APPsolutely APPalling

May 13, 2010

Like Apple’s television ad claims, the iPhone really does have apps for everything. From lifestyle advice, GPS systems and unlimited access to the World Wide Web, the iPhone features a considerable amount of accommodating programs.

However, whilst the iPhone is praised for its state-of-the-art technology and useful applications, it is rarely criticised for the offensive, discriminatory and explicit content found in a number of apps.

Not long after Apple began releasing the applications for iPhone and iPod touch, users and critics alike started to discover controversial and somewhat offensive material regulated by the iPhone App Store.

A list of these applications is available for viewing through the following Powerpoint Presentation.

iPhone user Bridie Willis, 20, says she was unaware the list of outrageous applications such as the ‘Baby Shaker’, ‘iBoobs’, ‘iRevolver’ and ‘Prohibition: Dope Wars’.

“I had no idea there were so many rude apps,” she says. “Some are funny, but others I thought were pretty disturbing.”

The ‘Baby Shaker’ application, Bridie claims, shocked her quite severely.

“’Baby Shaker’ is an app where there’s a picture of a baby, and you shake it until red crosses show up on the baby’s eyes, indicating that it’s dead,” she explains. “It is really disgusting.”

Although the ‘Baby Shaker’ application was eventually pulled from the app store, it was still available at the cost of only $0.99 for three whole days.

Founder of the National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome Marilyn Barr says the application was an outrage.

“Not only is [Apple] making fun of Shaken Baby Syndrome but they are actually encouraging it,” Barr says. “This is absolutely terrible.”

Suzanne Choney for MSNBC reports further in her article “Baby Shaker app pulled from iPhone store”.

The applications for sale on iTunes are available for download in less than a mere 60 seconds. With the use of a credit card number, all users; including children; are exposed to all kinds of content.

App games such as ‘iRevolver’ teach a user how to load and shoot a gun, and have the option to play Russian roulette.

“Wanna play Russian roulette with your iPhone?” The description on App Safari reads, labeling the gun “realistic and engaging.”

In addition, the ‘5 Minutes to Kill (Yourself)’ app boasts an array of deadly weapons along with suicidal options for the player to “get the job done”.

Beyond Blue chairman and anti-depression advocate Jeff Kennet was furious about the game.

“Put this in the hands of a kid who is depressed or has been bullied, it’s like throwing fuel on the fire to the problem,” he said.

Not only do certain applications glorify violence, suicide and weaponry, other apps such as ‘iSnort Mimics’ and ‘Prohibition: Dope Wars’ demonstrate use of illicit drugs and the dealing of illegal substances.

Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre Clinician John Rynderman believes the iPhone’s popularity indicates its potential to be seen as a status symbol for all users, and therefore its contribution to the promotion of drug use.

“An application that describes the methodology involved in cocaine ingestion could equally be viewed as just as high status,” he says.

“I’m drawing an association between the status connected with having and using an iPhone, and the status attributed to the application on the iPhone.”

Nonetheless, Rynderman believes that while these applications have high status, they do not influence the actions of iPhone users.

“People have the power to discriminate that which is acceptable and that which is not acceptable,” he says.

“I prefer to believe that people have a greater degree of rationality and consideration.”

The controversy that surrounds the app’s content and material has triggered an array of opinions and arguments for and against the issue, as evident in the following Voxpop.

The issues involving explicit content and censorship will continue to surround the iPhone applications, while they are still available for anyone and everyone’s use.

Words by Jayne Duff.


Killer Apps are Saving Lives – by Jayne Duff

April 1, 2010

Just when we thought the iPhone couldn’t get any better, many will be amazed to discover a new series of applications that quite literally have the capability to save lives.

To some, the iPhone may be just another pointless and overrated piece of technology, however to the Haiti earthquake survivor Dan Woolley, the iPhone is the reason he is alive today.

After being caught under the rubble of the horrific earthquake, Woolley used the medical application Pocket First Aid and CPR to diagnose and treat injuries to his foot and head, by following step-by-step instructions to prevent himself from going into shock.

Woolley said his phone “was like a high-tech version of a Swiss Army Knife that enabled [him] to treat [his] own injuries, track time, stay awake and stay alive.”

The following link shows CNN’s coverage of Dan Woolley’s story of survival:

However, the revolutionary life-saving applications go further than instructing basic first aid. Applications such as Panic Control can assist in the symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders.

Danielle Selby, a 19-year-old girl diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, claims the step-by-step application would be quite helpful during a state of anxiety. By offering guidance, comfort, and lifestyle tips, the program can help lessen the symptoms of a panic attack.

“Overall, I think it would be a great application to use in the event of a panic attack,” she says. “Personally it would help to relax me and convince me everything will be okay.”

Click the follow link to view the ‘Panic Control’ App Demonstration or Interview Transcript with Danielle Selby. Select to ‘save’ the files first before viewing them.

General Practioner Dr. Richard Duff praises Apple’s useful applications such as ‘MedCalc’, complimenting its practicality and convenience in a medical sense.

“The program consists of a number of medical formulas and calculations,” he explains. “Most of the formulas are quite useful.”

Click the following link to view the Interview Transcript with Dr. Richard Duff.

Boasting a range of formulas from anesthesiology to pediatrics, the MedCalc application is, in reality, the new trend within hospitals around the world.

The hype surrounding Apple’s iPhone and its expansive range of life-saving applications seems to be ultimately justifiable.

It seems that as long as Apple thrives within the telecommunications market, the iPhone applications will continue to contribute to the health, wellbeing and even survival of many users.

Words by Jayne Duff

This is AppSolute

March 29, 2010