iPhone Apps: The Market Should Decide “Limited Utility”

September 4, 2008

Apple recently banned a fart-joke iPhone app called “Pull My Finger” – saying it was of “limited utility.” This is yet another instance of Apple deciding what sort of apps should be allowed in the store – earlier the Are You Rich? app was pulled.

I didn’t agree with Apple pulling that app and I don’t agree with the pulling of this fart app either. Truth be told, there are a lot of other apps of extremely questionable utility that I find pretty fun.

Take for example More Cowbell which is basically just a cowbell you poke at and it makes a cowbell noise. That’s it. But it’s funny. I have it installed on my iPhone. Also fairly useless are Mood Swing, Rubber Duck, and Disco Ball.

“Utility” doesn’t automatically mean value. Take for example the pointless images of corny objects that Facebook folks pay $1 a pop for so they can send them to their Facebook friends. These are freaking images we’re talking about, and not even good ones at that. Maybe Apple could tap into this market – they’d make a mint selling digital goods of even more limited utility.

And now I’m thinking about all the retarded apps available for our Macs. Take for instance: Eyeballs. Two eyes that sit on your menu bar and watch your cursor move around. Real useful there. And I’m loving this pointless called USB Cat: it makes cat noises when you plug in or remove any USB device.

Is it perhaps the offensive content that bugs Apple? That could be the real reason, judging how they yanked a comic book that had excessive violence. Maybe the fart joke was deemed similarly crass and offensive. But I don’t think they have a leg to stand on there, either, since the iTunes Movie store has some content of extremely dubious taste. What’s worse, pull my finger or a blind man fingering a baked potato?

What’s really going on is Apple wants to control the iPhone app marketplace to a very large degree. I disagree with that approach. Because as far as I’m concerned, what determines “useful” is totally arbitrary. I think the best way is to simply let the market decide, meaning, Apple should lay off.


  1. papa says:

    I think Apple should just create some categories for these “low utility” apps. Maybe a “just for fun” category, or for items that might consist of racier fare, and “adult” or “mature” category. There's definitely ways to still provide the apps but shunt them off into a separate area of Apple is concerned about bizzaro content clogging up the more highly trafficked channels on the app store.

  2. webomatica says:

    A “just for fun” category is very a good idea, and a good compromise.

  3. DaFerret says:

    I agree, they should allow any app to be listed. If people want to spend money on them, that's their own fault. Since they're starting to ban apps, it's a wonder if iPhone apps development will continue to flourish.

  4. webomatica says:

    Yep this is yet another example of apple creating a walled garden. I
    can see banning malicious apps but that's about it.

  5. iPhone says:

    This is why we're still waiting for TomTom. Can't believe it!!

  6. they need more apps that are easily accessible by everyone and more organized.

  7. Iphone says:

    In my opinion i think Apple has a lack of good apps and only thinks about making funny/stupid apps which arent usefull at all.

    I vote for categorized apps :)

  8. Apple Ipod says:

    Hmmm, thats kinda disappointing from Apple ,I would have expected alot more from them , they normally do not pull silly stunts like this.

  9. Vitamin Cafe says:

    now, we should see some improvement in this after today's OS3 release…