5000 Sex-based iPhone Apps Removed, Are These the New Rules?
Chillifresh, who first sent TiPb word of their Wobble iBoobs app being removed from the App Store due to what Apple termed its "sexual content" has followed up with another blog post, now claiming 5000 apps have been removed and presenting what they say are the new App Store rules:
- No images of women in bikinis (Ice skating tights are not OK either)
- No images of men in bikinis! (I didn’t ask about Ice Skating tights for men)
- No skin (he seriously said this) (I asked if a Burqa was OK, and the Apple guy got angry)
- No silhouettes that indicate that Wobble can be used for wobbling boobs (yes – I am serious, we have to remove the silhouette in this pic)
- No sexual connotations or innuendo: boobs, babes, booty, sex – all banned
- Nothing that can be sexually arousing!! (I doubt many people could get aroused with the pic above but those puritanical guys at Apple must get off on pretty mundane things to find Wobble “overtly sexual!)
- No apps will be approved that in any way imply sexual content (not sure how Playboy is still in the store, but …)
Apple has already commented to TiPb that they took action following customer complaints over objectionable contents, and our readers have been split between "good on Apple, we don't want to see that in the App Store" and "shame on Apple, we should be able to decide for ourselves" camp.
Apple does present parental controls for the App Store, but they currently lack sophistication enough to handle situations like this. For example, because Apple tags any app that provided unfettered access to the internet as 17+ ('cause there's violence and porn on them there webs), enabling that parental control wouldn't just kill sexy apps, it would kill any app with an embedded WebView (like all Twitter apps -- see Tweetie 1.3 rejection).
This isn't the first time Apple has removed apps for content first, figured out ways to re-introduce them later either -- many developers went through this before, prior to parental controls in iPhone 3.0. (And after, when some nudity briefly slipped into the App Store, only to be promptly removed).
Again, it's conceivable Apple will provide more granular parental controls in iPhone 4.0, perhaps even create an opt-in "adult-but-not-porn" category. It's that or Web App-only land.
This is what happens when a company like Apple (or Walmart, or Blockbuster) chooses to curate content in their store -- they become divided between serving the "family friendly" vs. "freedom to choose" customer bases, and the developers who get caught in between. (And we sympathize with those developers, who must feel trapped in a giant pit with a blind, startled T-Rex at times like these).
Let us know what you think of those guidelines above, and what you'd like to see Apple do to better serve all their customers and their developers.