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FaceTime images disappear from Middle Eastern iPhone promos

updated 11:00 am EDT, Tue September 21, 2010

Meant to conform to Islamic sensibilities?

Apple has subtly modified some promotional material for the iPhone 4 to remove references to FaceTime, reports note. In Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen, as well as Egypt and Jordan, official pages for the iPhone 4 no longer show a woman and man having a video conversation. Instead, Apple has substituted content promoting the device's Retina Display.

Apple has yet to explain the change, but two hypotheses have been suggested. The first is that FaceTime could be disabled in the affected countries in the run up to anticipated iPhone 4 launches later this month. An alternative is that Apple is may simply be worried about local reaction, as all of the countries are predominantly Muslim. Orthodox interpretations of the religion prevent women from showing their faces in public without a veil.

by MacNN Staff



  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cultural sensitivity

    Well obviously, an uncovered face of a woman in a public image would offend too many in that part of the world.

    A few self-righteous may launch into a debate over discrimination, humiliation, human rights, etc. Obviously, this simply doesn't matter. Replacing one image with another in a marketing campaign doesn't really say anything other than a company being sensitive to the local realities.

  1. moofpup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cultural sensitivity?

    They embrace Western culture enough to use our technology but draw the line at a man and woman having a conversation? Wow!

  1. FireWire

    Joined: Dec 1969


    save bandwidth...

    who needs facetime when you wear a veil.. a picture caller ID is more than sufficient, and it will conserve bandwidth ;-)

  1. boris_cleto

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why let women

    Have phones at all?

  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's incorrect to say that "Orthodox interpretations of the religion prevent women from showing their faces in public without a veil." Faces are fine, you can walk around in any country while showing one. Even in Afghanistan, if you ever watch Afghan TV. (The burqas were mainly for cultural, and not religious reasons). Ever notice how CNN reporters cover their hair in the middle east and let their faces show?

  1. thibaulthalpern

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Covered/Uncovered face

    If an unveiled face is the issue there are multiple ways to solve this issue. Promotional material can have:

    • two men using FaceTime
    • one man and one veiled woman using FaceTime
    • two veiled women using FaceTime

    Given that there are easy solutions to dealing with the veiled/unveiled issue (see above) I don't think the issue with removing FaceTime promotion has to do with that. It is something else.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969




    I don't think you are correct. I believe it is indeed ORTHODOX interpretations of Islam that require women to cover their faces. In countries with moderate interpretations of the religion, faces are quite fine. There is no doubt, burqas are NOT culturally motivated; they are very religious symbols, and those symbols represent a very conservative interpretation.

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Interpretation on Interpretations.

    It is not culturally motivated or religiously motivated. It is motivated by ignorance. Anyway, its just marketing and even the ignorant deserve to have access to technology....hope the women get to use it too. Small steps must be taken toward personal freedom...but a long path must be trod in some parts of the world. This may help speed it up.

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