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The Weekly Round-Up: 26.02.10

Want your app to win favour with Apple? You got to keep it clean
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

Want your app to win favour with Apple? You got to keep it clean

Apple has long inspired lust in its fans with its seductive hardware. But - despite the old adage that sex sells - Apple has decided that enough is enough when it comes to the saucy apps that have been springing up in its App Store.

Apple has culled an estimated 5,000 applications from its App Store which it has deemed to be too naughty. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a number of these feature attractive young ladies in various states of undress.

Apple's product marketing chief told the New York Times the clampdown has come because developers have been submitting more and more apps with objectionable content. Apple is likely to be concerned that too many risqué apps could hurt its appeal with families - especially in the run up to the launch of the iPad, which is certain to fuel more demand for apps over the next few months.

So far, so understandable. But the developers (and presumably the avid consumers of such applications) weren't very happy. Even worse, not all apps were treated the same way. While the Wobble iBoobs (you can probably guess what that does) was taken down, the Playboy and Sports Illustrated swimware apps are still available.

And on top of this, it's not just apps that are a little bit racy that were caught in Apple's cull.

Simply Beach, a UK-based swimwear retailer had its shopping app removed from iTunes. The company received an email last Friday telling it the app had been taken down, part of which read: "We have decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App store, which includes your application."

Gerrard Dennis, MD of The Simply Group which runs Simply Beach said at first he thought the email was spam - until they checked iTunes and found their app had vanished.

"It seems like political correctness gone mad. It's just women in bikinis, swimsuits and kaftans," he fumed, adding: "I assume all clothing retailers that sell anything other than overcoats will now have to be removed from iTunes?"

Fortunately, at least in this case sanity has prevailed - by Tuesday night the app had been quietly restored to the App Store to the delight of UK swimware purchasers, but with no word from Apple...

Surfing the web is a stressful experience. It might look like you are simply sitting in a chair, drinking tea and ordering some books and DVDs when you should be working hard on that report, but no - negotiating the web can be a mental minefield.

A web-experience consultancy has carried out a neurological experiment to investigate the concept of 'web stress'. The experiment used an Electroencephalography cap to monitor the brain activity of participants.

This looks rather like a shower cap with lots of wires sticking out of it. Expect to see it on the catwalk at London Fashion Week next year.

The Round-Up would get stressed just putting it on, for fear it might mess with its hairdo.

The cap measures the Alpha waves in the brain, which reflect how relaxed a person is. High levels of Alpha means a person is extremely relaxed or asleep, or rendered unconscious by exposure to a 100-slide PowerPoint presentation.

Low levels shows a person is concentrating hard on a task and may indicate stress, for example the realisation that their favourite naughty iPhone app has just vanished from iTunes.

The research found consumers have high expectations of web applications and websites - to be always available and instantly responsive. And when these expectations aren't met, people quickly become agitated, confused and have to concentrate 50 per cent more than normal.

Agitated, confused and stressed? It's not the job of the internet to leave office workers in that sort of state. That's the main purpose of the IT department.

Young people. There are probably some in your office now, with their improbable haircuts, skinny jeans and obsessive use of Facebook on their iPhones.

But - take that, youth of today - researchers have discovered something that older people are better at.

According to a sample of 50,000 users of online trivia game BrainDash, players get faster and faster at answering questions until they hit 44 years old.

An 18 year old, on average, takes about 6.0 seconds (slowcoach) but by the age of 44, this speeds up to 4.9 seconds. However, from 45 years onwards, the response time starts to slow down again and at the common retirement age of 65, it takes a lengthy 7.8 seconds to find the correct answer. Strangely after retirement age, however, things improve again up until the age of 73 where the average answer takes a speedy 5.5 seconds.

The Round-Up isn't sure what to make of this - it would suggest that maybe older people are quicker at answering trivia questions because they've had more time to fill their brains with useless information. But still, it's good to see the oldies winning out for once.

In other news this week: It's a datacentre. It's in a box. silicon.com has the pictures. What's not to like?

Offshoring - everybody's doing it, so why can't the government get involved too? The Round-Up can think of one excellent reason to do with the votes of the techies on the losing end and an impending General Election.

And finally - feast your eyes on the latest crop of smartphones, smartbooks and eye-controlled earphones.

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