Apple Names Itself the Final Authority on Decency, Kills 5000 Apps

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:

  1. No images of women in bikinis (Ice skating tights are not OK either)
  2. No images of men in bikinis! (I didn’t ask about Ice Skating tights for men)
  3. No skin (he seriously said this) (I asked if a Burqa was OK, and the Apple guy got angry)
  4. No silhouettes that indicate that Wobble can be used for wobbling boobs
  5. No sexual connotations or innuendo: boobs, babes, booty, sex – all banned
  6. Nothing that can be sexually arousing!!
  7. 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.

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