Apple changes course, OKs Pulitzer winner's iPhone app

Cartoonist says he feels 'almost a little dirty' about favourable treatment

The saga of Mark Fiore and the Apple Store has finally come to a happy ending, with Apple reversing its decision to ban the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist's iPhone app.

Fiore's app, NewsToons (opens in iTunes), was rejected back in December—four months before Fiore won a Pulitzer Prize for his animated, politically themed cartoons. At the time, the App Store’s arbiters of taste deemed NewsToons unacceptable because it “contains content that ridicules public figures.”

That rejection went unnoticed — until Fiore mentioned it in a post-Pulitzer-winning interview. A media firestorm ensued, and commentaries blasting Apple’s App Store approval process popped up like wildflowers. Last week, the company contacted Fiore and encouraged him to resubmit, which he did Friday; as of Tuesday, the US$1 NewsToons is available for your downloading pleasure.

“It feels a little weird, it feels almost a little dirty, like I got preferential treatment because of the Pulitzer and press hubbub because of the rejection of my app,” Fiore told the SF Gate.

“If it weren't for the Pulitzer, I wouldn’t be in the App Store. What I want to come out of this is to change this policy so people don’t have to make a stink to make decent political satire for the App Store.“

Apple hasn’t issued a formal statement on the matter, but Steve Jobs has reportedly referred to the app‘s rejection as “a mistake” in an e-mail to a customer.

The question remains, however, as to what measures Apple is taking to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

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