Apple apologizes for including Baby Shaker in App Store

“Apple on Thursday apologized for offering on its App Store the ‘deeply offensive’ Baby Shaker iPhone application that sparked protests from groups fighting infant abuse,” Antone Gonsalves reports for InformationWeek.

“The company acknowledged that it made a ‘mistake’ approving the application, which depicts a crying baby and has users quiet the infant by vigorously shaking the smartphone. The quieted baby is shown with crosses on its eyes to indicate it’s dead,” Gonsalves reports.

“Apple dropped the application from the App Store on Wednesday night following protests from child-abuse groups, including the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, which said Thursday it plans to picket Apple Stores in 15 cities across the nation starting May 3,” Gonsalves reports. “‘This app is deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store’ an Apple spokeswoman told InformationWeek. ‘We sincerely apologize for this mistake.'”

“Apple’s refusal to disclose how the application found its way onto the App Store was one of several complaints the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation had with the company’s apology, which the group called ‘stale,'” Gonsalves reports.

“‘Who is this apology directed to?’ said Patrick Donohue, founder of the foundation. ‘It’s directed at the media to kill the story. This is the most cynical apology I have ever seen,'” Gonsalves reports. “The group is calling on Apple to provide a full accounting on how the application was vetted and then launched on the App Store and who is being held accountable. In addition, the foundation wants Apple to devise a plan to “mitigate the harm they’ve now caused,” Donohue said.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: While Apple’s apology seems fine, not “stale,” and certainly not “cynical” (somebody get Mr. Donohue a dictionary), and the effectiveness of picketing the inclusion of an app that has already been pulled along with an apology, we can hardly fault Shaken Baby Syndrome groups who are trying to get their message out from using Apple’s blunder to generate as much publicity as humanly possible.

We repeat what we said on Wednesday when this story broke: To atone for their ineptitude, Apple Inc. should make a donation to The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

And, yes, the developer, Sikalosoft, which seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth since this app surfaced and was quickly pulled, bears some responsibility, too.

Still, Apple blew it with the app’s App Store inclusion, however brief it was, and could easily go beyond a mere apology and make a real difference here, if they decide to take these lemons and make lemonade.

Remember: “Never, ever shake a baby!”

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