iTunes app store and 17+ content

With OS 3.0, the iPod/iPhone and Apple’s iTune’s store support content ratings. This is good: I’m all for free expression, adding another layer of maturity (pun intended) to what’s available, etc. However, I don’t want to have to see it and I think Apple should do better. There are two issues:

  1. I have to opt-out of seeing 17+ (or 12+ or whatever) content. This means I need to know that there is such a preference and where to find it and change it.

  2. Even if I opt out, the App store still shows me the objectionable (and often objectifying) apps. iTunes won’t let me buy a restricted app, but I still see them (and since sex sells, the most popular application listings usually contain stuff I’d rather was left out).

In my opinion, Apple should make two changes:

  1. Filter what is shown in iTunes before I get a chance to buy it. The app store makes it easy to download and buy. If I don’t want to see pornography (or if I don’t want my kids to be exposed to pornography), then I don’t want to see that “hot babes whatever” is the number 2 application today.

  2. Make it easier to opt-out of the potentially objectionable content.

    • Unless there is a legal reason for having the out-of-the-box behavior be “show everything”, then Apple should err on the side of caution and hide anything not suitable for general audiences.

    • If free-speech laws mean that everything must be seen by default, then make setting up these controls a required additional step the first time the new iTunes is started. (Yes, this isn’t ideal for a host of usability and don’t piss people off reasons but it would make iTunes a better citizen).

It’s great that Apple is opening up the store to more interesting (er…) applications but there is no reason to flaunt this new content where everyone can see it. Parent’s would rather this stuff was harder to find and people that object to objectification would rather not be reminded of it every time they go to the App store.