One “feature” that comes with the app and cannot be turned off is a warning screen that appears as soon as the Digital Talmud is loaded. “Note,” the screen reads. “This app does not require the Internet for daily use. Following the ruling of leading rabbinic authorities, web devices should be used only with filters.”
The Times of Israel has a long feature story on the Artscroll Talmud iPad app. Here's a brief excerpt dealing with using the treife Internet:
…One “feature” that comes with the app and cannot be turned off is a warning screen that appears as soon as the Digital Talmud is loaded. “Note,” the screen reads. “This app does not require the Internet for daily use. Following the ruling of leading rabbinic authorities, web devices should be used only with filters.”
It’s a dictum Artscroll has tried very hard to fulfill, said Pasternak. “The only connection to the Internet is to download files; other than that there is no need for an online connection.”
As such, he said, the app fulfills the letter and spirit of the calls to ban the Internet at the recent “asifa,” the major gathering at Citi Field in Queens, in which some 60,000 people heard speeches condemning Internet use. “The rabbis there made it very clear that the Internet could be used only with strong filters, and we don’t require Internet use at all [after the initial download],” Pasternak said.
As a matter of fact, “we have had in place at the Artscroll offices in Brooklyn for years a very strong filter that ensures that the Internet can be used only for work purposes,” he added.
In fact, the iPad wasn’t Artscroll’s first choice of device for its digitized library plans. “We seriously examined the possibility of developing our own device, hardware and software, that would be dedicated for use with our library,” Pasternak said. Those plans halted when the company found out how much developing such a platform would cost — millions, “for a device that would reach a limited audience and would be outmoded within six months. We had to wait for a device like the iPad to go ahead with this project.”
Just who is the Digital Talmud for? Clearly, for iPad owners, although, said Pasternak, “we don’t advocate anyone buying an iPad” in order to get access to Artscroll apps. “The app does not work on Shabbat, so anyone who wants to study on Shabbat needs to use a physical volume, and we assume most of the users of the app have a set of Schottenstein Talmud books.”…
[Hat Tip: Rebitzman.]