We reported earlier today that Apple had made the major decision to stop restricting App Store development tools. They also promised to make their App Approval process more transparent. To that end, they've posted their review guidelines for all the world to see. My favorite parts?
"We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store. It may help to keep some of our broader themes in mind:"
First off, Apple has absolutely banned books and even removed the Kama Sutra for a brief span of time. The company even banned a comic at one point. It's hard to tell what Apple will and won't be okay with from day to day, and this list doesn't really help.
"We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, "I'll know it when I see it". And we think that you will also know it when you cross it."
The problem, of course, is that every single person on earth has a different definition of where that line is. Apple's definition is likely to change from day to day. This policy is no guarantee that it won't. If anything, it further cements the fact that Apple's approval process is lopsided and inconsistent. And why is Apple doing all this?
"We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don't work unless the parents set them up (many don't). So know that we're keeping an eye out for the kids."
It all comes down to protecting the children. Their parents can't be relied upon to do it so the Apple corporation, guardians of public decency that they are, has to step in.