Cellular radiation app blocked by Steve Jobs, has "no interest"

It’s an age-old question: Is there a risk of harmful long-term radiation exposure from holding a cell phone to your ear for extended periods of time? The issue by no means simple, and has been debated and regulated for quite some time. A quick glance at the Wikipedia page about the subject confirms as much (Incidentally, xkcd creator Randall Munroe created a highly informative radiation chart to put the recent issues of the Japanese nuclear reactor woes into perspective. He quite succinctly brushes of cell phone radiation as a non-issue). No matter which side of the debate you fall on, there’s no denying that the issue is a relevant one, and that a lot of people are still interested in knowing their radiation exposure levels while talking on the phone.

Israeli developer Tawkon developed a mobile app for Android devices that uses RF measurements to gauge radiation emission last year, and they are now looking to release the app on Apple’s iOS platform. Their marketing tactic is to use Antennagate to their advantage. According to Tawkon, the death grip issues that plague the iPhone 4 cause the phone to work harder finding a signal. This, in turn, increases radiation levels. In a video, they demonstrate the difference quite clearly.   

According to Betanews, Steve Jobs personally blocked the app from hitting the market. After the app was rejected in the initial approval stages, CEO Gil Friedlander sent an email to Jobs in an attempt to appeal the decision. Jobs wrote back, in what’s becoming a somewhat iconic email style, “Not interested. ” There has been no explanation as to why the app was rejected.

Tawkon has released their app in Cydia, the (possibly illegal) app store available to users who have taken the plunge into the world of jailbreaking. Friedlander is now making this into a personal rights issue, and claims that

"We believe it is every phone user's fundamental right to know the level of radiation they're exposed to, and to take precautionary measures if they see fit. Tawkon makes it easy for people to use their iPhone with lower exposure to cellphone radiation." 

The company has set up a public petition to try and convince Apple that enough people are generally interested in having this app see the light of day. However, Apple’s track record doesn’t breed very much optimism for the campaign, no matter how deserving it may or may not be.

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68 Comments

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Wouldn't surprise me if the steve mail was just fake to get some attention

Anyway... Why is cydia mention as the possibly illegal installer you get from jailbreaking? There is nothing illegal neither about jailbreaking nor cydia

Brian Miller said,
So, the app store in many ways is like a dictatorship.

Not really it's like any other stores around.

Last tiem i checked a store can and do sell the products they want.

oh lets just start letting him pick who gets to sell what? seems um controlling and almost like a "mob" like tatic, we will let you get rich if we like you.... personal interests and ideas shouldnt pick what apps get sold... that should be up to the buyer... now illegal apps, sure dont allow them, but any normal app, keep out of it...

and since this is an anti cell like app for cell radiation, of course he doesnt want it since it makes one of his top selling products look potentially bad....

neufuse said,
oh lets just start letting him pick who gets to sell what? seems um controlling and almost like a "mob" like tatic, we will let you get rich if we like you.... personal interests and ideas shouldnt pick what apps get sold... that should be up to the buyer... now illegal apps, sure dont allow them, but any normal app, keep out of it...

and since this is an anti cell like app for cell radiation, of course he doesnt want it since it makes one of his top selling products look potentially bad....

The information the App provides should be in the manual, and is online.

For what it's worth, SAR is based on continuous exposure with the phone operating at maximum transmitted power level- something your cell phone will NEVER see unless you're jacked in AND on the phone 24/7.

Sensationalist title. The app was blocked by the people who do app approval which I somehow doubt Jobs is the one doing that. Do people really expect him to look into every case for every app that gets rejected. Come back to the real world were the CEO has better things to do.

Phones do NOT emit ionizing radiation, they emit non-ionizing radiation which has been proven with literally dozens of proper studies as being completely safe. This is one instance where Apple have done the right thing. We don't need stupid apps like this scaremongering. The developer is just trying to capitalize on people's fear.

FloatingFatMan said,
Phones do NOT emit ionizing radiation, they emit non-ionizing radiation which has been proven with literally dozens of proper studies as being completely safe. This is one instance where Apple have done the right thing. We don't need stupid apps like this scaremongering. The developer is just trying to capitalize on people's fear.

Exactly. Plus it's not like the iPhone has a built-in Geiger counter. haha.

FloatingFatMan said,
Phones do NOT emit ionizing radiation, they emit non-ionizing radiation which has been proven with literally dozens of proper studies as being completely safe. This is one instance where Apple have done the right thing. We don't need stupid apps like this scaremongering. The developer is just trying to capitalize on people's fear.

