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Apple reminds us App Store is a walled garden where it sets the rules: certain topics are not allowed for apps

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Apple reminds us App Store is a walled garden where it sets the rules: certain topics are not allowed for apps
Apple’s curated App Store has long been criticized for long approval times and the tight grip Cupertino keeps on developers. On the flipside of things, Apple fanalysts claim it is the safest one out there as opposed to Android (a claim that has little backing in reality).

However fact remains that some apps just can’t make it on the App Store, ever. What’s interesting, is that it is not the violent shooters, nor games where you drive over people for fun. No, it is thought-provoking apps, games that touch on real-world issues like the war in Syria, the tragedies over rare-earth minerals in Africa, the maltreatment of overseas workers in China.

There are developers that make those kinds of games that are not just fun, but actually eye-opening, provocative.

Interestingly, this is the exact target of Apple censorship. App Store rules shockingly explain the curated app catalog would not tolerate such titles:

“We view apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.”

What’s shocking here is how frank Apple’s terms and conditions are. No legal weeble-wobble, no metaphors.

Why would Apple want to censor the medium of apps and games that many claim it has reinvented by launching the first mass-market application store for mobile devices? We don’t know the answer to that question.

Apple pulled thought-provoking game Phone Story from its App Store

Apple pulled thought-provoking game Phone Story from its App Store



What Cupertino is basically saying is this: games are a shallow, money-making, entertainment machine and we refuse any attempts to change this. To some limited extent there might seem to be traces of logic in Apple’s statement - after all, it’s a well-known fact that games are the most profitable type of apps.

“I feel that the form of media should be irrelevant, and it’s the content that counts. Games, films, apps, comics, music, and books should all be held to the same standard. To suggest that there is an invisible line that says it’s OK to say something in a book but not in a game? That feels wrong to me,” Endgame: Syria lead designer Tomas Rawlings disagrees.

Let’s not fool ourselves, the medium does not really matter and this type of censorship should not exist in a democratic environment. The reality however is clear - the App Store is not a democratic place, it is a walled garden, a model Apple has long been pushing on users. Whether you want to support that is a whole different question, though. Feel free to speak your mind about this in the comments below.

source: VentureBeat

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posted on 17 Jan 2013, 08:25 14

1. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6142; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Youre one to talk apple. Guess they only care how many downloads & wat apps arent offensive to apple. I see in that picture a guy is throwing apple products in front of the apple store. The developer should put this game in the google play store it will have tons of downloads

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 08:29 14

2. TylerGrunter (Posts: 866; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


It's purely censorship! Not more not less. How is Apple better than China?

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 15:31

10. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Well the biggest difference is The App Store isn't the only avenue to release games. Google has an open market and I believe Microsoft has the same. Apple says if you want you app in our store, you have to follow our rules. But if you live in China...well...you don't have a choice other than moving if you can afford to.

This is neither defending or condemning Apple, but I feel like this is being done not so much to censor, but to avoid the Shaken Baby app that came out a few years ago. Let's face it, people don't really raise a fuss over games that involve killing. Same goes with film. Notice an film can be PG-13 and have lots of murder as long as there isn't blood. But you add sex, something very natural to humans, and you get an R rating. Apple isn't so much censoring for the sake of it. They are avoiding controversy.

But I would be very careful with the word censorship. Stores pick and choose what they sell all the time. Does it suck that Nickelback is sold at Best Buy by my band isn't? Yeah. But I'm not being censored. Now if I were trying to play very political music and the government stopped me from doing that in all avenues, then that would be censorship. If Apple, Google, and a bunch of other companies got together to block these apps, then that would be censorship. Apple is just saying, play by my rules or find another app store.

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 04:18

14. TylerGrunter (Posts: 866; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


How is that different if Google decided that you can't blog some topics in his blogs or in Youtube? Wouldn't that be censorship in your oppinion? Because all your logic can be applied in that case too: you can go to another blog site, or another video streaming site, and that would be "avoiding controversy" in your opinion.
Sorry if you don't like the word, but censorship is just "suppression of public communication" and that is exactly what Apple does. If it does to avoid controversy is not the point, if the store is theirs is not the point either. The fact is that they avoid freedom of speech and expression, the why is not my point. And doesn't matter how you defend that: the word for it is still censorship and it's the same China does with blogs or twitter.
Funny thing I was expecting people to call on me for comparing them to China, not for calling Apple for what they do.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 09:20 5

3. AfterShock (Posts: 2177; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


In other words,.. they'll support offensive garbage if its printed and being serious but if light hearted and accepted as a novelty / game, forget it.

That offends me.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 09:46 9

4. Slammer (Posts: 942; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


Apple has long been restrictive in programs and offerings way before the App store and itunes was launched. Known for being highly proprietary and controlling, this has been their base operation since Apple's inception. It is the sole reason for their success within a small marketshare.

It is said that "if you love Apple and its ecosystem, you accept it as a whole. If there are changes you would like to see, then it is time to move on and away from Apple."

This new generation discovered Apple under a highly marked approach. Now this generation is questioning and expressing more. That is where it does not understand the basic outline of Apple.

So, once again, do not demand more from Apple. It shows discontent with a company that is loved. If more is wanted, people will need to move to a more open platform. A Zebra does not change its stripes. Apple's dictation is what makes it what it is. Change it and risk far lower quality.

It's that simple. I hope have made some sense here. I speak from having dealt with Apple for many of the three decades.

John B.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 10:13 3

5. sprockkets (Posts: 1086; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


LOL at that screenshot showing ppl wanting to get to the apple store and getting run over!

I mean come on, that second pic must be them showing all the foxconn workers committing suicide :)

Apple didn't approve it cause it makes fun of THEM.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 12:04 3

8. Aeires (unregistered)


That's entirely it. They pulled an app that showed people how much their cell phones were emitting radiation because it listed the iPhone in the second worse spot.

There's still fart apps in the App Store, but if you make fun of Apple Inc, expect to be banished. That's not a walled garden, that's censorship, plain and simple.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 10:42

6. hybrid06339 (Posts: 23; Member since: 16 May 2012)


think the same?

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 10:50 2

7. dorianb (Posts: 347; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


The 1st Amendment at ransom....

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 12:13 1

9. Droiddoes (unregistered)


LMFAO. Another reason not to buy an iNovelty. I am an adult, I do not need some stuffed shirt telling me what I can and cannot have access to.
\
F*ck apple

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 15:48 1

11. moronman66 (Posts: 159; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)


This just strikes me as prior restraint from Apple, which isn't illegal in a private ecosystem, but it would make me feel like I'm in a, granted, quite luxurious, prison system. Sure, there's a hot tub and a bunch of other things, but those things you can get in the outside world. And there are no conjugal visits, which are available if that's what you're into in a free-ecosystem. So luxury prison or dangerous open world? That's just what I think, if you disagree then that's your opinion and you're entitled to it.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 20:11 1

12. tbacba (Posts: 57; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Kind of like, a long long time ago, where AOL kept us 'protected' from the big bad internet from within their walled garden. And how's that workin' AOL? People will always go with choice, eventually.

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 01:05

13. Luuthian (Posts: 201; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


This has always been somewhat difficult for me. On one hand I love Apple's hardware. On the other hand, I truely do detest a number of their philosophies. Problem is, to get such beautiful hardware and software I am forced to use their devices.

I honestly wish I could find solace in Android, but I can't. Not quite yet. The environment is still too fractured and little too wild west for me. I'm waiting though. My Galaxy Nexus had a good run before I bought my iPhone. Once Google nails the recipie, I'm in.

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