“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.”
We try to keep this blog as objective as possible, but recent moves by Apple has unfortunately brought out very subjective opinions from people here – including myself. The latest issue revolves around Apple removing the iChatr App from the iPhone. If you’re unfamiliar with iChatr it is basically a video chat app that uses the front facing camera for random video chats – think mobile Chatroulette. According to the developers, the app was pulled “due to reports of a number of users exposing themselves during the random video chat sessions.” You can read more here.
Now that the explanation is out of the way, let me start with the rant. When is Steve Jobs going to stop forcing random censorship on iPhone owners and trying to tell us what we can and can’t install/have/view on the iPhone???? What’s next, removing other chat apps for people swearing at each other? This goes beyond a software/app issue as it’s the way people are using it that is the cause for censorship via removal. iChatr functions exactly like Face Time though the connections on iChatr are random and anybody using the app knows that. If people start exposing themselves on Face Time is Apple suddenly going to pull their own Face Time chat app from the iPhone platform? This not only reeks of self indulgent censorship on Apple’s part but also exposes Apple’s increasingly anti-competitive nature.
Recent video chat apps such as iChatr and Fring have suddenly been coming under fire after being initially approved by Apple and posted to the App Store. What my gut thinks is that these apps were approved but then someone at Apple realized that these were in fact competitors to Face Time and iChatr was promptly removed, with Fring presumably close behind. I tried to explain how mobile video chat would take off in this previous post, but only through software that was multi-platform and allowed users to talk to each other on different handsets – like Fring but not like Face Time.
This latest move by Apple is another serious misstep and I’m really at a point of ridding myself of Apple and the iPhone once and for all. I want a device that I can put what I want on it and not have somebody else telling me what is appropriate or not on the device I purchased. Apple’s views and policies are increasingly going against the very basic principles this country was founded on.
At least the Gizmodo community thinks this is ridiculous too. If you feel differently, feel free to comment below or hit me up on Twitter @kobrakai.