What Should Apple Ban Next from the App Store?

Even by App Store standards, the last few weeks have been wild. After months of being able to count on the alarm sounding, the sun rising, and store RSS feeds overflowing with ‘Sexy Bikini Girls Herding Sheep’ and ‘ Sexy Lingerie Girls Quoting Shakespeare’ type apps in the productivity category, all of a sudden all ‘overtly sexual’ apps were banned from the App Store. So very large numbers of apps (as many as 5,000 according to several web reports) were banished from one day to the next.

Oh, with one tiny exception though – overtly sexual apps from overtly established names (like Sports Illustrated and Playboy) are still ok.

Then earlier this week an app (that made duck quacking noises) was banned from the App Store because it offered ‘minimal user functionality’. For a moment that one seems fair enough – no real use, no real place for it in the store. Then after a little less than two seconds, you recall that there are currently around 10 million apps in the store devoted exclusively to farting and other wonderful bodily noises. Do those offer maximum user functionality?

Also this week, we’ve seen Apple ban all WiFi-detecting apps from the App Store – once again banishing some long-established apps in the process.

To say that inconsistent is Apple’s middle name when it comes to App Store decisions would be a huge understatement. That makes it incredibly tricky to try to predict what they may ban next from the store. Incredibly tricky, but loads of fun I think. :)

So here goes – a few quick suggestions on how Apple may want to take App Store Banning to the next level …

Hold an Opposites Day Ban Fest.

Being inconsistent is obviously a recurring theme for the App Store – so why not just embrace it all the way and have an opposites day sort of banning initiative. During this day they could …

  • Ban all those apps that are not quite overtly sexual enough – this would get rid of lots of those tiresome, legitimate productivity apps that have nothing to do with sexy bikini girls and herding sheep.
  • Ban all apps that are judged to be ‘excessively useful’.
  • Ban all apps that are not WiFi detecting apps.

Use App Store Reviews as Grounds for Banning.

Scan for one-star ratings with particularly scathing reviews – things like ‘this app costs too much to even consider trying’, ‘this app sucks’ and similarly powerful indictments. Ban ’em.

Let Users Get Even More Involved

Draw a lucky monthly winner from all users who purchase an App Store app each month. Let that user choose a random category or type of app to ban from the store. No rules, no restrictions – just let the winners fire away and say things like ‘I hate all apps with red icons’ and then put those wishes into action and banish all red-iconed apps.

Get Developers Into the Process As Well

Start a Reality TV show with 10 developers trapped on a far-off island and pit them against each other in a series of survival challenges that involve sheep herding, with one contestant eliminated each week. The Last Developer Standing gets a check for 70% of $37 from Apple and the right to have all of the apps by the other nine developers banned.

BanHammer Roulette

Design and build a customized App Store Roulette Wheel, with 150,000 pockets for the ball to fall in. Place it in the App Store Review Staff break room. Let them play it all day. Assign a number to every app in the store. Every app’s number that comes up is banned. This would help increase the randomness of banning decisions, which otherwise might be tough to accomplish.

That’s it for my suggestions for now. I feel like those have real potential to reduce that overcrowded-feeling number of 150,000+ apps in the App Store. I’m sure there’s lots more fun and creative ways to achieve this though. What are your thoughts? What should be banned next from the App Store?

Image Via Know Your Meme

Jeff Cochin has more than ten years of experience in data recovery, management and warehousing. On Macgasm he mostly writes about Apple news and software reviews. Jeff's journey with Macbooks began in 2008, showcasing his enduring commitment to the Apple… Full Bio