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The Media Apple

Apple Reverses Rejection of Ulysses Comic 422

Posted by timothy
from the they-need-to-consult-with-chatroulette dept.
gyrogeerloose writes "In yet another of what's become an almost predictable cycle of events, Apple today reversed its rejection of the 'Ulysses Seen' web comic, admitting, 'We made a mistake.' The comic is now available in the App Store — just in time for Bloomsday, June 16. The comic's author, Robert Berry, is pleased, and adds that Apple 'never acted as a censor, never told us what we could or could not say. ... We didn't believe these were good guidelines for art, but respected their rights to sell content that met their guidelines at their own store. Apple is not a museum or a library for new content then, so much as they are a grocer.'"
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Apple Reverses Rejection of Ulysses Comic

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  • by Tetsujin (103070) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:36PM (#32593040) Homepage Journal

    It's easy to feel good about Apple's policies, when they work out in your favor. :)

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "It's easy to feel good about Apple's policies, when they work out in your favor. :)"

      When one is a fanboi/fangrrl/fan-nullo ALL their policies can be creatively construed as tasty.

      I, for one, welcome my Applelicious overlords and hope their stay atop my queening stool will meet with their favor. :)

    • Why should we feel good about Apple's policies? They arbitrarily censor content on the iPhone/iPad, and they only back down when it looks like more than a handful of people might be angry over it. I do not think Apple would have changed its decision on Ulysses had the story not made the New York Times; most of the applications that Apple rejects are never reconsidered, even in cases that are clearly censorship.
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      It's easy to feel good about Apple's policies, when they work out in your favor. In much the same way as it is easy to feel good about lynchings when you are white, yes.
      • It's easy to feel good about Apple's policies, when they work out in your favor. In much the same way as it is easy to feel good about lynchings when you are white, yes.

        Geeze. That's even more offensive than a Godwin. Congratulations. You may be interested to know that over the years many people of all colors have taken stands against lynchings, risking their own skin, regardless of its hue, for the sake of their brethren.

  • Gatekeepers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:37PM (#32593052) Homepage Journal

    The fact that Apple *could* reject apps for not meeting their rather precise ideas about what "The Apple Experience" should be like is still a big problem. If it's not an open platform, it's a step backwards.

    • It is a big problem? It is a step backwards?

      If you are correct then an IPad/IPhone with an open app store should sell like crazy. It sounds like you are the next Steve Jobs. What's holding you back?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SydShamino (547793)

        He forgot to invent a superior web search algorithm in 1997, thereby failing to found Google and becoming a billionaire corporate executive able to fund Android development.

    • The fact that Apple *could* reject apps for not meeting their rather precise ideas about what "The Apple Experience" should be like is still a big problem.

      I disagree. The fact is, Apple is offering a choice that we've only seen in one other case so far - Steam.

      The App Store is Steam, generalized to all applications. The favorite word of the moment is curated - Apple says the store is curated, my which they mean the apps in the app store have some level of QA and editorial filtering applied, just as you wo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by metamatic (202216)

        Apple says the store is curated, my which they mean the apps in the app store have some level of QA and editorial filtering applied, just as you would find in the exhibit of a museum.

        That'll be why the app store contains quality apps like Less Cigarette [apple.com], iWatermelon [apple.com], Mirror [apple.com], Wart Healer [warthealing.com] and Farting Grandmas [apple.com], while blocking the Google Voice app.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Draek (916851)

        Now you would say, but users can create applications outside of Steam. That is true - but the same is true of the iPhone, via two paths.

        The first is of course Jailbreaking, millions of people do this and Cydia will sell you anything you want to buy. It's not as huge a market but it is plenty viable, and it's most viable for the users that care the most about a truly open system - developers.

        The second path is web apps. Given the abilities of HTML 5, and the hooks into most (if not all) of the device sensors like location, orientation, and touches - you can produce most of the applications people would want to use these days in a web app. That path is also totally open as Apple cannot block (and does not try to block) whatever you visit via the web.

        Yeah. And my TV can do the dishes, as long as I build customized hardware for it, then rewrite the TV's firmware to allow it to control my dish-washing extension, and then add the dish-washing functions to my remote.

        There's possible and then there's practical, and neither Jailbreaking nor Web Apps are the latter, sorry. The former because few users have the technical how-to to even attempt it, the latter because you simply *can't* make a Web App as polished as a native one, nor can you charge for it in the

  • Big surprise there (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gearloos (816828) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:38PM (#32593064)
    Big company stomps some poor guy--then finally after all the bad press turns around and changes their mind. Big Surprise there. like thats never happened before.
    • by wealthychef (584778) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:42PM (#32593118)
      I wonder if they ever review and reverse rejections that are not widely publicized. If anyone had a story like that, it would be interesting to hear.
      • Every day (Score:4, Informative)

        by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:13PM (#32593544)

        I wonder if they ever review and reverse rejections that are not widely publicized. If anyone had a story like that, it would be interesting to hear.

