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Cellphones Businesses Handhelds Apple Hardware

Apple May Loosen Restrictions With iPhone 3.0 178

Posted by kdawson
from the minimallly-invasive dept.
mr100percent writes "Apple rejected the iPhone aggregator app Newspapers because of a topless photo in one of the app's subscribed-to papers. In the rejection message, Apple noted that Parental Controls have been announced for iPhone OS 3.0, adding that it 'would be appropriate to resubmit your application for review once this feature is available.' Rumor sites are speculating that Apple will relax their content restrictions once the 3.0 update puts parental controls in place. This may mean that apps like NIN will be allowed in the future."
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Apple May Loosen Restrictions With iPhone 3.0

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  • Right. (Score:2, Insightful)

    I'll be over here using my blackberry to browse porn and run whatever the hell I want. Shame I can't make the copy/paste joke anymore though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by davester666 (731373)

      Yeah, the application approval process Apple is using is totally fucked up. They seem to have a group of people doing it, most of whom are reasonable, but there are a couple of them with suspenders attached to their thongs, rejecting apps for all kinds of stupid reasons.

      But this whole 'objectionable content' thing is total crap, because the way Apple seems to be applying it, they should be rejecting all the 3rd party browsing applications (which just wrap WebKit in different ways), because they all permit

      • by corsec67 (627446)

        Wouldn't this mean that if Apple's own browser had to apply to be on the iPhone, it would also be rejected?

  • by jordan314 (1052648) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @01:48AM (#27842255)
    I wonder if this will mean apps like Newspapers will be labeled as "Mature Content" similar to CDs? It still seems absurd and hyper conservative that a newspaper application would have that label, but I guess it's better than the overt censorship that's going on now.
  • by Aurisor (932566) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @01:56AM (#27842307) Homepage

    Even if those changes are forthcoming, it's still ridiculous that an expensive piece of technology used primarily by adults has such puritanical restrictions on it. I realize it does reflect poorly on Apple to have apps that are in very poor taste (e.g. the one where you shake the baby...), but it's pretty obvious that mainstream bands like NIN are an acceptable part of American culture.

    I work in technology (but not a tech-only office) and this fiasco is definitely getting noticed and is clearly reflecting badly on Apple.

    I'm not sure whether the concept of a parental-controls setting was the product of a deliberate leak to address this issue or if it was just part of the plan all along, but I seriously doubt that a significant portion of the iPhone userbase is comprised of children who might have not been given the phone if the app store weren't policed. It seems pretty clear to me that Apple is more than happy to piss off their users and snub even Trent (who is considered rather avant-garde in the music biz) if there's any risk to their image.

    • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @02:16AM (#27842401)

      The iPhone is a nice technology demonstrator, but it's things like this that make it useless. Complete control over content, no tethering, no background apps, no user space that mounts as a USB thumbdrive, severely restricted syncing options (you can only sync to one computer, so if you want to load some stuff from your laptop on to your iphone while on the road, you have to erase everything you put on it with your desktop, for example.) No apps allowed that 'duplicate existing functionality' on the iPhone - meaning you have to wait for apple to fix the ongoing bugs in the mail client and Safari - namely that the mail client doesn't properly download POP3 messages even when you ask it to ("0 bytes remaining" and never displays the message unless it connects to Wifi) and Safari still has that dumb bug where it re-loads pages when you switch between windows. Painful when you're not on 3G.

      There's a lot you can do with a hacked phone, but then you're missing out on everything else. It's kind of a lose-lose situation. It works well within its very limited scope, and if you're happy with that scope, it's a great product. If you want it to be more useful, it's deeply frustrating.

      • by Ender_Wiggin (180793) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @02:21AM (#27842425)

        Usless to who? Most people, including my mother, don't need those for their iPhone. The average user does not have those complaints. My sister's biggest complaint with the iPhone is that you can't use the keyboard in landscape mode for texting the way other touchscreen phones can (and that's why she eagerly wants the 3.0 update)

        Those features would all be nice, and I think 3.0 will fix many of those complaints like tethering and background notifications.

        • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

          Those features would all be nice, and I think 3.0 will fix many of those complaints

          No it won't. And if the average user does not care either way, it makes more sense to give the sophisticated user the ability to run the applications of their choice, since the naive user won't be bothered to, if they actually cared about serving the customer's needs. But they don't. They serve Apple's needs, not the user, and not the developer.

          It's called expectation management. If people don't know what is actually possible

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Usless to who? Most people, including my mother, don't need those for their iPhone. The average user does not have those complaints.

