CYBERSPACE—Who needs Steve Jobs to complain about porn on iDevices when the mainstream press is so willing to carry the torch for him? But that’s exactly what happened as news of the addition of a Cinemax app to the App Store has sunk in.
This weekend, one media outlet after another weighed in on the approval of the Max Go app, which most saw as being in violation of the company's anti-porn policy, which states: Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster's Dictionary as 'explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings,' will be rejected.
So what’s the problem with Cinemax? In addition to regular mainstream movie fare it also includes low budget soft porn movies made for distribution on these channels, though some have also seen DVD release. The movies tend to be focused largely on T&A, often featuring popular adult industry performers, with B-movie-level acting, facile scripts, plenty of nudity and some viewing of genitalia, but nothing erect and no visible oral sex or copulation. Some things, in other words, are still left to the imagination.
One of the complaints about the app’s approval has to do with fairness or a lack thereof. According to TG Daily, “This is sure to add fuel to the fire among developers who feel Apple gives preferential treatment to larger companies. For example, when it performed a massive purge of all apps that had any sort of nudity or provocative content, Apple had no hesitation about keeping the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or the Playboy apps up and available for purchase.”
Fair enough, but shouldn’t the main complaint still be about Apple’s anti-porn policy, which is pretty incomprehensible if you take a second to think about it? For instance, why is the company against “activities intended to stimulate erotic feelings?” Don’t erotic feelings also encompass emotions? Can’t an erotic feeling also include an aesthetic experience? Are any of these mutually exclusive? Well, maybe the answer is simple: For Steve Jobs, they are.
But if one were to take the restricted definition literally, would it not also preclude any number of mainstream movies distributed by Cinemax, and maybe even ones that have a PG rating? Don't oodles of regular movies also stimulate erotic feelings?
In truth, staying on the straight and narrow with that policy is going to become increasingly difficult for Apple, which at the end of the day wants to control the distribution of content and thus make more money than it would with an open-source model. The policy was always a slap at Google and Android as much as it was an attempt to replicate Jobs' id. In time, it will soften, like the Cinemax porn, and quietly go away.