How Apple became your parents (updated)

Apparently we're not trustworthy enough to use the devices that we give Apple our hard-earned cash for.

The App Store was purged of over 5,000 boobs, babes and bikini apps over the weekend in a move that shocked (and potentially bankrupted) hundreds of app developers while making puritans proud the world over.

I question why Apple chose this route instead of simply relying on the iPhone/iPod touch's Parental Controls feature (pictured). It's as simple as grabbing your kids device and going to Settings > General > Restrictions and checking the appropriate option.

Are we not trustworthy enough to use the devices that we give Apple our hard-earned cash for? Apparently not.

At least Apple's argument over its ban of Flash from its handheld devices has some technical merit. Apple claims that Flash is buggy on Macs and that it would cut the iPad's battery life to 1.5 hours. But still, shouldn't you be able to enable Flash playback at your peril on a device that you own?

The answer is no. Apple needs to protect you from yourself.

Apple could even display a warning to the effect that "Flash is buggy and will drain your battery" when enabled. I've made this point before and stand by my thesis that Apple is being disingenuous about Flash. The real reason Apple won't put Flash on its devices is because it's a competitor to the App Store and would cut into its bottom line.

This makes Apple's sexy app purge seem even more random and nonsensical. If Apple is truly concerned about App Store sales and by extension, shareholder value, why would it remove 3-5 percent of its apps on a weekend whim? Shouldn't Apple encourage devs to create more apps so that it can get 30 percent of every sale? I guess business is so good at the App Store that it can afford to pick and choose who gets the tables at it's little pocket flea market.

Every idiot walking knows that Apple's banning of apps like Pocket Girlfriend and their ilk does nothing to stem the tide of racy content on the iPhone and iPod touch. Free porn has been available on the Internet since before Mozilla 1 and is available to anyone who taps on the Safari icon. And let's not forget the scores of racy audiobooks, R Rated movies and porn podcasts that are available in iTunes.

Apple just created a huge double standard by banning 99% of apps containing any of the three B's while still allow Playboy and Penthouse apps to remain for sale. Sports Illustrated is still allowed to shill its three (count 'em) swimsuit apps but UK swimwear retailer Simply Beach had its shopping app swept up in the Apple raid over the weekend, costing them precious sales.

Update: The Simply Beach app was re-instated at around 3pm ET, with "no word from Apple on the subject"

Allowing larger publisher's booby apps while denying small developers the same privilege invites a legal challenge and further illustrates the ineptitude at Apple. I don't buy Phil Schiller's paper thin excuse that Apple removed the sexy apps because of complaints from women and parents. I'm sure that they get lots of complaints, but there's something else going on here that Apple isn't divulging.

Update: Venture Beat's Kim-Mai Cutler hypothesizes that Apple cracked down on racy appsa in an attempt to woo textbook publishers to the iPad. Makes perfect sense to me.

What's your take on the Cupertino Thought Police's bikini ban?

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