May 19, 2009 by Tamara Rice

Developing an iPhone App?  Here's what not to do:


1. Baby Shaker

Without a doubt, it may be the most tasteless, most ban-worthy banned iPhone app of all time. It involved a badly drawn crying infant, a lot of shaking, and (eventually) a quiet--but mostly dead--little tike. Tech Crunch's MG Siegler called it horrifying and eventually Apple did too.

2. I Am Rich

It didn't last, but German developer Armin Heinrich did get 8 buyers before Apple shut down his $999.99 application, which was nothing more than a shiny red gem glimmering in the middle of your iPhone screen.  The pricey app would, Heinrich proposed, prove to all your friends that you really are that rich. And stupid.

3. Podcaster

Alex Sokirynsky's podcast application was banned by iPhone, not for being obscene or otherwise offensive, but for seeming a little too much like competition--i.e. Podcasts on iTunes.  Sokirynsky's iPhone version of Podcaster allows users to download podcasts via Wi-Fi or EDGE. (Read a defense of Apple's decision here.) Sokirynsky--with a lot of techies rooting for him--has found a way around the ban though, by sending potential buyers here.

4. NetShare

Before it was unceremoniously banned, a tethering application called NetShare from Nullriver allowed iPhone users' 3G access to extend to their laptops and get them on line. This ban can't be blamed entirely on Apple, however. It was all about AT&T, money and territory.

5. iBoobs

Well, folks, it was exactly what it's name implied, and demonstrations are still available. These almost life-like boobies/breasts/hooters would jiggle just for fun, until Apple gave them a proper bra and sent them home. Since iBoobs' banning, an app called Wobble has allowed users to simulate an almost identical scenario on real pictures, however Apple has been up in Wobble's grill since day one. Its jiggling days may also be numbered.

6. SlingPlayer

Using your 3G iPhone to get television from your SlingBox would be uber-convenient. However, AT&T was ultimately terrified of the bandwidth, congestion, etc. that could have resulted when untold masses tried to watch television on their iPhones at the same time via 3G. For now, its 3G banning is a bummer, but the Wi-Fi use is still available.


7. Murderdrome

One of the oddest iPhone app bannings was that of Murderdrome, a graphic novel app from Infurious. The banning was due to the content of the specific Murderdrome series, however the app itself would've allowed other--less offensive--Infurious graphic novel releases via iPhone. Never fear, in the end Infurious got their app back in the store for a different comic: EyeCandy.

8. Prohibition 2: Dope Wars

This iPhone game from Hardy Macia at Catamount Software had all the drug fun that made John E. Dell's '80s version (Drug Wars) such an addictive--no pun intended--success. Apple didn't see the irony or the fun, so Macia had to go with a candy prohibition game instead.


9. Obama Trampoline

Swamiware was simply not ready to back down when its iPhone app was banned due to cartoon graphics of politicians jumping up and down on a trampoline in the Oval Office. So, they stuck to their guns ... sort of. You can now get the app from the iPhone store, but you'll have to play it with paper bags over the politicians' heads. (Let's face it, Apple, we all know who's in the tight red skirt.)

10. Freedom Time

This last app--banned for reasons similar to #9--makes the list for one reason and one reason only: Steve Jobs himself took the time to give creators Alec Vance and Court Batson a response. This app was meant to give those anxious to get Bush out of office a fun way to count the days in 2008; but in the end, even Democrat-leaning Steve Jobs didn't see the point in firing up the potential controversy.

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.

  • Missy

    First off I don't fill this is a very easy topic! I fill there are many conflicting elements between all 10 banned applications. I believe some of the application were not banned for moral reasons but, were banned because they allowed the user to have too much power and as a result jeopardizing and threatening to undermined the larger companies like AT&T, Apple, T-Mobile and Verizon's ability to control you through their data packages. Any application that allows you to bypass and extend the data flow without them being able to charge you for it is going to immediately catch their attention!!! You can't bet any Application that causes them to lose money is not going to be around very long without being banned!! On to the next layer of these applications being banned are based upon the moral nature of the apps upon which the Apple app store is held accountable for. If the app is extremely disgusting an morally disturbing even if Apple has nothing to do with the making of the Application and is loaded on to the
    Apple app Store by some random creator majority of the people will blame Apple for the morally conflicting app which is in poor taste which is the creators fault however, just because
    It was allowed onto the Apple store even for a short period of time Apple takes the heat so it gets banned as soon as Apple finds it in bad taste!!! So it's complicated with many different layers to the diversity of applications being banned some for nothing but control for money some for bad taste and moral reasons.
    - MISSY

  • http://www.arenasocial.com App developers

    I think developers should build useful application which could solve users problems, apps for educating, performing and understand difficult tasks etc. These non useful app will do nothing for society.
    Arena Social build high class Mobile apps for business as well as individual customers.

