Apple has decided that it should protect all of its users from their own sexual urges by banning anything that might be sexual, even if it’s harmless. The end result is that 5000 apps were blinked out of the App Store over the weekend.
The creator of the famous Wobble app, Jon Atherton posted Apple’s new rules for app development & approval. I’m going to quote the rules and his commentary for your education and entertainment:
- No images of women in bikinis (Ice skating tights are not OK either)
- No images of men in bikinis! (I didn’t ask about Ice Skating tights for men)
- No skin (he seriously said this) (I asked if a Burqa was OK, and the Apple guy got angry)
- No silhouettes that indicate that Wobble can be used for wobbling boobs
- No sexual connotations or innuendo: boobs, babes, booty, sex – all banned
- Nothing that can be sexually arousing!!
- No apps will be approved that in any way imply sexual content (not sure how Playboy is still in the store, but …)
Finally, the official Playboy app and a number of others managed to survive the slaughter.
So, that’s the story. Now here’s my colorful commentary.
“Nothing can be sexually arousing?”
This is so relative and broad that there is no way that enforcement can be fair.
Would a Zappos iPhone app be blocked because it could be sexually arousing to a person with a foot or shoe fetish?
What about YouTube? There is a lot of sexual content there.
Then there is the iTunes Store. They sell movies that have nudity…
… Or downright epic sex scenes…
… Not to mention all of those sexy HBO TV shows…
Then there’s that little problem of Internet access. The biggest “sex app” on the iPhone is Safari. There’s an Internet worth of porn out there, and the only porn you can’t view on the iPhone is the kind that is served up using Adobe Flash. However, this argument isn’t new. I wrote the same damn thing about Apple a year ago, and things have only gotten worse.
These new rules are insane.
Long term, there is no way that Apple can restrict books, TV shows, or movies that have sex scenes; halt the sale of comic books, or magazines because of skin; or eliminate songs that have sexually explicit lyrics. If they do, it will only limit their profit, open the door to competitors who will allow the content, and generally piss off their customers.
Yesterday, Apple finally announced the hotly anticipated, Apple tablet computer. After years of rumors, the device dubbed the iPad, had a lot of expectations to live up to.
Like any Apple product release, it met a lot of expectations, and fell short on a few as well. Here’s my comprehensive rundown of the iPad.
What’s an iPad?
I’m going to cheat a bit here so I can focus on the analysis. Watch Apple’s eight minute introductory video to the product. In addition to explaining the iPad, it really is an exemplary piece of marketing material.
The pricing is surprisingly reasonable for an Apple computer.
Essentially, this thing is Apple’s answer to the netbook.
- The battery life is insane!!! Ten hours watching video is unheard of.
- It’s small and light:
- Height: 9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
- Width: 7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
- Depth: 0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
- Weight: 1.5 pounds (.68 kg) Wi-Fi model or 1.6 pounds (.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model
- The display is clear, bright, and has a wide viewing angle (which isn’t always the case with LED screens).
- It has flash memory which is fast, and isn’t prone to breaking, whereas typical hard drives are (please don’t confuse flash memory with Adobe Flash, which I will talk about soon).
- It has Wi-Fi capabilities, so you don’t need to buy a data plan.
- If you choose to buy a data plan there is no contract, so you can terminate at anytime without consequence.
- The custom software looks great.
- Access to nearly all iPhone apps + the iPad specific apps.
Is it Sturdy?
The hands on testing the I have read, suggests that the thing is sturdy, but that screen is rather big. The larger the surface area of a screen, the more breakable it becomes. I know the iPhone can take a fall. I’ve seen iPhones live through a ride in the washing machine, or a quick flight at 60 MPH off of the roof of a car, but iPhones are small.
Can the iPad survive a fall? Only time will tell.
Like the iPhone, the iPad will not enable viewing or interacting with Adobe Flash; a common element in web design. A lot of geeks are going crazy about this, and it all fairness, the lack of Flash was a criticism I had about the iPhone. However, my opinion has changed on the matter.
Flash design elements are heavy and tend to get mighty clunky. It slows up everything. Flash isn’t bad, but it’s frequently overused. It should be used with a very specific purpose, and for things that can only be done in Flash. The list of things that you *need* Flash to accomplish is becoming shorter every year. HTML5 & jQuery are making Flash far less relevant in web design.
Not including Flash in the iPhone was probably a case of Apple arrogance, but looking towards the horizon, I don’t think they were wrong. If anything, I hope that this encourages companies to pull away from unnecessary use of Flash (also known as Flashturbation).
The Not So Good
A lot of geeks wanted cameras on the the front for video chat. I wanted a camera on the back for the purposes of viewing augmented reality (a topic of great interest to me that I have yet to take the time and write about).
