Apple Feels Reporting Drone Strikes 'Objectionable And Crude' And Rejects App

from the reporting-the-news-is-bad dept

It seems that today you can't spit in the wind without hitting a story about some US drone killing a bunch of people in a country somewhere overseas. Every known drone strike is accompanied by news reports of the location and the number of people killed. Yet, even with all these stories about drone strikes, it can a daunting task for those interested in following them to keep up with them all. So what is a drone enthusiast, or someone just appalled by the frequency of the strikes, to do?

One creative iPhone developer, Josh Begley, took the time to create an app that sought out news articles about drone strikes. When it would find one, it would send a push notification to the owner of the iPhone and then display a Google map of the area with a push pin of the location of the strike. He had hoped to have it released in the wild by now, but Apple keeps rejecting his application.
It’s the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program’s New York-based developer. The company’s reasons for keeping the program out of the App Store keep shifting. First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia “not useful.” Then there was an issue with hiding a corporate logo. And now, there’s this crude content problem.
It's this last rejection that has Josh scratching his head. How can a news aggregating application be in any way crude or objectionable? Yes, I know that many people feel that news reports from the mainstream media could easily be classified as such, but that is beside the point. This app provides a useful service for those who want to keep abreast of the latest news regarding drone strikes. It doesn't show graphic images or other caricatures of the attacks, merely a push pin and a link to the story. If it is the content that is objectionable, he may just turn to a less strict operating system for the next version.
Begley is about at his wits end over the iOS version of Drones+. “I’m kind of back at the drawing board about what exactly I’m supposed to do,” Begley said. The basic idea was to see if he could get App Store denizens a bit more interested in the U.S.’ secretive, robotic wars, with information on those wars popping up on their phones the same way an Instagram comment or retweet might. Instead, Begley’s thinking about whether he’d have a better shot making the same point in the Android Market.
Its this kind of rejection of an interesting and thought provoking app that will turn people away from walled gardens. We talked recently about Microsoft's moves toward further locking down Windows resulting in developers seeking the more open alternative of Linux. The same will happen with the iPhone. As more developers continue to have their apps rejected with little to no context, those developers will become much more frustrated with the whole process and leave for Android. Is this really the lesson that Apple wants young developers taking from this and similar experiences?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Alana (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 4:01pm

    You could almost say their attempt to suppress things like this... Drones on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Dionaea (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 4:15pm

    I think Apple should do a whole lot more of this, that should put them out of their 'misery' a bit faster, no more need to worry about people 'copying' their rounded rectangles either. Good riddance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Tony MC (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 4:18pm

    It's kind of understandable. They're the richest technology company in the world, they don't want to piss off their government serv... i mean overlords with this whole politics thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2012 @ 4:37pm


    There are no drone strikes or deaths or mutilations within Apple's Walled Garden, so there need not be an app for that. Such an app might needlessly allow residents of The Garden to become aware of the imperfections of The World Outside. And escaping those imperfections is the entire purpose of The Walled Garden in the first place, no?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Coyne Tibbets, Aug 31st, 2012 @ 4:43pm

    Someone might ask Apple: Is it the drone strikes that are "objectionable"? Or is it only apps that keep track of them?

    But, really, I think we already know the answer. Because if Apple considered the strikes objectionable, they might be a little less concerned about annoying our government.

    After all, it can't be about annoying their customers, since none of them MUST install the app.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2012 @ 4:59pm

    Strange attitude on Apple's part. After all, God's chosen people killing non-Americans is the only justified kind of killing, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    makes me want to purchase an apple product for the first time in my life. NOT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 31st, 2012 @ 8:23pm

    The Walled Garden, coming soon to computers near you...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    istok, Sep 1st, 2012 @ 7:30am


    i find apple objectionable and crude, but this time they're doing the right thing.
    drone strikes are war crimes. people are being judged and executed in foreign countries without any type of due process, and as we know completely uninvolved civilians die in the process. would you welcome a "rape-count app"? "cannibalism-count app"? surely these occurrences are also covered in the news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Sep 1st, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Tracking Drones

    If you want to track drones, then you are better off using an Android.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Pixelation, Sep 1st, 2012 @ 9:42am


    I wonder why it needs access to my GPS?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Tim (profile), Sep 2nd, 2012 @ 5:52am

    The Real Issue

    The real issue here of course is that the app uses a google product and Apple is terrified that its sheep, I mean customers, will realize that there are other great companies out there too. :p

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    "The tighter your grip! The more Star Systems will slip through your fingers!" And of yea APPLE SUCKS!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Machin Shin (profile), Sep 3rd, 2012 @ 5:14am

    Re: normally

    You ask "would you welcome a "rape-count app"? "cannibalism-count app"?" and my answer would be, Yes. I would welcome those apps for the same reason I would welcome the drone app.

    These apps raise peoples awareness of the issues. The more people you can get to actually look at an issue and admit it exist the better chance you have of getting things to change. As it is most people do not realize how common these things are and so they blow it off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Machin Shin (profile), Sep 3rd, 2012 @ 5:16am

    You know, I really think we should all just take a moment and thank Apple and Microsoft for their efforts in pushing more people to free and open systems. After all, open source projects do better the more people you have on board. It will be nice to finally see Linux become a household name.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Mart10, Sep 3rd, 2012 @ 10:35pm

    Only reason it rejects the developer is because he uses Google Maps lol
    not good

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 4th, 2012 @ 9:22am

    Let's call it what it is

    This is blatant political censorship. Once again, Apple is showing a powerful disdain for the people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    MD, Sep 4th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    Why Submit A Drone App?

    Why not submit an app called "NewsLocate", where you enter the keywords for a story and a list of geographical locations; the app will aggregate all similar news stories and attempt to locate them on a map.

    What keywords you submit are entirely up to you...

    Or is this objectionable too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Scott Beamer (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:23pm

    Why didn't he start with Android to begin with?

    He should have known that the problem he's having with Apple doesn't exist with Google Play AND he'd get a bigger audience with Android anyway....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 9th, 2012 @ 6:23pm

    I hear this decision was mainly based on Apple's plans to soon release an iDrone. Coming soon to US skies!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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