Holy Tipper Gore, Batman, it turns out another feature of the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 will be parental controls to block explicit content. Think of it as the software equivalent of your TV's V-chip — or those warning messages the PMRC forced the record company to slap on Prince and W.A.S.P. albums.
The new functionality came to light when the App Store voted thumb's-down on Makayama's Newspaper(s) app, since one of the rags it would let you read was England's infamous Sun (home of the Page 3 nude pinup). Newspaper(s) finally made it onto iTunes when the Sun was turned out, pardon the pun. In their rejection letter to Makayama, Apple revealed the upcoming smut-blocking feature thusly: "[it] would be appropriate to resubmit your application for review once this feature is available."
But the parental control functionality actually makes sense: it would allow the App Store to offer a wider (and wilder!) range of wares, those who wanted the explicit stuff could buy it freely, but Mom and Dad could make sure that Junior couldn't download Grand Theft Auto.
It actually would have been useful to have right now, especially in the wake of the recent iTunes vs. Nine Inch Nails imbroglio. iTunes had rejected an update of the band's official iPhone app because it linked to the song "The Downward Spiral" — which, in addition to its suicide-note lyrics, included at least one F-bomb. An annoyed Reznor pointed out that anyone on iTunes could download the entire DOWNWARD SPIRAL album — some of whose songs make the title track sound tame by comparison ("Closer," anyone?). iTunes apparently relented, and now carries the app.
Maybe there's hope for the South Park app as well…