Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 at 10:52am

Apple pulls iPad app that teaches kids how to program

Posted by Jordan Erickson

Last week, Apple decided to pull an iPhone and iPad app called “Scratch” that is designed to help children learn how to program a computer using kid-friendly graphics, stories and animations. The reason it was pulled was due to the App Store clause 3.3.2, which states iPhone apps may not contain code interpreters other than Apple’s. The clause reads:

“An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise. No interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).”

Many stories similar to this have surfaced since the rise in popularity of the iPhone and iPad. Many apps are removed at Apple’s discresion, with reasons ranging from technical to moral (such as blocking pornography-centric apps). The opposition of iPhone and iPad developers is quickly becoming heated as they feel they are being limited by Apple’s strict policies and seemingly biased views on what is considered to be an acceptable app to run on their devices.

“Both children and the internet are bigger than Apple, and things that are good for children of the world need to be able to run everywhere”, says Alan Kay, a former Xerox PARC computer scientist and the man credited with creating the “Squeak” programming language, which is what Scratch is built with.

This raises the important question of Apple’s business ethics with the global technology sector, as well as younger generations that are just now starting to understand what computers and technology can do. Is it wrong for Apple to ban applications from entering their own App store? Is it right for people to demand that their own applications are available for download, rather than only ones that Apple deems worthy? What kind of message does this send to our youth regarding openness and cooperation with people, technology and business?


© 2010 Logical Networking Solutions: I.T. and Networking Specialist, Lake County, CA