CUPERTINO, Calif.—Steve Jobs is the gift that keeps on giving—especially if you’re MiKandi, the porn app marketer/developer that focuses mostly on Android devices. That’s because the iconic iconoclast has a real problem with porn and can't stop saying so, even if it puts him at odds with adult consumers who want to enjoy adult fare on Apple devices without running afoul of the company’s policies. For the second time in a month, Jobs has pointed to porn as the problem.
Earlier this month, Jobs responded to a question during a live iPhone OS 4.0 event about whether he plans on enabling unsigned applications like Android and Palm OS by telling the questioner, “There’s a porn store for Android. You can download nothing but porn. You can download porn; your kids can download porn. That’s a place we don’t want to go—so we’re not going to go there.” He was, of course, referring to mobile adult app store MiKandi, the owners of which were ecstatic at the news, to say the least.
Now Jobs has done it again, but this time he was not speaking off-the-cuff but in an email to a consumer complaining about a recent App Store rejection. The complaint had to do not with porn per se but an app by satirist Mark Fiore that apparently contained some celebrity-oriented material that violated the company's definition for "materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory."
The consumer, Matthew Browing, wrote Jobs directly, saying, “It appears that more and more Apple is determining for its consumers what content they should be able to receive. I'm all for keeping porn out of kids’ hands. Heck—I'm all for ensuring that I don't have to see it unless I want to. But ... that's what parental controls are for. Put these types of apps into categories and allow them to be blocked by their parents should they want to.
"Apple's role isn't moral police," he continued. "Apple's role is to design and produce really cool gadgets that do what the consumer wants them to do."
Jobs’ response, which, we repeat, was presumably made not in haste but deliberatively, once again stressed his intense disinterest and dislike for adult fare on “his” devices.
“Fiore's app will be in the store shortly,” he wrote Browning. “That was a mistake. However, we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone.”
As with Jobs’ first porn complaint, the world will probably scratch its collective head once again in trying to decipher the meaning of these comments, especially considering the fact that people can access porn through browsers. A curious omission was a lack of response by Jobs to the comment about parental controls. One might assume that Apple would embrace filtering technology, especially considering its stance on porn.
Not that any of this is bothering the good people at MiKandi, who responded to a request for comment from AVN with obvious and anticipated delight.
"We think it’s excellent that there is more clarity from Apple and we’re happy to work with any mobile app developers who are impacted by Apple’s decisions,” said MiKandi president Jesse Adams. “Our developers love that our audience is all 18+ and that we’re clear with consumers about what’s going on, so we’re excited to continue building the first app store that treats you like an adult."
According to Q Boyer, director of public relations for Pink Visual/Top Bucks, a leading technology and adult production company that has long since embraced both the iDevices and, more recently, Android devices, the recent anti-porn talk from Apple’s leader is not without meaning or significance.
"As I've said all along, it's Apple's app store, and they can run it as they see fit,” Boyer told AVN.com. “I just think it would be nice if Mr. Jobs could state his real reasons for denying Apple customers porn apps, rather than pretending that it has anything to do with an ethical stance on his part. That claim is tired, clearly flawed, and deeply insulting to the intelligence of anyone who knows what that Safari icon on their mobile device is."
Boyer might also have been implying that Apple sees its future more closely aligned with institutional, or academic, entities than with the great unwashed and uncontrollable mass of open-source advocates and their unruly devices. In a “walled garden” scenario, in other words, one must abide by a more corporate (i.e. conservative) code of morality if one hopes to acquire not only exclusive rights to content but also potentially lucrative contracts with universities and colleges to use your products in “iPad labs” and other such classes.
That’s a cynical observation, to say the least, but certainly no less contemptuous—or curious—than Jobs’ latest jabs.