Friday, October 2nd, 2009

What do You Think of iSinglePayer’s Rejection for Being “Politically Charged”?

To recap: the creator of iSinglePayer, an app that claims to document “the inefficiency of the US health care system”, is complaining about Apple rejecting the informational app, preventing it from appearing from the company’s widely popular App Store. The creator has thus accused Apple of “censorship”, claiming that it is inconsistent by allowing “certain propaganda” on the App Store.

iSinglePayerIn a certain sense, that claim is valid. How many RSS readers are available on the App Store? Ranging from free to several dollars in price, these kind of apps allow users to subscribe to liberal websites like The Huffington Post, or its right-wing counterparts. iSinglePayer’s creator pushes the Drudge Report app as an example of this alleged inconsistency.

To be honest I haven’t read what Apple publicizes as criteria for getting an app approved for the App Store. What’s clear for me though is the company’s consistent stance that they exercise control over the App Store to protect the users’ experience, to keep them from using apps that may severely affect the iPhone’s operation from a user-friendliness standpoint.

So what does that have to do with refusing an app on the grounds that it’s “politically charged”? Perhaps the availability of iSinglePayer on the app store may offend some of health care reform’s opponents, but how is that related to user-friendliness? There are also Bible apps officially available for the iPhone and iPod touch; using the same logic behind iSinglePayer’s disapproval, shouldn’t these be disallowed, on the grounds that they’re “politically charged” for atheists?

Again, the App Store is Apple’s creation, and they’re free to do what they want with it. But this whole issue (or “issue”, depending on how you look at it) is another situation that has left observers scratching their heads—and future iPhone developers wary of investing time and money into the App Store ecosystem. What do you think?

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