Click to viewApple has been trying to keep scantily-clad women out of the iPhone app store. It's a hypocritical crackdown, with apps from Playboy and Sports Illustrated given a free pass. And it's going to ruin the iPad for magazine content.
Apple's ongoing war on porn gets some notice in the New York Times today, with the paper pointing out that Apple has banned apps like Dirty Fingers, where a woman in a bikini "cleans" your iPhone screen, while allowing an app for SI's annual swimsuit issue, and one from soft-core monthly Playboy. Here's how Apple VP Phil Schiller tried to justify this double standard:
Mr. Schiller said Apple took the source and intent of an app into consideration. "The difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format," he said.
This transparently weak explanation isn't flying; even blogger John Gruber, a frequent Apple defender, couldn't see how Apple's inconsistent ban on "sexy," in his formulation, was "anything other than hypocrisy."
And Apple's nudity fight is only going to get more self-defeating with the release of the iPad. The video above is excerpted from Sports Illustrated's demonstration of its forthcoming tablet edition, which will let you can touch your way through videos of half-naked swimsuit models writhing in swimming pools and on swings. How is Apple going to explain allowing that while banning SlideHer, the puzzle app built from a still picture of a scantily-clad actress?
That's just the editorial; the advertising is often even worse, particularly with sexyholics like Condé Nast readying a bunch of iPad editions. Here are Wired staff showing how they'll put print ads on the iPad and other tablets; here's an ad from a Wired we had laying around:
Gratuitous upskirt shot notwithstanding, that's pretty tame compared to the content in other Condé Nast publications. Here's a campaign from fashion magazine perennial Calvin Klein:
Even the New Yorker can get racy:
Welcome to the world of magazine publishing, Apple, where converting nudity into dollars is a tried and true — and wholly acceptable — practice. It's time to give sexy free rein in the iPhone app store again. Heck, the company should consider going a step further, and opening a store for real porn. It's how every other medium took off.