  • D.M

    But you think the baby is badly-drawn? It's just a style.

  • http://vistadigitaltech.com/ Vista Digital

    Woow.. They're creepy Apps

  • http://www.quicklypleasecleaning.com.au High Pressure Cleaning

    Terrible apps, im glad they were banned

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  • http://www.theamazeworld.blogspot.com/ Muqeet Soomro

    Thanks for such review .... Awesome content

  • http://www.puregreencleaning.com.au green cleaning sydney

    great list, wish i could have got some of these while they were still around. i think apple have such a monopoly with the iphone theres very little we can do to change their decisions. the brand is just too powerful for any serious competitor, open-source or not to compete with the app store. most consumers are happy to be spoon fed whatever apple serves them!!!

  • http://intellectsoft.net application development

    Thanks for the review. Frankly speaking I didn`t know before about most of these banned apps. I knew about scandal Baby Shaker, and also about Podcaster and Net Share. I was amused by freaky idea of I Am Rich. And I don`t really get why they banned it? Let people buy what they want, if it`s not illegal or public offencing. With those political apps everything`s clear. Who wants problems or scandals. But to ban iBoobs for example--it`s too much i think.. Who cares if you like such things)

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  • Beast

    This is just plain censorship. If someone does not like something he or she should just go somewhere else aka use another app.

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  • http://www.thewebsitegurus.com Cheap Websites

    That baby shaker one is down right gross..Who would even think about that.

  • tpAiN

    The Droid and other open source phones will make the iPhone a mere iPot in comparison. With their laxer app control apps like Firefox and other open source projects would take root, making the smartphone into a true computer.

  • http://none Dumb Bunny

    Apple doesn't care if you deprive yourself form revenue by not developing for the iphone because someone else will do whatever you could do and probably better. Certainly they will be richer than you!

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  • http://www.ixtentia.com/application-development.html offshore iphone application development

    thanks for listing all banned apps... nice information...

  • http://bitwiseops.com/amazingtips qrturo

    Some of these are quite imaginative but quite useless too...
    I like Amazing Tips better :p

  • http://mazyoyo.co.cc mengembalikanjatidiribangsa

    I didnt have iphone, btw thanks for your post its very interesting

  • Jessie

    I honest to God just got sick to my stomach when I saw the baby shaker app. Seriously. I've never sent anything like hate mail but geez, that made me want to sent the app developer a pretty harsh email. Ugh, my stomach still hurts.

  • http://www.gadgetmeter.com Quang Ly

    The I Am Rich app gave me quite a few good laughs. LOL

  • http://www.odesk.com Tamara

    Apparently one of the people who bought the $999 iphone app thought the price was a typo. They were expecting to pay much less. Why they would still click to buy it ... I don't know. Maybe they thought their bank would "know" it was a typo somehow and pay up the "correct" amount. =) It takes all kinds ...

  • http://Www.iwant-1.com Mark

    Iwabble is good I have that app

  • http://Www.iwant-1.com Mark

    Can't belive someone would pay $999 for an app I'd like to see what they payed for the phone.

  • http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/MustafaQasim Mustafa

    Thanx! GOD I didn't have iPhone :p

  • http://Www.iwant-1.com Mark

    Can't imagine why someone would make an app like baby shaker.

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  • Tamara

    Why thank you, friends. I appreciate the love.

    And now ... I must go jail-break my husband's iPhone, so that I can make it a hand-held PC/smartphone.

    Don't tell him.

  • http://www.iphonefootprint.com iPhonefootprint

    Hey Tamara, you've made Apple humbled once for good. Nice write up... well compiled! Come up with more of this kind of compact content. :)

  • http://www.zaptechsolutions.com Hire Iphone Developer

    Very interesting article on iphone application, keep writing and inform us thank you.

  • Tamara

    Bunny, I totally see where you are coming from. While we start using our cell phones more and more as our portable computers ... I don't know how many people will continue to put up with the iPhone's tight fist. It will be interesting.

    In my research, "jail-breaking" personal iPhones was a common theme. =)

  • Bunny

    As an independent smartphone app developer, Apples stranglehold grip on their software/content market means that iPhone is the last platform that will see my projects, if ever. I doubt that the iPhone can remain relevant as a mass market product while Apple refuses to let the end user use their hardware in the way they see fit.

    My current app is not risque, does not breach any sort of social contract with Apple, but for it to be functional, it needs to behave more like SaaS, and I can not see any way of working with Apples online store in my case.

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  • Tamara

    It is interesting. And is it just me, or is Apple a tad over-sensitive when it comes to politicians? If a game featuring the killing of a politician, I can see the problem. But "The Shoe" (not mentioned here) and "Trampoline" and "Freedom Time" seem pretty harmless to me.

  • http://blog.thinkdiff.net Mahmud Ahsan

    very interesting...