Regardless if it is a stupid app, it meat the store qualifications. There are many stupid apps...tons of fart apps...that get approved and posted. Personally, I would like the far apps on all phone stores to be removed...they are stupid and childish and serve no purpose.

And Apple has capitalized on people's fear for years. Example....OSX is safe and Windows gets viruses. Thats scaremongering at a corporate level.

FloatingFatMan said,
Phones do NOT emit ionizing radiation, they emit non-ionizing radiation which has been proven with literally dozens of proper studies as being completely safe. This is one instance where Apple have done the right thing. We don't need stupid apps like this scaremongering. The developer is just trying to capitalize on people's fear.

What part of body did you get taht "ionizing" word? Don't want to guess it...
Microvawes don't emit ionizing radiation too. Will you put a kitten inside?
Have you tried to stand near military redar when the EM shild breaks? I guess not. Or maybe yes...

RealFduch said,

What part of body did you get taht "ionizing" word? Don't want to guess it...
Microvawes don't emit ionizing radiation too. Will you put a kitten inside?
Have you tried to stand near military redar when the EM shild breaks? I guess not. Or maybe yes...

FloatingFatMan said,
Yes, because I'm so going to listen to "advice" about the dangers of microwave radiation from someone who can't even spell it.

He clearly made a typo.

So, either you're not intelligent enough to realize that, and need me to point it out to you, or you're trolling.

I'll let you decide.

Also, if we're going to play the spelling/grammar NAZI game, you shouldn't use quotation marks to suggest that a word that you've typed should be read as having a different implied meaning, and should not be read literally. Quotation marks are for quoting things.

bladebarrier said,

He clearly made a typo.

Once = typo. Multiple times in several posts=illiteracy.

The microwaves generated by a cellphone and the microwaves generated by a microwave oven are vastly different in amplitude and pose zero threat to humans. Cellphones generate, at their maximum, no more than 2 watts in a generalised field, whereas microwave ovens generate 700-1000 watts in a tightly focussed beam of energy, which is what cooks your food.

While I will admit, I'm not a scientist, but in order to detect radiation, doesn't somebody need a radiation detector or something. And cell phones aren't equipped with those

Insig said,
I doubt jobs was even 'interested' to reject this himself.

Well, if he didn't get involved to ban the app that claimed to 'cure' gay people, he's not going to get involved here.

dhan said,
that doesn't sound like he "personally rejected" it more like he is "not interested" in looking into the matter?

Which is just as bad, no? Surely the maker of the most popular smartphone brand in the world should at least give some concern to the heath implications of his device?

SuperHans said,

Which is just as bad, no? Surely the maker of the most popular smartphone brand in the world should at least give some concern to the heath implications of his device?


As boss for a company that builds and designs mobile phones, I'm sure he's had that discussion about 3428 times by now. That could play a role.

dhan said,
that doesn't sound like he "personally rejected" it more like he is "not interested" in looking into the matter?

Thanks. This changes this story completely. (not sarcastic here)

Nice chart, very informative for someone who hasn't got a vague reference for exposure.

I just drank a Mountain Dew, from the colour of the bottle I think I may have had a lethal dose of something anyone care to guess how many Serviets are in one of those bad boys? LOL

Teebor said,
Nice chart, very informative for someone who hasn't got a vague reference for exposure.

I just drank a Mountain Dew, from the colour of the bottle I think I may have had a lethal dose of something anyone care to guess how many Serviets are in one of those bad boys? LOL

Depends... was it Regular, Code Red, Diet, or one of those other flavors?

well, thats a shame, of course phones emit radiation, they aint got a cord, so thats why they are dangerous, a new, safer technology should be invented soon or i fear there will be a lot of brain tumor issues in 5 years or so

allwynd said,
well, thats a shame, of course phones emit radiation, they aint got a cord, so thats why they are dangerous, a new, safer technology should be invented soon or i fear there will be a lot of brain tumor issues in 5 years or so

I vote for "Fiber to the phone"

allwynd said,
well, thats a shame, of course phones emit radiation, they aint got a cord, so thats why they are dangerous, a new, safer technology should be invented soon or i fear there will be a lot of brain tumor issues in 5 years or so

I can't work out if this is sarcasm or stupidity?!?

allwynd said,
well, thats a shame, of course phones emit radiation, they aint got a cord, so thats why they are dangerous, a new, safer technology should be invented soon or i fear there will be a lot of brain tumor issues in 5 years or so

You do know mobile phones have been around for decades... right?

thommcg said,

You do know mobile phones have been around for decades... right?

