would just open the stupid device to whatever you wanted to dump on it, kind of like how every other phone allows you to do, the fact they want to be the one and only place to get application for the thing means that they have take responsibility.

    No one complains to Sony about letting GTA or other such games to be played on their PlayStation, Microsoft doesn't get blamed if someone had developed the Baby shaker app for Windows Mobile. It is because they don't try to police the stuff.

  24. Xavier
    Thumb Down

    reaping what it sowed

    The real story here isn't whether Apple is the arbiter of poor taste but whether the company adds any value whatsoever by keeping exclusive control over the distribution of apps. Either Apple thoroughly vetted this app and decided it was appropriate... or the 'quality control' argument is bunk and it's just publishing anything to collect its hefty cut of revenue from the creations of other developers. Methinks it's the latter.

  25. Chris

    I'm glad I dont have to think about ...

    these things any more.

    My life is so much simpler now that corporations and government make all of my decisions for me.

    If they had not been there I could have downloaded this app and been 'deeply offended' - perhaps even traumatised.

    I just dont think I could have used the brains I was born with and made a decision for myself and decided not to download it.

    Please let me know when I can breath out....

  26. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Irony-impairment

    Yeah, but if there was no comment moderation here then I'd be out of a job. Oh wait, no I wouldn't. But the bollocks quotient of the internet would be fractionally higher, and that would never do.

  27. Oliver

    Who remembers P@ki-basher?

    At the end of the day it's Apple's store so it's up to them what they ban and what they allow - simple! No laws were broken AFAIK though. I thought the boobs app was inoffensive enough, it wasn't even nude!

    It's a crazy world. Remember that Japanese rape game that was pulled from Amazon? Remember the unofficial game, p@ki-basher? Remember the guy in Australia that was done for kiddie-porn for a dodgy Simpsons picture? The implication of Manhunt in the murder of a teenager?

    Like Black Sabbath being sued or banning 'video nasties', where do you start, where do you stop? There are obviously many people who think that depicting something distasteful is an incitement to do the real thing, but I think that says more about those people as individuals. You never (rarely?) hear actual pschologists saying these things. I'm pretty sure that people's anti-social inclinations will find an avenue of expression whether or not they posess apps/videos/songs that reflect their inner leanings.

  28. Rob Stiles

    A pretty safe call tbh

    I don't think it's really necessary to consult the IWF to discover that an app where you shake a baby to death is in bad taste. Instead of being criticized over this decision, perhaps they should be applauded for cutting out the middlemen / red tape.

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