Apple's Role as Caesar?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by TaterBoss, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. TaterBoss macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    #1
    Please forgive the possible naivety of the question, as I ask and wonder from a place not filled with law books, but only the reasoning of the mind, and my mind at that.

    Apple has taken on the mantle of approving Apps for it's store, not just approving the technical aspects of the Apps (does it work? does it crash the device? does it scam our customers?), but they also approve the Content of the apps. This includes, but is not limited to, the disapproval of Apps the provide "indecent," and/or "objectionable" text and images.

    This does, of course, include hard core pornography. And Apple (Steve, really) has declared that they do not want to be in the porn business. Let's toss aside any argument for or against hardcore porn, as this will only defeat any attempt to have a real discussion about the issue.

    Apple does indeed have the right, and obligation, to keep "illegal" text and images out of their App store. This would include non-questionably improper images (such as child porn), and other text and images prohibited by law. No questions nor discussion should be necessary.

    However, questions start to form when Apple (and/or Steve) take it upon themselves to determine what is "appropriate" for their App store.

    I find it agreeable that It is Their party, and they have the right to invite in who and what is on their list, and exclude the riff-raff. And, if their party was limited to a select few, it would be understandable.

    However, this App Store Party is host to thousands and thousands of guests. And as your guest list grows, the closeness you have with a particular guest is less likely. To sum this up - you can't be best friends with everyone after X number of people.

    As the App Store and the numbers that use it grows, it seems that the ruler should be replaced. That Apple should check the tech, disprove the illegal, but otherwise allow the network of millions to rule with their thumbs the success and survival of an app.

    Steering the ocean liner "Tangential" back on topic, we must look at how Apple (Steve) is going beyond a status of Watchful Friend to Nosy Neighbor. They have found classic works to be too "objectionable" to let them be found by an App (Kama Sutra). They have found some Apps to provide little or no value to the user, such as a large clock app for the iPad. Well, some users may find the popular "Plants versus Zombies" to provide little or no value. Others may find an App that provides the user with Network information to be useless to them, while that same person spends a lot of time with an App to view swim-suited flesh from Sports Illustrated. To each their own.

    Or is it? In the App world, it's not an even playing field for apps. It's subject to the whims, the interpretations, the prude-ishness of the app reviewer. It's interesting to note that in a world filled with popular music artists revealing their brand of underwear to the world, with pants on the ground, Apple has deemed it inappropriate for ANY amount of underwear to be shown from consenting adults in an App whose main purpose is to provide hook-up opportunities to the users.

    It's deemed appropriate for women to be in swim suits in some applications (not many), but apps that feature bare-chested men are not approved and/or removed.

    It's unfortunate that the most obvious examples of Apple's hit or miss approval process center around skin, one of the most controversial topics there can ever be - with puritanical vs. the sins, self-proclaimed child protectionists vs. the sleaziest people imaginable. And Apple has placed themselves in the middle, as judge, jury and app-ecutioner.

    And here, we must judge them. What right does Apple really have to put their own belief system above ours? How can Apple deny us or app creators the ability to ridicule political figures, when it's a right under the Constitution?

    Should Apple take magnifying glass, ruler and laser pointer to decide which images are acceptable and which are deemed "objectionable?" Are we okay with letting Apple rule from the days when skirts had to be so-long as to not offend the men on the street? Should a few stray pixels reveal a bit of ankle, are we okay with letting Apple paint the app with the a scarlet letter?

    Certainly, we must wonder how to keep those under 18 from viewing what they shouldn't - the same way so many 12 and 13 year olds are locked out of those R-rated movies they only show in the run-down theatres, on the out-skirts of town. Thankfully, Apple has decided to be the parent for those of us with, and even without children, to decided to keep the App store clean and pure. Thank Apple.

    Now, by this time, many readers, far too many, have decided that the writer frequents "those kind" of websites and this is nothing more than an appeal for free porn. But it isn't.

    My rant started when Apple decided to reject an app from a political artist, only to change their mind after a public outcry. If, in this instance, the public was able to decide that such an App was appropriate, why not others?

    At some point, I must sum this up and come to some kind of point. It would be beyond expectation and belief to think that Steve would read this and undergo a change of opinion, to let a less puri-tyranical view rule over the App store. I would expect such a change the same day he wears something other than jeans and a black turtleneck - never.

    I would hope that Apple (Steve) realizes that people with the ability to spend a grand on an iPad also have the ability to choose what they view on that iPad. That children already have a parent who is (should be) responsible for the content accessed or apps purchased on the iPad, iPod, iPhone they allowed their children to own in the first place.

    And I wonder, at what point does Apple go beyond the social / moral responsibility they have taken upon themselves, and cross a line into a now LEGAL responsibility for all content. After all, they approve content, good or bad. They accept their 30% cut for all content, good or bad. At what point are they considered legally responsible for some app, some content, that some person, in some town, found somewhat objectionable, for some reason that caused some harm in some fashion.

    Consider that a person may be offended by the violence in "Plants vs. Zombies." Another may find the portrayal of Zombies offensive or against their religion. Another may find the use of Mother Earth's plants in such as way offensive.

    It's not just a bit of skin that offends. Most anything, any person, any opinion, any action can offend any one person, somewhere at some time. And sometimes the act of "protecting" the public can, in itself, be offensive.

    Who am I? Just an Apple fanboy, who awaits an iMac refresh to finally buy the big screen desktop he needs for work and play. A fanboy who drools over every iPhone he sees, just waiting for the day it appears on Verizon to buy 2 of them. And a fanboy, who despite a long list of drawbacks and missing features, will probably give in and buy an iPad before too long.

    A fanboy, who stares at the boxes of Adobe and Apple software that ties him down to this platform for years to come, typing from this 40-month old Macbook Pro, while lusting over the new ones.

    A fanboy, whose doubt grows in minuscule increments daily over his choice, only to be quashed by the occasional toe-dip into another infected Windows machine a friend needs fixed.

    A fanboy, who sacrilegiously wonders, what would new leadership bring to Apple. Would things be more open? Less antagonism between Apple and Adobe? Clones or cheaper options? A larger share of the market?

    Or fewer shiny objects to capture the eye? Cookie-cutter, crash-prone beige boxes? A system relegated to a select group of long-haired print and video creators?

    It'd be interesting to pop over to a parallel world and see what could be. There's probably an App for that.

    But, because you can access a world where thongs are considered business attire, it's been rejected by Apple.


    Writing live from his home office, in certain business attire,

    TaterBoss
     

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