For how many decades people used radium (radioactive element) for children's books (glowing letters)? Cell phones are much less harmful, so we'll be much slower to notice the harm.

"Is there a risk of harmful long-term radiation exposure from holding a cell phone to your ear for extended periods of time?"
Even if there's a risk - Nobody would tell us because cell phones are going like hot cakes

ZaPx64 said,
"Is there a risk of harmful long-term radiation exposure from holding a cell phone to your ear for extended periods of time?"
Even if there's a risk - Nobody would tell us because cell phones are going like hot cakes

OH so you have to be told that if you shoot yourself in the head you die?

Well if they can guarantee that their calculations would lead to nearly the same as real measurements, then I think they should be allowed into the AppStore.
I think the problem is that they can't.
And even if they could, I can see people freak out at every spike "OMG I am getting cancer right now."
And for this "No interest" part:
If I were Steve Jobs, and I get hundreds of mails from people ranging from "OMFG the icons in Lion are 2px larger. Are you insane?" to "Bohooo why don't you want my app in the appstore. I will go public and sue the hell out of you!",
I would have set up Auto-Reply at my mail account with a simple "F*** you".

Also I would be very interested in reading the original mail sent to Steve.

enocheed said,

I would love to be that DOUCHEBAG. Rejecting anything i want and making millions on products,


Nope. I wouldn't want to be a arrogant douchebag for all the money or all the power in the world.


Jobs wrote back, in what's becoming a somewhat iconic email style, “Not interested. ” There has been no explanation as to why the app was rejected.

Dont care what company you work for...responses like this are stupid and does not serve your customer base. All it does is **** people off and they will go elsewhere. I am betting the reason this App is banned is because Jobs and Co dont want it revealed how much radiation their phones give off...if the app is accurate at all.

According to the radiation chart cell phones don't give off radiation.

Using a cell phone (0 uSv)-a cell phone's transmitter does not produce ionizing radiation* and does not cause cancer.

*Unless it's a bananaphone

DPyro said,
According to the radiation chart cell phones don't give off radiation.

It does.

DPyro said,
Using a cell phone (0 uSv)-a cell phone's transmitter does not produce ionizing radiation* and does not cause cancer.

*Unless it's a bananaphone

**There are different types of radiation, also called non-ionizing radiation.

techbeck said,

Dont care what company you work for...responses like this are stupid and does not serve your customer base. All it does is **** people off and they will go elsewhere. I am betting the reason this App is banned is because Jobs and Co dont want it revealed how much radiation their phones give off...if the app is accurate at all.

+1

techbeck said,

Dont care what company you work for...responses like this are stupid and does not serve your customer base. All it does is **** people off and they will go elsewhere. I am betting the reason this App is banned is because Jobs and Co dont want it revealed how much radiation their phones give off...if the app is accurate at all.

Please learn something about simple physics before you post something stupid. It's a proven fact that phones, radios, and any electronic, doesn't product ionizing radiation. It never has and never will harm you in any way. End of story. There are just too many uneducated idiots that spread rumors based on something they think they "know".

techbeck said,
I am betting the reason this App is banned is because Jobs and Co dont want it revealed how much radiation their phones give off...if the app is accurate at all.

There have been whole studies regarding the matter and so far nothing came up that cellphones emit harmful radition. When KPN and Vodafone started installing UMTS towers throughout the Netherlands I remember the Dutch government spending millions and millions of euros on hiring a third-party Swiss research company (so it was neutral and not done by any of the providers or government itself) to see if the technology could be a potential health hazard. The answer The Hague got back was "No" and they even made all reports public so people and other researches could see for themselves.

I can understand Apple for not wanting this app in the App Store because uninformed people (read: 99% of their user base) will get the wrong idea, if indeed the app is accurate at all. I agree with you though that those short answers are rude.

You know techbeck, Apple isn't always wrong and believe it or not some of the decisions they make are very understandable.

Edited by .Neo, Mar 24 2011, 5:49pm :

Astra.Xtreme said,

Please learn something about simple physics before you post something stupid. It's a proven fact that phones, radios, and any electronic, doesn't product ionizing radiation. It never has and never will harm you in any way. End of story. There are just too many uneducated idiots that spread rumors based on something they think they "know".

I never mentioned anything about ionizing radiation. Cell phones do have radiation and a simple search will show what.

