back to article Apple fine-tunes app censorship

Apple will extend parental controls to applications in its upcoming iPhone 3.0 software and iTunes 8.2, thus helping to calm some of the ongoing brouhaha over its erratic App Store censorship policies. According to a report by 9to5 Mac, the next versions of the iPhone OS and iTunes will allow parents to set age-appropriate …


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  1. Ian Davies

    I'll tell you why a 3 year-old would have an iPhone...

    ...because his Dad lets him play simple (and not-so-simple) games on it.

    My son was 3 when I got my iPhone last summer, and he was immediately fascinated by it. As a result, I would download suitable games (like pair matching, boxes, Labyrinth) or applications (drawing, doodling, flick book etc) and let him play under supervision. He's gradually progressed to more complex games so that he now knows more about chess (Deep Green) or projectile physics (Cannon Game) than most 4 year-olds probably have a right to.

    He also now expects everything to have a multitouch interface...

    Anyway, he's now responsible enough for me to allow him to use the phone without me looking over his shoulder all the time (although I'm never out of the room) but occasionally he does get lost, usually by accidentally pressing on a banner in an ad-supported app. So far, he always tells me when it's happened and comes to me to fix it, but there's always the chance he could end up seeing something inappropriate.

    Parental controls would mean he could safely play at times other than when I am free to supervise him, which is not that often.

  2. Muscleguy

    Rating? Easy

    How to rate 35k apps? Make the authors do it on pain of being delisted with a threat that if they get it too wrong it will be delisted. Called outsourcing i think.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    At last

    The toy built for children can now be safely used by children.

    Evil jobs - he's a wanker

  4. Ian Davies
    Jobs Halo

    @AC (wanker)

    ahhh... the first mistake of the ignorant: to mistake uncomplicated for unsophisticated

  5. Serenity
    Thumb Up

    Sexting Teens

    "Come to think of it, that last restriction could have prevented those sexting Pennsylvania teens from landing in a heap of trouble."

    IIRC the iPhone does not yet have MMS capability, so really, just having an iPhone would have prevented the secting teens from landing in a heap of trouble.

    (yeah, yeah, still has e-mail)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's an improvement

    As such I applaud them for it. However unless they clearly define to the people developing for and using the App Store what their criteria for censorship is then they are essentially still in the same boat. Drawing the same bad publicity and still risking derailing the App Store money train.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No reason

    "Apps, according to the report, will be rated at four levels: 4+, 9+, 12+, and 17+. Why on god's green earth a three-year-old would have an iPhone?"

    Obviously they wouldn't, since there are no apps for 3-year-olds, only 4 or older.

    My two-year-old plays on my laptop. She can type, although only knows how to spell a few words so she isn't doing novels or anything, use a mouse, use the touchpad. Far more stimulating than the tv. Give her another year and she'll be programming with the best of them.

    But god forbid a child using a high-tech device to play games! Only adults should be able to do that.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Parental controls

    There's no parental control, like parental control.

    Except self-control. Which is far cooler but harder to come by.

  9. Darren Burrows
    Paris Hilton


    Come OS 3, it will. So I'd say its perfect timing.

    Paris, because I suspect that she too partakes in the occasional bit of sexting.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Muscleguy

    I was about to say the same thing - not only does making the author do it save them money, it also put the burden of the app being incorrectly rated on the author, not Apple. Plus, if 50% of the authors of the 175 (or however many there are) fart apps don't bother to respond to the request, well, Apple just moves them out of the store.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    @Most of the AC's/anti-iPhone crowd

    I'm going to let you into a little secret. No. One. Cares. What. You. Think.

    Bad press? Only in the VERY small geek world. Admittedly this may affect business adoption, however, iPhone seems to be fairing quite well in that particular sector too. Look at it this way, there are at last count 17,000,000 iPhones in the wild (not bad for a 2 year old product...) and based on Apple's recent satisfaction ratings (80% I believe) at least 13,000,000 of those punters are satisfied with their chosen product and the service afforded them (that's 4 in 5 - pretty good I'd say). Before the AC's come back with "my Nokia Nxx/HTC/Android is bestest because *I've* got one" schoolyard type ill thought out arguments et c. take a look at this; . I think it paints the picture rather the well. So Nokia/Windows Mobile/Android fanboys, I don't care if you will buy one or not. For the love of God. Shut up. The iPhone is a success. You were wrong. Move on.

    I find it interesting that Apples censorship pisses so many people off. If we think outside of our comfort zone for a little bit (and I know for most of you this is hard), Apple are based in possibly the *most* litigious country on the planet. This is a country where fatty's can sue fast-food companies and where smokers sue cigarette companies for getting smoking related illnesses. It is also a *very* religious country, where bad language and even the joys of toilet humour are often frowned upon by a *very loud minority*. Why risk *real* bad publicity by allowing an app into the wild that would offend normal (and I mean that in the loosest terms) people?

    This is a move in the right direction, and frankly, I think the scale and success of the App Store has taken Apple a little by surprise (I *know* all you FAIL monkeys out there are surprised - the amount of people that said iPhone would fail on release, then told us with relish how the 'closed' app store will fail...). As for how to update the apps, Richard Drysall and Muscleguy hit the nail on the head - make the developers do it as part of the submission/update process. It's not too difficult when joined up thinking is used, as opposed to mouth foaming ranting...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks to the Beta Testers

    For there ongoing support of both time and money to Apple while we churn out this tat. You will be rewarded by lock-in and Apple's failure to respond to anything of importance.

    S Jobs

    P.S. I am a wanker

  13. B

    @Mac Phreak

    While I don't agree that any censorship is a move in the right direction I do agree with your analysis of Apple's awareness of the legal landscape. I also enjoyed your (accurate) rant towards the haters and the pointless (and now proven historically wrong) arguments about how the iPhone will fail. As wise as they think they are, they somehow haven't managed to see that their opinion matches that of Steve Ballmer, thus proving them wrong. I imagine if they ever came to that realization they would run screaming into the night.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Three Year Old iPhone Users

    Shame on you! A three year old probably won't own an iPhone, but my grandson frequently uses his mother's iPhone. The adults in a checkout line were amazed to see him select Youtube, goto the History page and then watch his favourite kid's programs. He also surfs kid-safe sites that are linked from the Home page and plays games. He hasn't mastered the App Store yet, thankfully. I've advised his mother to strengthen her password.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mac Phreak

    I don't own one single Apple product and I agree with your analysis; I do have an alternate view of the logic behind application control/censorship. Microsoft are also based in the US, but they don't do this.

    What Apple do on the Mac is control the hardware and software (OS) - I believe this is a major factor why people seem to experience significantly more stable environments than Windows PC owners. Apple have a phone which is really a computer with a radio bolted on; they aim to have the same level of control of the environment (e.g. no multitasking) to give a stable experience (and preserve battery life). The "adult content" censorship may cease once parental control is working.

    I might even buy my first Apple product (iPhone) in early June if the phone has a better camera. I would like Flash support (some web sites rely on it) but I guess there is no chance of that.

  16. david kaufman

    Fart Bomb app blocked?

    Will "Parental Controls" need to be turned on for my 9 year old to tun the "Fart Bomb" app??????

    Even dogs of all ages fart.

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