recognizing Arthur C. Clarke’s third law

They don’t want to upset the apple cart

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iphone_appsApple thrives by creating and maintaining a brilliant ecosystem for its products. So it has been interesting to watch how the company deals with iPhone apps, a small chink in the perimeter of that walled garden.

For example, Apple rejected Trent Reznor’s nin: access (iTunes link), a characteristically innovative NIN iPhone app update, on grounds that the app contains objectionable material. Mockery ensued: Reznor is a prolific Tweeter, NIN has a devoted and vocal following, and iTunes simultaneously was happily selling the same music. Apple “reconsidered.”

More recently, Apple rejected and then “reconsideredEucalyptus, an e-book reader that offers all of the English-language, non-copyright books from the Project Gutenberg collection, since at least one of those books had sexual content.

Peter Hosey, a developer on Adium X and Growl, is maintaining the iPhone App Graveyard of apps that were released and then blocked by Apple, along with the reason for the action. It makes for some interesting reading.

Many other apps don’t even get that far, of course. Most of those are pretty obvious violations of the iPhone SDK Agreement. But then there’s Makayama’s 99 Cent Newspaper app which enabled users to read several dozen national and international newspapers. It’s available (iTunes link) now, but only after the developer removed British tabloid The Sun from its virtual newsstand. The Sun has a circulation of more than 3 million people, making it one of the ten most popular newspapers in the world, and always has a full-page photo of a topless woman on its Page 3.

Apple is taking steps to address these awkward situations. In addition to Bluetooth and other improvements, iPhone 3.0 will have parental controls.

(Title lyric is from the KLF.)


Written by chris

May 25, 2009 at 8:05 pm

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