An Open Letter to Steve Jobs:

Dear Steve Jobs,

You simply cannot have it both ways. And you cannot expect developers to take this offensive action on your company's part silently. Specifically, giving hardworking authors the go-ahead to create 17+ rated apps, and then ripping the rug out from under them without any warning, this is unacceptable. It is an outrage!

The iPhone is your toybox, true. You are legally entitled, I imagine, to create any rules you feel fit and enforce them, but by acting all wishy washy like this, nobody will want to play with you anymore, no matter how shiny your toys are.

Some examples of what's apparently still being allowed in the appstore, and what's been removed:

The "Fitmind" app is designed specifically to help treat legitimate medical issues! It is gone, and yet there are still tons of the crapplications there in the store, still so easy to find!

The iPhone's parental controls do work for apps too, and if I want to filter out risque apps on my phone it's quite simple to change the setting in my phone. I just need to select one option under the Parental Controls, and then any apps rated as 17+ aren't even visible until I say so again!

But even so, there is this terrible silliness with Apple's rules for app ratings. If these apps must be rated as 17+ to be approved:

Then why are these available at the lowest 4+ rating:

It just doesn't make consistent sense!

Perhaps the blogosphere has the wrong impression here. If this recent action on Apple's part is just a first step to help rectify these parental ratings for apps, then I am all for it! Let non-porn apps (like Safari replacements) have a less restrictive setting, and risque apps have an adult-only setting. Heck, in the forthcoming iPhone OS version 3.2 and/or 4.0, you can change the defaults so that nothing 17+ is allowed unless enabled (ie. opt-in instead of opt-out). That would potentially annoy current users, but it would be a sincere gesture on Apple's part that you are taking the issue of "inappropriate apps" seriously.

In any case, this is a situation where Apple cannot remain silent.


Darcy Boese