Until this month, Mark Fiore was just another guy rejected by the overseers at Apple's iTunes App Store. Fiore, who works as a cartoonist, had submitted an app called NewsToons, which contained a range of political caricatures, including one of President Barack Obama. "[W]e cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains content that ridicules public figures," Apple told Fiore, in a curtly-worded email.
Then a funny thing happened: Fiore won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, and Apple started to look pretty silly. Now, according to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, Apple has invited Fiore to resubmit his work. “I feel kind of guilty,” Fiore told the Journal. “I’m getting preferential treatment because I got the Pulitzer.” Does Fiore hold a grudge against Apple?
Not even close. “I’m a sucker for Apple, and I do like what they’ve done," he said. "I’ve always felt like they would be the type to support political cartooning. For me it’s more just a surprise.”
Apple has long been derided for too zealously guarding the content on the iTunes store. Earlier this year, tech guru Tim Bray, who recently signed on at Google, called the iPhone a "Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger. I hate it."
Today, Slate media critic Jack Shafer struck a similar tone, arguing that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has effectively erected a "velvet prison" around its devices. "What's insane is the perimeter mines, tank traps, revetments, and glacis [Jobs has] deployed around these shiny devices to slow software developers to a crawl so he can funnel them through his rapacious toll booth and collect a sweet vig before he'll let their programs run on your new iDevice," Shafer writes.