Is Apple losing its cool?

Critics of Apple fanatics have said that there’s nothing special about Apple, and it’s unfair for Microsoft to be labeled an uncool big corporation, when Apple is just a big corporation too.

Nevertheless, Apple products do have that special something that makes them likable. In the case of OSX, that special something is just being smooth and fast and working properly.  The iPhone effect on the mobile industry has been incredible. It’s incredible any company could jump into a developed market and revolutionise it just like that, and it’s incredible no established mobile manufacturer had made something that worked that well before.

There is something cool about Apple, and as a corporation they seem to get a lot more right than many. It’s a surprise, then, that the iPhone App Store seems to be getting stuck in controversies.

First was the Babyshaker app, that was bizarrely approved even though it was obviously offensive. Then Apple failed to approve applications for really odd reasons. The Nine Inch Nails app, that would allow users to link to an album with potentially offensive lyrics was banned, despite that material being easily available through iTunes (it was later accepted).

Now we have Eucalyptus, a reader that uses an online library of out of copyright literature. It was rejected on the grounds that you could read Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana – an English translation from the 1800s! The developer wisely pointed out this library is freely available on the internet, and you’ll only find that book if you expressly search for it, as you would using Apple’s own Safari. Apple have now accepted the application – but they must have people in their approval system with very strict ideas about objectionable material.

It all seems very un-Apple, and tarnishes their image as “the cool corporation”. Arbitrary bureaucratic absurdity is the thing of governments and faceless corporations – why are Apple doing it? Perhaps these strange decisions are just wrinkles in the system that will be ironed out. There are so many apps being submitted, maybe its not so bad to make the odd mistake.

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