SEATTLE – Apple Inc. pulled a 99-cent iPhone game called "Baby Shaker" from its iTunes store Wednesday after its premise — quiet a crying baby with a vigorous shake — prompted outrage.
According to screen shots posted on several Web sites, "Baby Shaker" displayed black-and-white line drawings of a baby. The iTunes description included the line, "See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!" Once the iPhone owner finishes shaking the device, the on-screen baby is depicted with large red X's over its eyes.
Public outcry ensued, with organizations including the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation condemning Apple for approving the game's sale.
The application was designed by Sikalosoft, which also makes a 99-cent "Dice Mosaic" iPhone program that converts digital photos into black and white mosaics made from dice.
Sikalosoft did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment, but "Baby Shaker" was deleted from its Web site Wednesday afternoon.
Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said "Baby Shaker" went on sale Monday, and confirmed that Apple removed it Wednesday. She would not comment when asked why the program was initially approved for sale. Apple itself screens each iPhone application, a process some prospective iPhone application developers have complained can take weeks or months. Others have said Apple gives little feedback when it accepts or rejects a program.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has rejected apps that let iPhone users throw virtual shoes at President George W. Bush or watch clips from the "South Park" cartoon. It has accepted numerous programs that simulate flatulence.