Apple could introduce an "Explicit" category to its App Store, as suggested by developers who saw a tab for adult-themed apps appear briefly as a primary category in the iTunes Connect system. Whether Apple was testing code or yanked the category after news leaked remains to be seen. Apple's head of worldwide product marketing Philip Schiller indicated in an interview with The New York Times that the company had pulled controversial apps from the App Store in response to complaints.
Apple could be considering an "Explicit" category for apps sold in
its popular App Store, according to online reports. Such a category could
potentially allow the company to sidestep outside concerns over some of its
third-party developers' products while continuing to collect revenue from those
, which quoted an unnamed developer in a Feb. 24 posting, Apple
introduced "Explicit" as a possible primary category for application
submissions in its iTunes Connect system. That category has since disappeared,
raising questions about whether Apple was testing the interface or decided to
pull back after the news leaked.
If Apple eventually introduces the category, odds are it will feature
restrictions to prevent it from being accessed by minors. Various groups have
raised concerns over adult-themed apps available for download in the App Store.
to a Feb. 18 report on TechCrunch
, developer Jon Atherton received an
e-mail signed by "iPhone App Review" stating that one of his
applications contained "content that we had originally believed to be
suitable for distribution. However, we have recently received numerous
complaints from our customers about this type of content, and have changed our
The e-mail ended with: "We have decided to remove any overtly [adult]
content from the App Store, which includes your application." Other
reports from around that time
indicated that Apple had indeed begun pulling
any number of explicit apps from the storefront.
A clause in the iPhone SDK agreement states, "Applications must not
contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials
of any kind."
Philip Schiller, Apple's head of worldwide product marketing, confirmed in a Feb. 22
article in The New York Times
that "an increasing number of apps
containing very questionable content" had been pulled from the App Store.
"It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from
women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable," the
newspaper quotes Schiller as saying, "as well as parents who were upset
with what their kids were able to see." However, Apple also let apps for
Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue and some established publications remain.
Apple has seen its App Store expand rapidly, with research firm IDC
predicting the number of apps will grow to 300,000 by the end of 2011. With
that growth, though, has come increased pressure on the company to regulate the
contents of its digital store shelves.
In April 2009, Apple pulled a "Baby Shaker" app, which let users
shake their iPhone in order to presumably kill a virtual infant, after protests
from a number of groups. It followed that in May by yanking "Me So
Holy," which had attracted protests for its perceived religious
In addition to pulling apps in response to protests, Apple also began taking
down programs by developers who allegedly posted false positive reviews, as
it did in December when it removed 1,000 applications by Molinker.
stringency may increase as third-party developers begin creating programs for
the company's upcoming iPad tablet PC, which utilizes the new iPhone SDK 3.2