iPhone: This is not censorship

Blair Hanley Frank

Credit: Loos-Diallo

On Feb. 19, Apple began the systematic removal of every app in the iTunes Store that is designed to titillate, arouse or otherwise stimulate. All of the apps designed to showcase scantily clad women (and men, for that matter) have, for the most part, been removed, effective immediately. Tech pundits at large have been mouthing off about how Apple is censoring the iPhone and inhibiting expression.

For the uninitiated, there were something close to 5,000 apps on the iTunes store with names like “Asian Boobs,” “Sexy Scratch-Off” and perennial favorite “iBoobs.” Anyone suggesting these apps are worth saving is dead wrong. Sure, it was sudden and unannounced, but as far as I’m concerned, Apple did the right thing.

For example: “Asian Boobs” made it into the top spot of the most downloaded paid apps in the App Store on the weekend of its release. I remember that weekend. Honestly, looking at that icon of a woman’s silhouette on a red background gave me a skeezy feeling. The iPhone is a sleek, classy piece of gadgetry. Apps dedicated solely to the display of scantily clad women diminish that for me.

Now, some people are saying that Apple is being hypocritical. After all, it’s possible to buy R-rated movies and incredibly explicit rap from the iTunes store. If you can see naked mammaries and listen to incredibly explicit music already, a plethora of girls in bikinis is relatively tame, right? Well, there’s one major difference between all of these breast-related applications and other media: On some level, everything else is art: though the artfulness of each piece is debatable. The applications in question are simply designed to provoke a baser response in the viewer.

Why shouldn’t you care? There are a few very good reasons. First and foremost, the iPhone is connected to the Internet. This is the same Internet that will deliver all of this content, in many cases, without you having to pay for it! Also, it means that people aren’t confronted with the idea of having these apps on their devices every time they go onto the iTunes store. Then there’s the issue of kids and the App Store, because although it’s impossible for them to download apps with questionable content, assuming the parental controls are set up properly, it’s still possible for them to see what apps there are, including their screenshots and icons, which in many cases are less than savory.

So, complain about censorship all you want, but get your half-naked pictures out of the App Store. Seriously, it’s disgusting to think about.