Epic fail: Apple's "Baby Shaker" app

A game that asks you to quiet an infant by abusing it? What were they thinking?

Published April 23, 2009 12:52PM (EDT)

Apple is accustomed to glowing press. Like, get-you-laid kind of press. Just today, for instance, came a report that the company's business is booming despite the recession. The world seems to practically run on iPhones, and it's rare to see the giant slip.

But this week Apple did just that. The surprisingly dunderheaded move was an Apple app called "Baby Shaker" (made by a company called Sikilasoft), in which you try to quiet a crying baby (illustrated in a sweet, cherubic line drawing) by shaking the phone. Here's the product's description:

"On a plane, on the bus, in a theatre. 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. See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!"

Yeah, those pesky babies, future of the world! Always harshing our buzz!

Here's a video of how it works:

 You know, it's one thing to be outrageous and funny. It's another thing to be outrageous and dumb.

Activists were, understandably, horrified. Here's what the founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation said in email to Steve Jobs, part of a press release endlessly forwarded on Wednesday afternoon: "As the father of a 3-year-old who was shaken by her baby nurse when she was only 5 days old, breaking 3 ribs, both collarbones and causing a severe brain injury, words cannot describe my reaction."

By Wednesday evening, Apple had yanked the application. According to a story in the Guardian, the company had just relaxed requirements for its App store, which paved the way for such American birthrights as iFart. Now, I may not care to purchase iFart (spoiler alert: I don't), but at least I can understand that some people might. "Baby Shaker," on the other hand? Whose idea of a good time is that?

By Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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