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Sunday, 21 February 2010 13:15

Apple bans boobs


When you own the ecosystem, you get to make the rules - why is it so hard for some people to understand that?

The chattering classes seem to be up in arms over Apple's decisions to restrict the range of material available via the AppStore.

Having recently declared a new policy that bans all overtly sexual content, Apple has been notifying a large number of developers that their applications have been removed from the AppStore.

For instance, TechCrunch reports that the developers of the App "Wobble iBoobs" received the following email:

The App Store continues to evolve, and as such, we are constantly refining our guidelines. Your application, Wobble iBoobs (Premium Uncensored), contains content that we had originally believed to be suitable for distribution. However, we have recently received numerous complaints from our customers about this type of content, and have changed our guidelines appropriately.

We have decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store, which includes your application.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter. If you believe you can make the necessary changes so that Wobble iBoobs (Premium Uncensored) complies with our recent changes, we encourage you to do so and resubmit for review.

iPhone App Review

Apple is a business. 

Being a business, Apple will do what it thinks is best for its business.

And business decisions are NOT censorship. 

Wikipedia offers ( a reasonable definition: "Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor."  Hardly the stuff of business decisions.

Apple's AppStore is a wide-ranging storefront with a huge number of products in 20 well-defined categories.  Just like a department store.  And on that theme, I defy anyone to locate the "soft porn" section in their local department store.  After-all, just like the AppStore, children roam the aisles of most department stores.

Clearly it is necessary to remind iPhone (and iPod Touch) owners that, when they bought their device (whether outright or via a telco plan), they also bought into the entire ecosystem and all it entails. 

The tone of Apple's AppStore requirements has never been in doubt.  About the only thing in doubt is the point at which Apple would say "enough is enough" and reign in the more 'adventurous' Apps.

There's no point moaning about this after-the-fact.  If you didn't want the restrictions, why did you buy this phone? 

There seems to be this weird idea that the iPhone owners control the vendor (and not the other way around!).  Here's where you find out just how valid that world-view is.

As with many similar topics, there is a constant effort to "push the envelope."  For instance, think back 20 years and consider the general theme of music videos.  Now contemplate the average such video now. 

The increase in overt sexuality is plainly obvious.  The same applies to the developers - they knew what the rules would be, yet they pushed on in the hope of making money.  Guess what, the envelope has been sealed with a G-rated stamp.

It would seem that Apple would prefer to be the "Disney" of Apps.  That's their decision.

If you'd like to have your envelope pushed, there are plenty of other platforms to accommodate you.  You just can't get an iPhone.

My only advice to all the whiners: pull your head in and find something worth-while to protest about.

There is a climate to fix, whales to save and world poverty to address.


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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