        Yes.

        In some cases of course, rejections are because an app crashed or the UI was bad. In each and every case, Apple tells you what you need to fix to be accepted.

        In cases where you violate policy, you can state your case and say why you think your application does not violate the things they think it does.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:40PM (#32593086)
    Having used his iPhone to locate the best pork kidneys in Dublin, Bloom spends a useful day selling context-sensitive ad clicks for his website, before skyping the hospital to check on Mrs. Purefoy. Having checked with his webcam and discovered Molly up to nookie with Blazes Boylan, he checks his iHo app for the best dominatrix in Dublin. While there he meets Stephen Dedalus, who has spent the day wandering around using location reporting to avoid Buck Mulligan. They end up in Bloom's kitchen planning an app to provide tourists with tours of the bits of Dublin the tourist board doesn't tell you about, before Bloom goes upstairs, takes a photo of Molly's ass and emails it to Boylan. The book ends with Molly updating her Facebook page with a comprehensive dissing of Boylan's performance, and her tearful announcement that from now on she's going to stick to Leo.
  • I think the artist has it right. Apple is not a museum or a library, and free speech is not at issue. They are more like a grocer, where they stock as much inventory as possible that they feel is appropriate to their venue. And like a grocer, they screw up sometimes. OK, often.
    • by Bakkster (1529253)

      Apple is not a museum or a library, and free speech is not at issue.

      Agreed. It's reasonable to disagree with the policy when it does things wrong or stupid. It's unreasonable to bring topics like 'free speech' and 'programmers rights' into it, because they either don't apply, or don't exist.

    • by baxissimo (135512)
      They are like a grocer who has a monopoly on where you can buy your food. I would be perfectly happy with Apple being as autocratic as they like with their app store if it weren't the *only* source for apps for their platforms. It seems blatantly anticompetitive to me. Consider if Microsoft decided you could only buy Windows apps through them. It would never be allowed. Apple is seriously strolling right down the path toward a massive DOJ action against them.
      • by hondo77 (324058)
        The iPhone is far from the only smart phone out there so they sure don't have a monopoly. Don't like Apple or the iPhone? Then buy something else. You have lots of choices. One is bound to make you happy enough to quit whining.
      • I would be perfectly happy with Apple being as autocratic as they like with their app store if it weren't the *only* source for apps for their platforms.

        Then it is your lucky day!

        Millions of users continue to buy full applications from Cydia with no Apple control whatsoever.

        Even more users use the unrestricted Web, where anyone can build a web app that does pretty much anything.

        Apple never was the only source, just the easiest. The same way Apple was never the only course for music for most people - just t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MBCook (132727)

      I don't mind Apple's policies at all. If they don't want to sell certain kinds of things, that's fine. I would actually prefer they get rid of more of the ultra-juvenile stuff, like the fart apps.

      The biggest problem Apple has is how arbitrary this stuff feels. An app was OK for 3 revisions, but the new bug fix, which doesn't change content, is suddenly bad because of something that's been there for quite a while. There is no good checklist that you can look through and be reasonably certain that your app w

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:20PM (#32593628) Journal

      What you and your fellow capitalists presume is that the museum and library despite endless cost cuttings will always be there. What is iTunes becomes the ONLY music seller and music publishers no longer give libraries the right to lend out music for free? What then?

      What when Amazon becomes only the book seller? What then? The issue at hand is NOT what happens now when Apple is a relatively minor player in the distribution of content but what might happen if it continues to grow.

      Would anyone have cared about Microsofts security problems if OS2 has not been made to fail (with a lot of help from MS). If you could still go into any shop and buy an Amiga? If Sinclair had a 2010 version? No. Then MS would never have been in court for abusing its monopoly and we would have laughed heartily at its attempts to do so.

      When a Christian book store decides to carry only proper Christian books, they should be free to do so. But when that book store becomes a national chain, replacing all the other book stores, then this freedom becomes a serious liability. We could end-up with the self-censored state. Were you are free to publish anything you want, you just can't get it published. Or rather, sold. Everyone has a printing press but the market is locked up. Not by the state but by people who conveniently think the same as the most repressive censors.

      Think of the Walmart effect applied to freedom of speech. Walmart ain't the devil. It doesn't force you as a manufacturer to work by their rules. You just won't be selling your items in their store if you don't. If the local grocery tries to get a manufacturer to dictate its terms, it will be told to get shafted. A large retailer might be able to negiotate a deal but Walmart TELLS you how things are going to go. it doesn't negiotate a price-cut. It tells you that you are going to cut your prices. You WILL play by their rules and the bigger they get, the more they can do this and the more you will hurt for not playing by their rules.