          Most people don't complain about censorship either, yet it still affects their lives negatively because they don't even know what they're missing.

          I wouldn't compare this to actual censorship; Apple is not the only smartphone manufacturer. It's still lame, and yes, one more reason not to buy an iPhone. Who knows what other fantastic applications will never exist because of the chilling effects of Apple's iron hand?

      • by SuperKendall (25149)

        The iPhone is a nice technology demonstrator, but it's things like this that make it useless.

        The millions of people who bought one because of the functionality it offers may disagree.

        Complete control over content

        Except that anyone can jailbreak them if that bothers them.

        no tethering

        Again, jailbreaking if that is important to you.

        no background apps

        Well, no app store background apps. Some of the built in apps do in fact operate in the background.

        no user space that mounts as a USB thumbdrive

        As the saying goes,

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @07:44AM (#27843709) Homepage Journal

          Suggesting jailbreaking is a stupid answer to legitimate complaints about failings of the device. The average user is not going to do it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by NatasRevol (731260)

            The "average user" won't need to do most of what the GP was whining about either, so I think it's a draw.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              The "average user" won't need to do most of what the GP was whining about either, so I think it's a draw.

              Uh what? Let's just take a look at that list:

              Complete control over content, no tethering, no background apps, no user space that mounts as a USB thumbdrive, severely restricted syncing options (you can only sync to one computer, so if you want to load some stuff from your laptop on to your iphone while on the road, you have to erase everything you put on it with your desktop, for example.) No apps allowed that 'duplicate existing functionality' on the iPhone - meaning you have to wait for apple to fix the o

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by NatasRevol (731260)

                No, most users will not be doing
                - tethering - generally only heavy travelers, with laptops.
                - USB thumbdrive - most users don't have thumbdrives.
                - syncing options - most people with an iPhone have most of their media in one place, iTunes.
                - bugs - yeah, waiting for vendor fixes is unique to Apple.

                Just because your mom does some of these things, doesn't mean MOST people do. Respectfully, your mom is an edge case.

                I'm not saying these wouldn't be nice options, they would be. An

              • by Dog-Cow (21281)

                If people are doing it with other devices, they certainly don't need the iPhone to do it.

                The people who use iPhones don't need all that functionality to make the device useful to them.

                The people who need that functionality do not use the (non-jail-broken) iPhone.

                There's no problem here. Different devices for differing needs. I fail to see how there is an actual problem.

        • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

          The solution to despotic control over the things you own is to exploit security flaws within it? And that is praise for the despot?

          Rationalize, you magnificent fanboy, rationalize!

          getting up to snuff with their own application solutions

          Oh, you ruined it! You can do more with a five year old Symbian phone than you can do with the iPhone.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by thebigbadme (194140)

        you can only sync to one computer

        technically true, however, you don't have to sync your device with a computer in order to load music onto it. In fact, I've found that you only need to sync for pictures, and apps. I never sync music, not even from one computer, but I use 3 different computers regularly to load music onto my iTouch (the limitations in this area are the same between touch and phone) and have used 2 others as well with no problems.

        Just drag and drop inside of iTunes

    • used primarily by adults

      Really?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by enoz (1181117)

      These restrictions should not be a surprise to anyone who hasn't been living under a rock. It is exactly the same type of restrictions that Apple applies to all their products; be it iPod, iPhone, OSX or whatever else you can think of.

      Apple controls the products and they control the distribution channels (iTunes, App Store, etc). Most people who buy iPhones are slaves to the App store, just as most people who buy iPods are slaves to iTunes, and most people who buy OSX are slaves to buying Apple Hardware.

      • by cgenman (325138)

        It is exactly the same type of restrictions that Apple applies to all their products; be it iPod, iPhone, OSX or whatever else you can think of.

        The NIN content that Apple found objectionable can currently be bought from iTunes, just not as an app. Similarly, OSX is a pretty well understood platform that really only needs hardware developers to bother creating compatible drivers. You can put any content you want on iPods, and there are a wide variety of secondary apps to do this if you don't like iTunes. [yamipod.com]

        Re

        • Even the app can be purchased, just not the update. Which contains a song that is already available on iTunes.

          As someone else said, if Andy Kaufman was still with us, he'd be doing this all over the place and having a great laugh at the retarded & hypocritical controversies that he stirred up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      I realize it does reflect poorly on Apple to have apps that are in very poor taste

      No, it doesn't. It reflects poorly on those that created the app.

      Some people are just retarded, and would call the street builder criminal because someone got killed on their streets.
      Which reflects poorly on those people.

