Even as the noise over the 'anti-gay' app is set to reach a culmination point with Apple removing the app, a group of Senators have reached out to the technology giant seeking removal of a police-evasive app. Nevertheless, Apple is not new to controversy with several of its apps attracting similar attacks in the past.
Here is a list of the Top 10 most controversial Apple Apps:
1) Gay-Cure App
In March 2011, Apple came under immense pressure from gay rights activists over its 'gay cure app'.
The iPhone app created by Christian group Exodus was designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders and offered freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus.
Offering a healing alternative for those with same-sex orientation, Exodus, which claims to be world's largest worldwide ministry to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, said, Our member ministries provide support for individuals who want to recover from homosexuality, as well as provide support for their family (parents, spouses, children, relatives) and friends.
The app that went on sale about a month ago invited the ire of the gay rights activists for portraying homosexuality as something that needs to be 'cured'.
In a campaign started by Change.org, the opposition against app gained numbers in thousands.
Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it gives the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a 'sin that will make your heart sick' and a 'counterfeit,' the detractors argued.
As of March 23, the app was no longer available. However, the people against the app have vowed to continue the campaign until the company issues an official statement in this regard.
2) Police-Evasive DUI Checkpoint App
Even as the company grappled with the uproar over the 'anti-Gay' app, a group of Senators shot off a letter to Apple along with Google, and Research in Motion (RIM) seeking removal of apps that provide users with information about DUI checkpoints.
The letter signed by Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, and Mark Udall reads:
With more than 10,000 Americans dying in drunk-driving crashes every year, providing access to applications that alert users to DUI checkpoints is harmful to public safety.
One application contains a database of DUI checkpoints updated in real-time. Another application, with more than 10 million users, also allows users to alert each other to DUI checkpoints in real time.
Giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern.
3) WikiLeaks App
In December 2010 at the height of the controversy over 'Cablegate', Apple was forced to pull the plug on an unofficial WikiLeaks app days after the App Store approved it.
Developed by Igor Barinov, the app was not formally affiliated with WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange. It was priced at $1.99 and delivered access to the documents that plunged the whistleblower site into controversy.
As the organizations such as PayPal and Amazon faced the wrath of WikiLeaks supporters in the form of hack attacks, Apple was also expected to fall prey to the cyber assault.
The Washington Post noted, The move may put Apple at risk for a distributed-denial-of-service attack, of DDoS, from Assange supporters. A DDoS attack floods a target site with external requests, making it nearly impossible for the site to function normally. Hackers sympathetic to Assange have claimed credit for similar attacks on Amazon and PayPal.
4) Baby Shaker
Priced at 99 cents, an iPhone game called Baby Shaker attracted opposition in April 2009 forcing Apple to issue an apology for the deeply offensive app.
The app allowed a user to violently shake an iPhone screen to make a baby stop crying. After the baby stopped crying, red 'X' appeared over each eye, sparking off rage with questions as to why and how such an offensive game was approved for distribution on the App Store.
The loudest cry came from The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, a New York-based group which seeks to prevent brain injuries from Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).
The app was submitted by an outside developer called Sikalosoft.
When we learned of this mistake, the app was removed immediately. Apple said in its apology. We sincerely apologize for this mistake and thank our customers for bringing this to our attention.
5) Roll Your Own
Apple raised eyebrows for approving a free application that delivers a fairly comprehensive selection of tips, pictures, and even video tutorials designed to help users 'master the art' of rolling, packing, and 'crutches,' called Roll Your Own.
This 'joint-maker' app, however, continues to be available for download for users over 17 years of age on iTunes.
The app that brings to light Apple's inconsistently stringent approval policies, is expected to go offline soon. Besides the controversial nature of the app, there is a lot of scope for opposition to the promotional material, which even includes picture of California Governor, actor, and former joint-enthusiast Arnold Schwarzenegger.
6) Me So Holy
Apple sparked off a massive debate in May 2009 by rejecting an app that allowed users to put their faces within a religious figure, add a message and send via email or upload directly to Facebook. Titled 'Me so holy', the app sparked a outrage as it allowed users to deface religious figures.
On being rejected, the developer of the app, Benjamin Kahle, wrote on his website, Our question is, is religion really to be placed in the same category as these violent apps? Sex, urine, and defecation don't seem to be off-limits, yet a totally non-violent, religion-based app is.
The Eucalyptus app, which enabled users search the 20,000-plus item classic library of Project Gutenberg, was rejected entry into the App Store and later taken back.
Why the initial hesitation? The e-book reader developed by Jamie Montgomerie contained inappropriate sexual content by allowing access to works such as The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. Montgomerie was later asked to resubmit the application.
Now available for download at $10, the description for Eucalytus on iTunes reads, Chosen by Wired and Macworld as one of the best apps of the last year, Eucalyptus puts over 20,000 free classic English-language books in the palm of your hand. It's beautiful, readable, and less than the price of a paperback.
8) I Am Rich!
Exposing the nature of online consumer behavior, the app called I Am Rich! was pulled off the App Store after it earned the developer close to $6,000 for creating a simple red gem floating in the middle of the screen.
When pressed, the red gem icon would display a mantra in large text, reading: I am rich, I deserve it, I am good, healthy & successful.
The app priced at $999.99 was purchased by eight users in August 2008.
The application was removed from the App Store without explanation.
The app by German developer Armin Heinrich was hailed as a work of art with no hidden function at all while others dubbed it worthless and called it a scam.
In May 2009, Apple's approval policies recieved negative publicity with the entry of iSnort app into the App Store. The iPhone/ iPod Touch app designed to mimic snorting lines of cocaine raised concerns among parents and anti-drug organizations.
10) NIN: Access
Apple faced a scathing assault on its app approval process in May 2009 in connection with the app by Nine Inch Nails. The app gives users streamlined access to content from the NIN homepage, including music, images, video and the site's forums.
NIN:Access, which was initially rejected for objectionable content was approved after NIN launched a scathing verbal assault against the tech giant. The band's frontman Trent Reznor lashed out at Apple and called its app approval process goofy and out-of-touch.