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Baby Shaker app gets critics riled up

Baby
Baby advocates weren't happy about the Baby Shaker iPhone App. Credit: boinger@gmail via Flickr.

It was an application bound to rattle. Baby Shaker, the $0.99 app that went on sale at the App store Monday, made iPhones emit the sound of a crying baby, while showing a charcoal drawing of a kid. The only way to make the noise stop was to shake the iPhone violently, until red X marks appeared over the baby's eyes. 

"On a plane, on the bus, in a theater. Babies are everywhere you don’t want them to be! They’re always distracting you from preparing for that big presentation at work with their incessant crying. Before Baby Shaker there was nothing you could do about it," the app's introduction read.

The app was developed by Sikalosoft, which has one more app available in the App store: a dice mosaic for $0.99.

That the Baby Shaker app made it to the Apple store is surprising: Apple has rejected a number of apps, including one that showed a picture of a knife and emitted screaming sounds, and a game that let people pretend to be drug dealers, according to developer Peter Hosey.

Needless to say, child advocates were not pleased that the shaking baby made it to the App store. They cried foul, putting out a news release today titled "Something Rotten at Apple," encouraging people to call and e-mail Steve Jobs and express their displeasure.

"This horrible iPhone app will undoubtedly be downloaded thousands of times by others in that same young male demographic -- the population group that is already statistically the most likely to shake babies," Jennipher Dickens, communications director for the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, said in the release. " As a result of the child abuse my son endured in the form of shaken-baby syndrome, my son now has irreversible brain damage."

As of Wednesday afternoon, Apple appears to have pulled the app from the store. Clicking on an old link to the app generates a message that the app is "currently not available in the U.S. store."

It's unclear whether the controversy will shake up Apple's chances to reach its 1-billionth download from the App store sometime in the next day or so. The counter's now just above 995 million.

-- Alana Semuels

 
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