Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is well known for its controlling nature when it comes to the content offered on their services. The company has rejected apps on its app store for several reasons that raised prostests from users and developers alike. Apps have been rejected for such reasons as ridiculing public figures, for having offensive content and for simply competing with the company’s own services. Today however the firm may have overreached on censorship to an extent likely to rouse much heated debate over the company’s policies. On its iTunes store the word Jailbreak can no longer be used without redaction.
The news was reported today by AppleInsider.com. It seems the Iris rock band Thin Lizzy’s hit Jailbreak now reads J*******k on the store. The censorship appears to be the blanket kind used by many online comment interfaces and other platforms.
Jailbreaking is the act of removing the limitations of the iOS platform allowing users to use devices on other cell carriers and download apps not approved for the iPhone by Apple’s store. It has become popular among people wishing to customise and Tweak their iPhone but has been fought hard by Apple who wish to see their products as they designed them and seek to control the retail market for apps. Each app sold on Apple’s platform gives apple a 30% fee on the price paid.
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The censorship of the word appears to be a mistake by Apple who hardly meant to obfuscate the song’s title or the title of several other songs of the same name. Apple Insider reports that an iPhone app called Jailbreak has also had its title censored. With the mass reporting of the issue it seems likely the company will fix the problem as soon as possible in order to minimize the damage.
Apple’s censorship of the products and services it provides to its growing customer base is often more subtle. The company rejects developers privately and unless an app has been rejected for something particularly heinous or silly it doesn’t make it out into the public eye.
The censorship of a word referring to an activity Apple doesn’t agree with seems like a ludicrous attempt to stop said activity. Somebody must have though it was a good idea and that somebody is probably in trouble right now.
Apple’s censorship has sailed along because it offers customers fantastic products and has managed its Public Relations well. The censoring of Jailbreak, assuming it is fixed, will not be remembered by many. It is just another example of Apple extending its power. We’ve only heard about it because this time the company failed to react with its usual finesse and design sensibilities and instead went with a sledgehammer.
Apple has been quick to address the problem and has already fixed the issues. The word Jailbreak is now displayed in full on Apple’s iTunes store and App store. The company does not appear to have made any public statement on the issue and has not officially recognized it at all it would appear.