      Look at the rise of the censored music cd spefically editted for the large retailers. It ain't state censorship, although it is mighty coincidental that what some in power want to be censored happens to be censored in the largest retail chains.

      Ever noticed the curious lack of reporting of the issues around copyright by the big media? Or how if Futurama mentions filesharing this is always a bad thing? Gosh, well it must be true then because media producers would NEVER report one-sided on an issue that affects them.

      Now imagine say MS-NBC be the only news source (or at least the only one most people access). How often do you think you would get reports on Windows security issues then? And NO, the CURRENT situation with PLENTY of competition for MS-NBC does NOT count. Now they have to, because people will hear it somewhere else. But what if they don't have to?

      You only have to look to Italy for the effect. Berlusconi controls the media and amazingly they completly fail to report on any of the issues around him. Or whenthey do they just happen so share his point of view. Freedom of the press? Yes, the state ain't telling them what and what not to report, but I don't think it is the freedom you imagine.

      In MS world, exploits don't happen and since they don't happen you don't report on them and you don't patch them. Luckily it ain't a MS world and some people do find exploits and publish them and then MS has to patch them but they get very miffed about it.

      What if it was an Apple world? What if iTunes was the music store for 99% of the people. Sure there are alternatives but nobody uses it. What if the iPad becomes THE new way to read books and if you don't get accepted by Apple, your book just doesn't get noticed. Would you then still defend their censorship?

      You claim that Apple is like a grocer. That means you are an idiot. Because Apple is a grocer then it is Walmart. Do you LIKE Walmarts censoring of music? How about 10 years in the future when they are the only store left?

      Protecting freedom is not about what you have today, but what you would have in 10 years if you do not fight for it now.

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:42PM (#32593110)

    Apple is not a museum or a library for new content then, so much as they are a grocer.

    While many may have troubles understanding this (which is why I'm going to quote it in the hopes of it being read again), it is nice to see that the person directly impacted by things least understands it well (which speaks greatly of his character).

    • The problem is that it's the only grocer in the town for the iDevice users. And Apple considers it illegal to try to shop at other groceries.

      • Yet, oddly, when I google "cydia" I actually find an app store for iDevices. Yes, they need to be jailbroken, but the consumer may make that choice. If they do make that choice, there are consequences - namely that they can probably kiss tech support bye bye but I have yet to hear of anyone having their door kicked in by the cops and being arrested for jailbreaking one's own device and installing apps via Cydia.

        Or did I just miss the news of people being arrested for deciding to jailbreak their device and
  • Grocer's keep the objectionable content behind the counter in plain brown wrappers. Why can't Apple do the same?
    • by Duradin (1261418)

      Whoah, you didn't warn me about the 's' at the end of a word there. And you were talking about grocer's of all thing's.

    • Grocer's keep the objectionable content behind the counter in plain brown wrappers.

      Apple does. They have a rating system and a number of apps are rated 17+. You can set up parental controls on a device to block some levels of content.

      However grocers have limits on pornography they will sell, just as Apple has limits on how sexual in nature an application will be. You can't buy hardcore materials in the average grocery store, and you can't buy outright porn in the App Store.

  • Sony, Microsoft? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamie(really) (678877) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:46PM (#32593142)

    Why no complaints about Sony and Microsoft? They both have a number of machines for which you must pass a draconian test to even get a dev kit. Basically, if Apple made the devkit $10k then you'd all be happy? Locked in systems have been around for more than a decade. The difference with Apple is that the devkit is $100 and anyone can publish on them.

    I've had games rejected by Sony and Microsoft: you fix the problem and send it back. No different on the Apple store. Apple is usually quicker tho.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bsDaemon (87307)

      Actually, the dev kit is free. It's only $100 to get the signing certificate to allow you to deploy to a device, rather than just run on the simulator. However, when you consider that in order to write for an Apple mobile device, you also have to have an Apple computer, you may as well factor in the cost of your macbook or imac or whatever in as part of the cost of the dev kit. Of course, if you already had the Mac anyway, then sure, the dev kit is free. But it's still a higher barrier to entry if you i

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        consider that in order to write for an Apple mobile device, you also have to have an Apple computer

        Downside: you have to buy a Mac

        Upside: you get to have a Mac

        Dislaimer: I just bought a Mac for exactly this reason. NextStep is pretty cool even if it is 20 years old now.

    • by FrostDust (1009075) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:03PM (#32593394)

      The complaints are there because the iPhone is a mobile phone, not a game console.

      Gamers are used to the idea that their systems can only play "approved" media, with the indie/homebrew developers being seen as on the fringe.

      With mobile phones, at least with smart phones, you can install whatever program you can manage to find. A Blackberry, Win Mo., Symbian, etc. device doesn't require you to get approval before installing a program. They act like most PCs, where you can install what you want, but it's your responsibility to not install harmful stuff.

