Despite speculation it may not happen, Apple has approved the addition of the MAX GO app to the iTunes App Store. Max Go is a video streaming service being offered by Cinemax, coming at no additional charge with your existing subscription.
The company advertises having over 400 movies from the Hollywood hit lists as well as indie titles and the Max After Dark series. It is this After Dark series that is causing all of the controversy, because many feel the movies shown in this category qualify as soft-core pornography, which could violate Apple’s strict policy of denying adult content in their store.
The app does contain a disclosure that you must click in order to download it stating that you must be 17 years of age or older.
I may belong to the liberal minority on this one, because I believe in policing your own exposure to things that you find offensive. Nobody is forcing you to download this, or any other app from the App Store. It isn’t being delivered by default on your devices.
Even if you did download the app to discover that it contained material you find offensive, you could either delete it or choose to stream only the content that you prefer. And before you yell ‘BUT THE KIDS’ in my direction, I also think that as parents we should be supervising our children’s choices in this regard. You cannot download an app without an account and password, so shielding them from the risk seems rather straightforward.
For that matter, I think people should be entitled to decide for themselves what they find enjoyable to watch and what they find objectionable. Just as many people find offense in movies with excessive violence, gore, drug use or cursing and yet movies that contain these things are still allowed.
Besides which, what passes for ‘porn’ these days? When a wardrobe malfunction can ignite a nation, one has to wonder –how many mainstream movies or even television shows contain something that would technically qualify?
For the moment, Apple agrees and the app stays, but this could change and the app withdrawn at any time. But if they do, I would say chances are good Cinemax will go the same route as Playboy: bypass the App Store entirely and create an HTML 5 web application that doesn’t require Apple’s approval.
By comparison, Android users do not face any restrictions of this type on their apps.
With complete monopoly over which apps we have available for our iOS devices, should Apple be deciding what material is inappropriate? With allegations that Netflix is as much an offender, providing content that is equally as pornographic, should their App Store approval be reviewed? Should there be an ‘adults-only’ section in the App Store?
Is it Apple’s moral responsibility (as they have stated publicly) to protect us from porn?