The new version of the iPhone operating system was announced today, bringing multitasking to the latest model of the handset and, later this year, to the iPad. One particular moment from the question-and-answer session stood out, quoted here from Gizmodo:
Q: Are there any plans for you to run unsigned applications, like on Android?
A: There is a porn store for Android to go to. You can download them, your kids can download them. That's a place we don't want to go. We're not going to go there.
It reads like an easy answer, to avoid explaining competitive objectives that some may find disconcerting. Bear in mind, however, that Apple recently removed most adult apps from the AppStore, except for mild stuff from established, predictable publishers like Playboy. Idiosyncratic! Maybe.
But even if we accept that companies just want to control their products, what are we to think if these products (including 'open source' copycats where devs are kept in larger cages) are successful enough to become a common medium for art, news, commerce and speech itself? A DMCA-shaped unfree-speech zone is fast becoming the hottest and most profitable place to make cultural and creative investments.
Moreover, if Apple takes its position here seriously, why wouldn't it ultimately wish to clean up other things that your kids might download from–such as the web itself?