Please read what I said before calling someone names or else you end up looking like the names you call others. And your rants/name calling/whatever else you wnt to call it is against the site rules. So you may want to read those as well before you call other idiots.

.Neo said,

There have been whole studies regarding the matter and so far nothing came up that cellphones emit harmful radition.

You know techbeck, Apple isn't always wrong and believe it or not some of the decisions they make are very understandable.

Harmful or not, people see radiation and panic. There are fearmongering people who get worried about every little thing. Was kinda my point in saying that companies dont publicly like to announce things like this

techbeck said,

Harmful or not, people see radiation and panic. There are fearmongering people who get worried about every little thing. Was kinda my point in saying that companies dont publicly like to announce things like this


And since there's ZERO proof the radiation emitted by cellphones is harmful I fully understand Apple, or any other company for that matter, for not wanting this app in their App Store. The reason you're giving is exactly why. The information provided by this app doesn't have any meaning of interest.

.Neo said,

And since there's ZERO proof the radiation emitted by cellphones is harmful I fully understand Apple, or any other company for that matter, for not wanting this app in their App Store. The reason you're giving is exactly why. The information provided by this app doesn't have any meaning of interest.

Proof or not...accurate or not...people see/hear things and react no matter if it is true/false or harmful or not. Look at Y2k...look at 12/21/2012. Not a lot of proof the world was going to end in 2000 and not a lot of proof it will end in 2012...but yet people get worried about it.

Never said Apple was in the wrong here...just stated my opinion on why the app wasnt approved and questioned the accuracy.

Astra.Xtreme said,
Please learn something about simple physics before you post something stupid. It's a proven fact that phones, radios, and any electronic, doesn't product ionizing radiation. It never has and never will harm you in any way. End of story. There are just too many uneducated idiots that spread rumors based on something they think they "know".

Hello, Mr. Kewl Physicist.
I reard that, like a cell phone, microvawe oven doesn't produce ionizing radiation. As you just told us that "It never has and never will harm you in any way", can you please prove your words by putting your head inside the microvawe and turning it on?

P.S. What makes lots of noise in my speakers when SMS message is about to come?

techbeck said,

Proof or not...accurate or not...people see/hear things and react no matter if it is true/false or harmful or not. Look at Y2k...look at 12/21/2012. Not a lot of proof the world was going to end in 2000 and not a lot of proof it will end in 2012...but yet people get worried about it.

And do you see big companies and governments encouraging those fears? No.

RealFduch said,

Hello, Mr. Kewl Physicist.
I reard that, like a cell phone, microvawe oven doesn't produce ionizing radiation. As you just told us that "It never has and never will harm you in any way", can you please prove your words by putting your head inside the microvawe and turning it on?

P.S. What makes lots of noise in my speakers when SMS message is about to come?

What was the point of anything that you said? Yes, a microwave also doesn't output ionizing radiation, so...
Research how a microwave works and then you'll understand what you said makes no sense.

.Neo said,

And do you see big companies and governments encouraging those fears? No.

Sure, companies encourage these fears. The whole y2k thing was big for companies. I mean, many people bought a ton of extra supplies during that time because all computers were supposed to crash and planes fall from the sky. No all companies take advantage, but some do.

And the Gov used the attack on WTC as an excuse to go to war with countries we shouldnt have.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Please learn something about simple physics before you post something stupid. It's a proven fact that phones, radios, and any electronic, doesn't product ionizing radiation. It never has and never will harm you in any way. End of story. There are just too many uneducated idiots that spread rumors based on something they think they "know".

Citation needed.

I always thought the health concerns were due to the rapid heat increase from the radiation that is produced by high radio frequencies - as far as I'm aware no-one has ever really suggested it produces ionizing radiation?... well apart from the people trying to claim it is definitely safe.

I'm not at advocate of for or against, but like RealFduch pointed out it works in a similar way as a microwave.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Google...

So what you're saying is you're willing to make claims that you state as fact, but are too lazy to cite a source when asked to, and instead respond "google"?

I bet I could find something on google that says just about anything in favor of, and against, just about anything.

3/10 for trolling, though. You did get me to respond, but it just didn't invoke any real emotional response.

RealFduch said,

Hello, Mr. Kewl Physicist.
I reard that, like a cell phone, microvawe oven doesn't produce ionizing radiation. As you just told us that "It never has and never will harm you in any way", can you please prove your words by putting your head inside the microvawe and turning it on?

P.S. What makes lots of noise in my speakers when SMS message is about to come?

The wires in your speakers act like an antenna and pickup the radio signal coming into your phone.