    • "...but it's pretty obvious that mainstream bands like NIN are an acceptable part of American culture."

      Ok, I like Nine Inch Nails. Quite a bit. But, let's be real - what America are you living in that makes you think that NIN are an acceptable part of American culture? First, I would imagine that a majority of Americans have never, in their lives, even heard of NIN (which makes it obvious they aren't remotely a part of "American culture"). Second, I would imagine that a very large percentage (possibly eve
      • by kchrist (938224)

        The very fact that his music has been heavily featured on commercial radio pretty much makes him part of popular culture. "Alternative" popular culture, sure, but pop culture nonetheless.

    • by drolli (522659)
      Yes, as the owner ok a Nokia phone i sometimes look envious to the iphone users when it comes to multimedia (but by no ways in general regarding the technology), but all the times the apple policies are disdussed the envy stops rapidly.....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @01:58AM (#27842315)

    Who the fuck buys their kid an iPhone?

    I want to be adopted.

    • by Divebus (860563) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @02:03AM (#27842345)

      Ballmer's kids had to buy their own.

    • by Angostura (703910)

      It's not that I buy my kids an iPhone, but they do occasionally get to play with the iPod Touch (for example on long flights I pop a kids' film on there, or they play a game). Having parental controls makes sense, I suspect.

      • WHY do parental controls make sense?

        I have a 4 & 7 year old boys.

        I have an iPhone that they play on occasionally.

        I make sure the games, movies & music that are on there when I give them the phone are appropriate to my family morals.

  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @02:20AM (#27842417) Homepage

    "because of a topless photo in one of the app's subscribed-to papers"

    That is indeed a tasteless photo. How could they not be wearing a turtle neck sweater? This reeks of disrespect for The Jobs!

    • by kramulous (977841)

      I'm always up for viewing some topless pics. I wish somebody would post a link to it. I tried to watch the whole video but seeing Trent do an Apple advertisement had me wanting to claw my eyes out and jam chopsticks into my ears {aside ... currently eating ... join the dots on what /aside}

  • At Apples whim. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mjwx (966435)
    Restrictions wont be loosened because the restrictions are ambiguous and inconsistent. Racism (pocket god), violence (pick a shooter) and infanticide (baby shaker) are OK but a third party mail client is not?

    In simpler terms restrictions will remain the same, applications will be accepted or rejected entirely at Apples whim.
    • Initial acceptance can be a little random but stuff that does not meet guidelines does get filtered eventually.

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      Not to mention Flash Lite 3. Could easily be on the iPhone but Jobs won't let it because it 'runs too slow'. Goodbye easy streaming audio/video.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I know Apple-hating always wins an applause around here, but your description of how things stand is a substantial (and deliberate) distortion. Apple acknowledged that approving Baby Shaker was a mistake, and quickly removed it from the store; Pocket God is only racist according to the most paranoid leftist point of view; shoot 'em ups are subject to the same rules of decency as any other app, and none of those available in the store seriously qualify as adult material. Third-party mail clients are banned f
  • I mean, here you got hardware with Java native support (processor chosen by Apple got the Jazelle option), with a license that prevent JVM to be installed on it !!!

    All right, we all know that "Java is too slow" was touted by Steve simply because he need exclusive application to ensure the success of his pay-per-download platform.

    Allowing Java would have simply killed the exclusivity, because Java is né multiplatform and some order of magnitude easier to develop with. Having let people the choice

    • Just last night I installed a Java stack on my jailbroken iPod touch 2G. I got JamVM for a lightweight JVM, Jikes for a compiler, and JDBC drivers/JocStrap for libraries.

      The JVM weighs in at around 2MB, and the libraries were about half a meg each, IIRC. JocStrap is described as a Java/Objective C connection library.

      So far as JocStrap goes, I haven't had a chance to look at it; not sure if 'connection' means bindings or wrapper classes or what. However, the fact that the JVM is included makes me ass
  • by quangdog (1002624) <quangdog&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @03:24AM (#27842767)
    My only real complaint with the iPhone comes as the result of having developed a few applications that are currently for sale on the iTunes app store, and it goes like this:

    I'm not allowed to interact with my customers.

    I frequently get feedback (both positive and negative) on the applications I've written. I'd love an opportunity to comment on this feedback, either to address concerns or to graciously accept the accolades. However, Apple keeps a stranglehold on all feedback from customers, and does not permit you to know much of anything about how to contact the customer directly.

    I wish this was different, and is one of the reasons I've taken a break from iPhone development for a while.
    • Well, I do hate the fact you cannot reply to reviews (sometimes that would be *very* helpful), but did you ever think of starting a forum or finding a well established on-topic forum to post in?

