Dear Steve Jobs,
First of all, let me say, I am a big fan. I was not one of the early Apple users who had an Apple product before it was “cool”, but ever since I got my Macbook over a year ago, I am now what they call a “fanboy”. I own numerous iPods and other Apple products, and I have been known to argue the point, specifically regarding the iPhone, that despite its shortcomings, it remains the most advanced mobile platform to date.
However, and I will get straight to the point, your rejection policy is starting to raise some serious questions in my mind, especially after last week’s developments. I know there is a lot of talk about Apple rejecting all sorts of apps, such as Google Talk, and some apps that were deemed inappropriate. Let me clarify off the bat that I am not one of the people who are opposed to censoring apps all together. As a mobile blogger, I use many different phones, and when accessing the Android Market, I see clearly that there is a need for some sort of filtering mechanism when it comes to approving apps. However, the big question is how far do you take it? In my opinion, Apple has taken it too far.
I am referring to an app submitted a few weeks ago to the App Store, an app that monitors phone radiation, and notifies users when they are in a place with high radiation (such as an elevator). The app is called tawkon (you might have heard about it from this post or this post or this post.) The point of the app is not to discourage consumers from using their phones, the same way a speedometer is not meant to discourage people from driving. In fact, the company who developed the app would have to be stupid to attempt and go that route. Let’s be honest, we all hear about phone radiation, we all know it exists, but none of us intend on stopping to use mobile phones. It really is very similar to driving, we all know about the dangers, but we do not stop driving as a result of these dangers. The question is, why not? The answer? Well, the reason I continue to drive is because somewhere deep down, I believe it won’t happen to me. Am I ignorant for thinking that? Not completely, because using the technology built into cars, I can ensure that I drive with the utmost levels of safety and responsibility. As a result, I significantly lower the chances of it “happening to me”.
With cellphones, the radiation is there, and we keep using our phones, why not allow people to use the phones responsibly? The name of the app is tawkon (as in “Talk On”), and from my experience, it’s name really reflects the concept of the app. As mentioned, it does not focus on the radiation in an attempt to get people to put their phones down. It monitors the level of radiation and notifies the user when to activate Bluetooth, use a speaker, turn the phone (phones emit more radiation when held horizontally), or perform any other action to reduce radiation.
As an industry leader who has made a very obvious shift in its latest line of products to becoming a “greener” company, I would expect Apple to lead the way on this issue. Not only would I expect tawkon to be approved by Apple, it would not surprise me to see tawkon in the “There’s an app for that” commercials, explaining that it is the first mobile app to offer full transparency on the issue of mobile phone radiation.
Policy reversal by Apple has happened in the past, and as a mobile user, I would expect the same to happen with any application that gives iPhone users the intellectual respect of having access to this information, and to do with it what we please. Not everyone will like it, rely on it, or use it, but give your intelligent users the choice.
It is important to note that radiation isn’t an issue limited to the iPhone, on the contrary, the iPhone actually emits relatively low radiation compared to its major competitors. Therefore, as a market leader, with a device that serves as an example to the entire smartphone market, I would expect Apple to at the very least to not hide this information from consumers.
It’s up you to you to censor harmful or inappropriate content from the app store, while empowering users with information and tools that improve our mobile lifestyle. Tawkon, in my opinion, is clearly in the latter category.
Thank you for your personal attention to this important issue,
A Responsible Mobile Phone User