Well, there’s no camera on either side, which kind of sucks. I bet that the iPad v 2.0 will have one.
It took about 10 seconds before Internet memes comparing the iPad to feminine hygiene products popped up. I agree that the name is kind of weak, but the comparison seems unnecessary.
Not that it matters at all, but I was partial to”iSlate.”
Hard drive capacity
The $499 model is only 16 GB. That is questionably small, especially on a device that encourages you to download movies and music. This is a bit more problematic because it doesn’t allow you to use USB drives. I’m sure that you can sync, add, and remove media items from your primary computer, but that’s a hassle.
Depending on how you use your media, the capacity could be be ugly.
AT&T Data Plans :(
It’s great that they aren’t caging you in with a data plan, and you can happily use the iPad without paying a monthly fee. However, if you are one of the people who would benefit from a data plan, you’re stuck with AT&T’s dogpoo network.
At least you can cancel your data plan subscription whenever you want.
This is the most disappointing part from my perspective. The inability to operate multiple applications at one time is a serious deficiency, especially since this is supposed to be a substitute for a netbook. That being said, you can do so much in a tabbed web browser, that the browser realistically makes multi-tasking possible. You can have email, chat, word processing, and a music player open in different browser tabs. So, there is a way around it.
That being said, it’s a shame that you can’t multi-task with the native software. Apple went out of it’s way to design sweet software for this thing, and a lot of it might go unused in place of browser solutions.
The price isn’t bad at all. The features are pretty solid. It’s not perfect, but it looks pretty damn cool.
You should really evaluate what your actual needs are as a user (my topic for tomorrow’s post) before purchasing the iPad. If it will meet your needs, it will probably do it in a big way. If it doesn’t you will find it seriously lacking.
For what it’s worth, I plan to buy a 32 GB Wi-Fi iPad when it becomes available in two months.
Syndicated by The Geek Whisperer
Regular readers here know that I am really angry about some of Apple’s business practices regarding the iPhone App Store.
However, it does look like Apple is paying attention, not to me, but the wider Internet community.
Hopefully, “we’re listening to your feedback,” will turn into action.
You didn’t just have a seizure (probably), and you aren’t tripping (probably), you read that headline correctly.
Apple has rejected a dictionary app because it contained the definitions of vulgar words like “fuck” and “shit.”
The story is more complicated than that, and honestly makes Apple’s insane App application process look even worse. For more on that you can find the whole story on Daring Fireball.
Why I Don’t Have an iPhone
This ladies and gentlemen is why I don’t own an iPhone. As long as Apple is going is going censor things like dictionaries, I won’t be using their phone. I’ve taken a stand and proudly say…
“Fuck you Apple. You are a bunch of ‘C words.’”
And by “C word” I mean censors. That’s truly vulgar.
The Nature of Obscenity
The definition of obscenity is arbitrary at best. There are no words in English, or any other language that are inherently obscene or evil. By that I mean that there is no sound a human can utter that is evil on it’s own. We apply meaning to words on our own. It’s a personal and cultural choice, not something for a computer company can dictate.
You disagree??? You think that the words “fuck,” or perhaps nearly every American’s least favorite word “cunt (that’s right, I went there),” are inherently obscene?
If that were the case, the words would be obscene in any language, in every culture, throughout all of human history. They aren’t and weren’t. We made the words, and we gave them meaning. In 100 years, they probably won’t have the same meaning.
Why So Stupid?
This kind of crap happens so regularly that it would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. Apple will end up approving this dictionary app, and all will be well… except for the fact that Apple is still stifling innovation over arbitrary rules… and I’m not even talking about the Google Voice scandal.
Apple’s App Store, the place that makes iPhone applications available to the public likes to play censor every so often. Today they rejected the latest version of the Twitter client, Tweetie because the application may contain obscenity.
The basic idea of rejection because it may contain obscenity is pretty insane, but I haven’t actually told you the crazy part yet.
Here it comes…
The application does not contain obscenity.
It has been rejected because it searches the micro-blogging site Twitter, and Twitter’s posts may contain obscenity.
The decision is remarkable. By that standard Apple’s own web browser Safari also contains obscenity, and porn… hell, it even contains child porn because it contains anything that the Internet contains.
Here’s what’s going to happen - Everyone online will go nuts over this (especially the Twitterati) until Apple reverses its decision.
As Apple grows and gains market-share their penchant for censorship and absolute control will become exceptionally threatening.
To my knowledge, big, bad, monopolistic, Microsoft never pull this kind of shit (note the intentional obscenity).
Apple has resolved this properly and allowed Tweetie. However allowing the application doesn’t resolve the larger problem of Apple exercising excessive control over users and developers.