      I did both with Rogue Touch (yep, iPhone programmer in my spare time too). I post regularly at TouchArcade and also created my own forum for people to socialize and get help (at http://www.chronosoft.com/ [chronosoft.com]). It's been a great way to get suggestions and interact with users of my game, and I recommend it highly over
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by quangdog (1002624)
        I've written 2 apps so far: Points [App Store Link [apple.com]], and Velocity [App Store Link [apple.com]]. For Points, we have set up some forums on our regular corporate site where users can interact directly with us, which works relatively well for dealing with customers who are happy the application, but we rarely hear from the folks with problems.

        But for Velocity, (which was done in my spare time rather than for my day job) I've not bothered. Why? Well, really because Velocity is such a stupid-simple app that there is l
    • by Stele (9443)

      Exactly. We get those 1-star "reviews" from people who can't be bothered to read the in-store documentation, the in-app help, or even be bothered to just experiment with the app for 5 seconds before claiming a certain advertised feature is missing and therefore we are outright lying. I would love to reply to those and say "you are either too dumb to use this app or are 10, go away" and revoke their "review".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by llevity (776014)
        Wouldn't being able to revoke reviews entirely defeat the whole purpose of user submitted review?
        • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:15PM (#27847037) Homepage Journal

          I think there needs to be some kind of a tagging mechanism so that all users - authors and customers alike - can bring problem reviews to Apple's attention for consideration.

          There's an app to stream local National Public Radio stations. Last time I checked, it was filled with reviews like "needs more alt rock: 1 star" or "only had people talking boring!: 1 star". I wish I could tag those "nonsensical".

          I've seen plenty of reviews like "this works exactly as described - I love it!: 1 star" because the reviewer mis-selected the rating before posting their review. Maybe we could tag those "inconsistent"?

          I saw a review this morning that said they'd been using it for over a month, but the app was first published three days ago. That deserves a "shill" tag.

          If I were implementing the system, you'd only be able to see your own tags so that you couldn't unduly influence others with poor moderation. They'd be strictly for Apple's use in identifying bad reviews.

    • Why can't you do like others do?
      1. Update the description with how-to's, bug fixes coming soon, etc.
      2. Reply to feedback with feedback. ie reply to the reviews with your own reviews.

      It's certainly not ideal, but it is one way to interact with your customers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)

      I frequently get feedback (both positive and negative) on the applications I've written. I'd love an opportunity to comment on this feedback, either to address concerns or to graciously accept the accolades.

      The reviews suck for customers, too. There's a budget app from iBearSoft called "Money". It got great reviews, but after buying and installing the app, I discovered that it was just awful. I mean, really horrid. You have to put end dates on all recurring income and expenses for some reason, and when I put an end date of January 1, 2039 on my paycheck, it literally took over 5 minutes to recalculate my budget. Also, it doesn't matter that my wife gets paid a monthly salary: it insisted on dividing that

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by quangdog (1002624)
        This raises the question: How do you shill lots of reviews in the first place? I've tried to leave feedback, but found I had to own the app first. So, I waited about a month after I released the app and had no reviews before I bought a copy myself and added a review.

        But I could only add one.

        Do these unscrupulous developers just create a bunch of iTunes accounts and buy their own apps so they can post lots of favorable reviews?

        That's just stupid.
  • This is truly mad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Budenny (888916) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @03:49AM (#27842881)

    We have some company deciding that people should not be able to install an application which contains a graphic of ladies with no blouses. You can buy every day at a newstand in the UK two or three newspapers which have, on page 3, pictures of ladies with no blouses. Anyway, Apple does not want you to see these pictures as part of an application on the phone you have just bought.

    But then, after you've bought the phone, you can browse the web to the page 3 sites or others, and see those same pictures.

    So what on earth are they thinking? Do they really think there is something terrible that people should not be allowed to see in something as commonplace as ladies without blouses? What exactly is so terrible about it? Do they really think that banning this awful stuff from the apps makes any difference at all to what people look at and see on iPhones?

    These people are going completely mad in terms of an obsession with interference which they mistake for control. But worse than that, their values about what they want to control are all screwed up.

    Do you all still think this is "cool"?

    • There's lots of alternatives. Even in Soviet USia.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      But then, after you've bought the phone, you can browse the web to the page 3 sites or others, and see those same pictures.

      An interesting angle I hadn't even considered — Apple is engaging in protectionism. They have an artificial monopoly on tits on the iPhone.

  • I'm just overjoyed that someone on the internet used "loose" correctly.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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