Insanely great or just plain insane?

/ 1 August 2009

I just noticed another Apple iPhone App Store practice that seems insane: their rating system. Apple tries to rate items on a movie-like scale of 4+ (rated G), 9+ (kinda PG), 12+ (sorta PG-13), and 17+ (like R, but worse). Apps with a 17+ rating cannot be downloaded by iTunes accounts owned by anyone younger than 17. Even I, as the parent of one such young iPod owner, can’t give my child permission to download a 17+ item.

So far so good. But here comes the crazy part: Apple had rated RSS readers as 17+! Why? Presumably because they can access web content that is naughty. So now my son cannot, even if I give him permission to download an RSS reader.

What’s crazier? Apple’s own Safari browser on the iPod can access all the same content, but they have given that to my younger-than-17 son. In fact, I’d say a web browser can get to much naughtier content than most news readers.

What’s completely insane? Apple has rated some RSS readers 4+. Others 17+. Others are not rated at all. Every one of these apps does the exact same thing! Why the variety of ratings? You won’t find any explanation from Apple, they don’t explain their ratings.

Just another way Apple is hard at work killing the iPhone!

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