Apple cracks down on adult-themed iPhone apps

Responding to requests from both consumers and developers alike, Apple has removed an unspecified number of adult-themed iPhone and iPod touch applications from its App Store. Information Week reports that Apple is contacting developers of sexually explicit apps, explaining that a flurry of consumer complaints prompted its decision to revise policies regarding mature content: "Whenever we receive customer complaints about objectionable content we review them," an Apple spokesperson writes in an e-mailed statement. "If we find these apps contain inappropriate material we remove them and request the developer make any necessary changes in order to be distributed by Apple."

Information Week notes that consumers have been voicing their concerns over the App Store on Apple's support forum, linking to a now-unavailable thread where one customer complains that the computing giant's parental controls failed to work as advertised. "The [parental control] settings [in iTunes] do stop me from purchasing the apps," the post explains. "The 'Buy App/Get App' button is grayed out so I cannot get the app, but I am still able to preview the app, including screen shots of graphic content along with detailed descriptions."

Developers have voiced similar concerns to Apple, contending that sexually-themed software now represents as much as a third of the App Store's 140,000-plus applications. Developers argue that the proliferation of adult apps hampers discoverability of rival applications, and some have reported the problem as a bug in hopes of attracting Apple's complete attention to the issue. Of course, the question of exactly how Apple might define apps that cross the boundaries of good taste could create as many problems as it solves--some developers have lobbied for the creation of a so-called "red light district" for applications that contain overtly sexual content.

For more on the App Store's adult content purge:
- read this Information Week article

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iPhone SDK 3.2 beta arrives alongside Apple's iPad
Apple accelerates the App Store approval process

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