Where tiny thoughts turn into big ideas.

Saudi Arabia Not Getting FaceTime? Is Apple’s Encryption To Blame?

Here’s a very strage thing TUAW is reporting: as found on this SaudiMac Facebook thread, it appears that Apple has changed the graphics on Saudi Arabia’s website and many other Middle East countries. Actually, they removed all the FaceTime graphics and mentions.

Michael Rose, over at TUAW:

This adjustment to the product sites – just ahead of the anticipated late September launch of the phone in these countries – may represent merely a cosmetic tweak, keeping the cultural sensitivities of these largely Islamic countries in mind. Or it might mean the feature itself is going to be blocked for iPhone users there; note that it’s not just the image that’s changed, the current versions of the iPhone pages omit the description of FaceTime as well.

I have the feeling this has something to do with Saudi Arabia’s government. Remember? They once banned BlackBerry phones because of encryption they couldn’t monitor. What if Apple’s FaceTime protocol (which they promised would open to other applications and devices) uses some kind of encryption Saudi Arabia government doesn’t like? That would explain the complete removal of any FaceTime mention on What about other countries, though?

Of course, it may be that Apple is just being culturally sensitive and decided to remove the graphics because there’s a woman face in there. Check out the “before” and “after” image below.

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