Once again, Apple shoots itself in the foot in the latest round of porntech shenanigans, as it removes around 5,000 sex-related apps from it’s iTunes site. The reason? According to the one comment the executive class at Apple has issued,
“It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see.” (Apple Exec Phil Schiller)
Okay, some women complained. Some kids may have seen some boobs on a tiny screen. But instead of finding a nifty filter work-around that can safely sanitize your iPhone from the effects of boobs by not displaying such risque content, the “Apple Geniuses” decided to just yank 5,000 apps that were, theoretically, making them money. Not to mention killing the hard work of the developers who put those apps together, on top of the additional insult that "some" apps, including Playboy, Hustler, and SI's storied Swimsuit Edition are somehow less-sexual and more acceptable than the others.
Are these guys idiots, or what?
Leave aside, for a moment, the fact that a few complaints from a few concerned women and parents pale in comparison to the thousands of men and women who routinely purchase sexy apps from iTunes, generating a profit. Forget, if you will, the fact that such adult content is legal, private, and doesn’t get inflicted on others, due to the nature of the media. Pretend the fact that thousands of men – big, manly, disposable-income-enough-to-afford-expensive-toys-like-the-iPhone MEN have been voting for such content with their credit cards in the perfectly legitimate and legal pursuit of happiness via boobs that they, in America, have a Goddess-given right to.
If Apple isn’t smart enough to figure out that in technology terms, success follows porn, then they deserve to lose the revenue that they will over this mother-of-all-bonehead-moves. Consider: in the 1980s Sony wouldn’t lisence it’s Betamax technology to porn companies, due to the prurient nature of the content and their desire to be seen as “family friendly”. VHS was an inferior format, but people aren’t going to buy one VCR to watch porn upon and another to view Back To The Future – so Betamax got pwnd. This was just the first in a long list of technological innovations that were decided by the porn industry. America Online tried to kill all adult content a couple of times around. What ever happened to them? Blockbuster decided to “edit for content” objectionable scenes out of movies, in order to keep from offending a tiny minority who found T&A abhorrant and not “family friendly”. The internet, itself, grew to its present titanic proportions because people were willing to pay for higher bandwidth and faster machines to (in part) watch porn better.
The lesson here? People (men especially) like porn. They love porn. They will pay for porn, and they won’t buy into technological devices or paradigms that decrease their porn-watching opportunities. They have a right to it, they enjoy it, and as long as kids don’t have easy access to it, they are doing nothing wrong. Men tend to be better early-adopters than women when it comes to cool tech, and they tend to have more disposable income. And there are plenty of women who indulge in the occasional sexy app, too – not everyone with a vagina automatically conflates the downfall of Western Civilization to the chance exposure of a nipple or an upskirt shot. Some of those ladies like to eye a little action, themselves, so I’m told.
This move gets double the bonehead points for timing, too. Right now the mobile communication paradigm is being pulled in two directions (remember Betamax v. VHS here): the Apple-driven model of pay-for-play apps at the iTunes store vs. the Google-backed philosophy of allowing 3G web content to flow freely from the Internets to the phone/data appliance. Apple wants to be your merchant – but they also, apparently, want to be your censor as well. Right now the two methods are neck-and-neck, but this serious gaffe by Apple might be the first in a series of coffin nails for their paradigm, as a new generation of smartphones (see: Driod) appear just as the iPhone contracts are expiring and early-adopters are once-more looking for the Next Cool Toy.
Remember all of those things I told you to forget? Remember them, now. Perfectly legal adult content is enjoyed by husbands and fathers (and wives and mothers) all over this country every day. The idea that what has become socially acceptable to a majority of Americans is somehow unsavory and evil – evil enough to drive the sexy apps out of iTune land like St. Patrick banishing the mythological serpents from Ireland – is backwards. MOST Americans enjoy some sort of sexually suggestive or explicit entertainment every week, if not every day. Apple’s attempt to demonize and condemn their behavior by this extreme and sudden act is so out of touch with its hip, not-a-PC image that the consequences of irritating the testosterone-poisoned crowd will be fierce. Most won’t complain. Most won’t even rant. They’ll vote with their credit-cards again, and Google and Verizon will have won an important – if not crucal – round in this game.