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Apple Director Caught Approving Own Fart Apps

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Call it a conflict of interest if you must, but people demand their fart apps and urine simulators to be developed only by the best designers -- years of experience under their belt and as high up the corporate ladder as possible. So if Apple's director of applications technology says he's developed a dead-on simulation of an elephant defecating, then people naturally ask, "Where do I put in my credit card info?"

Philip Shoemaker runs the App Store operations for iPhones, iPods, and iPads. He controls quality assurance, making sure everything runs according to its description, and decides whether apps should be approved or rejected. Oh, and incidentally, he also designs flatulent software to make your Apple device gassy. Wired's Brian X. Chen broke the story.

Under the company name Gray Noodle, Shoemaker is responsible for a variety of apps, including Medical Poetry and Money Timer. But arguably his best work is seen in Animal Farts and iWiz.

The former features the rear end of an elephant or panda with the options to hear a fart, poot, drop, or a wiz. In case you're curious as to what "poot" or "drop" means, the description clears up any confusion. "What is a poot? What is a drop? Disgusting though it is, a poot is a fart with an accidental leak. A drop is just that: snapping a coil, dropping a log, or as Apple says: defecation!"

Ah thanks, Phil. That helps a lot.

Shoemaker's iWiz app removes all the chaff from Animal Farts and focuses on just the basics: urination with optional gas. Once again, Gray Noodle explains it best. "Yes, another childish, disgusting application. But it's funny, and makes me laugh. Not only can you make a non-stop urination sound, but you can set the fart threshold. Plus, it is only 99 cents!"

Were you willing to pay more? Well, consider this your lucky day.

Speaking with Wired, an Apple spokeswoman tried to play damage control on this embarrassing story as best she could.

"Phillip's apps were written, submitted and approved before he became an Apple employee," she said. "His experience and perspective as a developer is one of the valuable things he brings to Apple's developer relations team. Apple's policy allows for employees to have apps on the App Store if they're developed and published prior to their start at Apple."

Which would be fine if it were true. The fact is, Shoemaker had several of his apps approved after he began working at Apple in March 9, 2009 -- including the aforementioned Medical Poetry and iWiz.

Shoemaker's tenure at Cupertino also coincides with many controversial app decisions.

The Baby Shaker app passed the approval process but was removed after it gained media attention. While AT&T's involvement is disputed, you could thank Shoemaker for being involved in the removal of Google Voice and Latitude. He was also one of the folks who deemed PG-13 app Wobble iBoobs -- which contorts portions of a user-selected picture to jiggle -- "overtly sexual" and included it among the 5,000 apps removed from the App Store this past February. Even an e-reader that could be used to view the Kama Sutra suffered Apple's banhammer.

But, of course, the Playboy and Sports Illustrated app containing the "overtly sexual" Swimsuit Issue survived.

Shoemaker might be small potatoes in comparison to the former Apple manager accused of accepting $1 million in kickbacks from international suppliers, but there are thousands of iPhone app developers who would be less than thrilled to hear the same guy who created iWiz and keeps Animal Farts in the store also turned down their hard work.
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