Apple maintains its sanctimonious streak by denying Playboy

Company should let customers have best possible user experience on their high-priced iDevices

iPad-wielding prudes, take heart: Apple is holding tight to its "no nudes is good nudes" policy and has no intention of letting girly-magazine purveyor Hugh Hefner soil the pristine Apple App Store with a filthy native app for viewing uncensored past and present issues of Playboy.

That news might come as a disappointment, though, for on-the-go oglers who were titillated by reports of an iPlayboy app on the way. That news was spawned by none other than Hef himself via Twitter: "Big news! Playboy -- both old & new -- will be available on iPad beginning in March." A follow-up tweet asserted the issues would be uncensored.

It ain't quite so; it turns out Playboy is going to roll out a service through which users can access the Playboy archives via the Internet -- a move that falls under the category of too little, too late for a publishing company whose value has dwindled from $1 billion in 1999 to around $210 million today. Per Playboy, "The service will be iPad compatible and will utilize iPad functions." The functions aren't clear. Touch, perhaps?

Additionally, Playboy plans to create a native app for the Apple App Store through which users can access censored versions of Playboy. Reportedly, the magazine contains articles, along with risqué jokes that presumably are acceptable, in Apple's view, for its customers to consume.

This comedy of errors marks the latest chapter in Apple's vain and self-defeating effort at playing protector of the masses. The company has two choices: It can accept the fact that some of its customers do, in fact, want to view exposed body parts on their devices, whether it's full-frontal nudity or a pixelated naughty bit in a graphic novel version of classic literature. Whatever the case, Apple can help meet the demand by letting providers create native apps to give users a smooth, nonbuggy, and possibly more secure viewing experience. That, after all, is the point of offering native apps rather than delivering everything through browsers.

The other option -- and it looks like Apple is sticking to this road -- is to continue blithely disregarding customer demands in an ongoing display of misdirected sanctimony. Apple is telling customers, "You might want a certain type of perfectly legal content on a device you bought from us, and there might be companies that are willing to present you with that content in a format that is optimized for that device. Sure, you can still view it on the device via our Safari Web browser, which does support the Web version of the content. It just won't look as good. So there."

This article, "Apple maintains its sanctimonious streak by denying Playboy," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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