iPhone Applications Make Headlines

In need of weed? There’s an app for that. In late July of 2009, Apple approved the release of a new application for the iPhone called Cannabis. Available for only $2.99, Cannabis enables users to locate “medical cannabis suppliers, doctors, clinics, lawyers and other relevant organizations.” It covers 13 states, as well as various legal marijuana “coffee shops” throughout Europe. The application is not necessarily encouraging its users to smoke weed; it’s really nothing more than a simple location device. Once downloaded, Cannabis tracks your location and finds the nearest, legal medical supplies of marijuana. It also gives locations of organizations in your area that will help promote marijuana reform and legalization. iPhone users must be at least 17-yrs-old in order to download Cannabis, and, as to be expected, it comes with a strong message about using marijuana for medicinal purposes only, and states that the application is not promoting drug use by any means.

This isn’t the first controversial iPhone application Apple has released. On April 20, 2009, Baby Shaker debuted in the app store, allegedly to help reduce tension and stress for its users. “…Baby Shaker gives you a charming drawing of a baby, sure to make those with a less than iron will fawn. See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!” The way to quiet said baby down? Shaking the motion controlled phone until red X’s appeared over the infant’s eyes. Needless to say, the application drew endless criticism and stirred up quite a controversy. Despite the disclaimer at the end of the description warning users to “never, never shake a baby,” the app was pulled two days after its initial release.

On the other end of the spectrum, one location based iPhone application is being praised by media and families alike, and has been one of the top downloaded applications since its release earlier this year. Offender Locator enables users to view registered sex offenders in their area. Although this information is available for free online, the application uses up-to-date technology to make it easier for the public to access it. Upon download, users are prompted to enter a street address, then red pins pop up around the area giving the locations of sex offenders. Each of these can be clicked on to see information like date of birth, height, weight, and even a picture of the offender and what the specific crime was.