      While Apple's strict control over their App store may have had a hand in the success of their products, but it's a phone, not a video game system. Treating it the same as a Xbox is disingenuous at best.

      • by Tetsujin (103070) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:37PM (#32593886) Homepage Journal

        The complaints are there because the iPhone is a mobile phone, not a game console.

        Gamers are used to the idea that their systems can only play "approved" media, with the indie/homebrew developers being seen as on the fringe.

        With mobile phones, at least with smart phones, you can install whatever program you can manage to find. A Blackberry, Win Mo., Symbian, etc. device doesn't require you to get approval before installing a program. They act like most PCs, where you can install what you want, but it's your responsibility to not install harmful stuff.

        In that sense, it's like a battle to control people's expectations. Gamers are, as you say, used to game consoles being inaccessible to homebrew. In that case, if mobile phone users become "used to" paying for ringtone versions of songs they already have, or getting charged disproportionately large amounts of money for simple features like text messaging, or arbitrary restrictions on how they can use "unlimited" data plans, or (as in the case of Apple) losing the right to install software that's not been authorized by Apple - then will these policies then be OK? If people's expectations are adjusted to fit what the device provides, then there's no problem, right?

    • It's the question of gaming console vs. mobille computers.

  • New form of media? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by webdog314 (960286) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:46PM (#32593148)

    The problem may be that Apple (or rather developers using Apple) is presenting Apps as a content distribution media (iTunes). People with content that could easily be placed on the (unrestricted) web, are choosing to use Apps as a means of selling their wares. I doubt very much that Apple will restrict what books it sells on the iBooks store based on their content. Or maybe they will.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      I doubt very much that Apple will restrict what books it sells on the iBooks store based on their content. Right. It's not as if Apple would block an eBook app just because someone might download the Kama Sutra using it! [macnn.com]
      • by webdog314 (960286)

        I didn't say ebook APP, I said iBooks, as in the epub books Apple sells on the iBooks section of iTunes. That was the whole point.

  • -sigh- (Score:5, Informative)

    by ultramk (470198) <ultramkNO@SPAMpacbell.net> on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:03PM (#32593400)

    They review on the order of 10,000 apps a week. This kind of thing is inevitable when you have a limited number of people with that kind of workload. People are making judgment calls all day, so some edge cases are going to get miscalled. Humans are making the decisions, and humans make mistakes.

    They say that 95% of apps get approved within one week. That means that about 500 apps a week are rejected for various reasons. Here on /. we see these rejection stories about once every two weeks. That means for every 999 apps that are rejected, 1 is controversial. Almost all of those controversial decisions get reversed.

    I wish my record of decision making was 1/1000 blown calls.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      I wish my record of decision making was 1/1000 blown calls.

      You really think that is all they fuck up? Really? That is just the number that they fuck up that are big enough to make slashdot.

      I don't care why it is hard for them to do it correctly, I care that they do it at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's almost certainly too low. People seem to forget that the iPhone dev kit still comes with an NDA that prevents you talking about rejection. The fact that there's a constant flow of stories despite that indicates that the rejection rate is almost certainly far higher than anyone suspects.

        And no I don't believe Apples 95% figure. Why should I? They have put apps into a "not rejected yet not accepted" state before, so as far as I'm concerned anything they say about the app store has to be treated with a

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They review on the order of 10,000 apps a week. This kind of thing is inevitable when you have a limited number of people with that kind of workload. People are making judgment calls all day, so some edge cases are going to get miscalled. Humans are making the decisions, and humans make mistakes.

      The review process is there solely because Apple has decided to put it their, for their own benefit. Consequently, they have a moral obligation to contribute whatever resources necessary to reasonably minimize mistakes - such as, you know, having more than one reviewer go over any given app separately, and only reject if all reviewers unanimously agree that this should be the case.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:30PM (#32595548)

    Okay, let's follow this analogy out. If Apple is a grocer, then the iPhone and iPad are like refrigerators for the goods you purchase at the Apple grocery. Funny thing, though -- I can put products from any grocery I want into my refrigerator. Obviously, the iPhone/iPad are brand-specific refrigerators, something that doesn't actually exist in the real world.

    This is what we call a reductio ad absurdum or, in modern parlance, calling bullshit.

    What Apple is really like is one of those totalitarian homeowners' associations in an expensive condominium development. You bought the condo, but if you want to change anything about it, you have to pick from a list of approved changes and pay the association to have one of their hand-picked contractors do it for you.

    Some people like living in those developments despite the restrictions because there's a certain amount of prestige -- mostly among other residents -- involved in paying way too much for a tiny space that you don't actually control. And like iPhone/iPad owners, the residents of such developments are baffled that everyone else doesn't want to live there, too.

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