Dangerous lifestyles: You’re not my dad, Apple

Apple's very parental App Store decisions.

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Do not vape ’em if you got ’em because Apple has taken App Store action again and has removed vaping apps.

If you’re not into vaping, it’s pretty easy to cheer this action. For starters, some vaping companies are terrible people. Second, some kinds of vaping are simply not good for you, even when they don’t contain cyanide. So who could be against this move?

Well, vapers, certainly. There are actually very good reasons why some people vape, medical ones. For now those who have installed the apps can continue to use them, but in the long term developers have no way to deliver updates that could provide bug fixes or firmware updates.

It’s worth pointing out that the canisters that did contain cyanide were counterfeit. The Macalope just checked his local liquor store and we haven’t banned alcohol sales because prison wine blinded some people. He also checked the App Store and we haven’t banned mixology apps, either. But one of the apps Apple banned actually checked canisters to see if they were counterfeit. (Tip o' the antlers to Ben Thompson's piece on this subject.)

It’s very tempting to make lifestyle judgements. We have waged a long war with the tobacco industry, so seeing young people vaping nicotine is concerning. But lots of choices adults make can be concerning. For example, let’s say the Macalope got donuts for his whole family Sunday morning. Just hypothetically. He’s not saying that happened, that he would deliberately poison his entire family with such diabetes bombs, this is just an example.

A true, real-life example that, yes, actually happened.

Anyway, about an hour later, one family member is cranky as all get-out, two have headaches and the third has massive indigestion. Donuts, it turns out, were a really bad idea. They just aren’t good for you. Shouldna done it! Lesson learned. Again. And lesson to be learned again in a few weeks probably. Because hope springs eternal and surely this time the donuts will not seek to destroy us from within.

Narrator: They will.

But, here’s the thing. As unhealthy a lifestyle choice as donuts are repeatedly in this household in the woods, God save Tim Cook if he tried to ban the donut app that helps you adjust the level of sprinkles on your donut. That’s not a real thing, of course, because we live in this lousy reality. But in some, way better reality it is a thing and the Tim Cook in that reality would get a face full of antlers from that universe’s Macalope if he tried removing that app.

That universe’s Macalope is a squid, by the way. That’s not related to this discussion, it’s just an interesting side note.

A donut-loving squid.

Ugh, gawd, it’s such a better universe.

Anyway, while it has been great that Apple has made the most secure platform in the world by acting as a gatekeeper for the apps that are available, it has never been great that Apple has made one of the most prudish platforms in the world by acting as a moral gatekeeper. Beyond forcing its sensibilities on us, it’s also forcing the consequences of its global strategic business needs upon us.

Apple’s banning of vaping apps, of course, does not affect the Macalope at all. And he’d never want Apple to risk the security of iOS by allowing any app into the store. But adults should be able to make adult choices. The Macalope would rather be able to make them without having to switch to Android to do it. He’s certainly not going to do that. His lifestyle of donuts and drinking is dangerous enough.

[CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece suggested big tobacco would stand to benefit from restrictions on vaping, but as the parent company of Philip Morris owns 35 percent of Juul, that argument does not seem to stand up.]

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