It was without notice that many iPhone developers were told that their applications had been removed from sale to the general public from their mobile data plans. This was following Apple’s decision to remove any adult-themed content from its stores in an attempt to make things more family friendly. It’s a decision that has caused controversy throughout the world of the internet, with many standing firmly beside the company in their stand against smut, but many others up in arms, protesting against the censoring.
Apple has insisted that its applications were pulled in response to customer criticisms, with many women apparently objecting to apps such as Wobble, an app that allows the user to wobble women’s breasts in a photo. However, not all of the marketplace has been hit, with content from the likes of Playboy and other well known and established companies still lingering on the shelves of the store for any with access to mobile broadband to retrieve. Many of the companies hit by the ban are insisting upon the publication of guidelines to explain why these well known brands have been excluded from Apple’s stripping away of saucy apps.
The decision from Apple is pushing the developers of banned applications toward Google, with its Android system. With this system less subject to the stringent controls faced within the iStore, it is becoming a lucrative prospect for both developers and those with mobile data plans. It’s early days yet, with the recent ban only just enforced, but already many are speculating if this decision could help the other contenders within the market stand up to the dominating force of the iPhone, as customers decide where best to use their mobile wireless broadband.
Still, whether or not Steve Jobs and Apple’s decision to remove titillating applications will affect their overall success in the industry, there is still the question as to why the company chose to make this decision in the first place. After all, this area of the market has been growing significantly in recent months and years, bringing in additional profits to the technology giant. While Apple has not released the logic behind their decision, many believe it to be linked with the imminent debut of the new iPad.
The iPad will be marketed as more than just an entertainment device. It is set to be a tool to be utilised by every member of the family, for educational purposes as well as pure fun. Parents might not be overjoyed at the prospect of their child seeing the effect of applying a wobbling force in the iBoobs application, when they should be hard at work on their maths homework. Combine this new device with the iPod Touch, already popular with the younger market, and the adult content ban seems to make more sense.
Of course it does feel like Apple is missing the blindingly obvious in that an Adult section to their store was never created. Many objections have been raised toward the outright ban from mobile wireless broadband users, asking instead for age restrictions to be applied to those applications that have suffered complaints. Whether the company will take these comments on board remains to be seen.