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Apple's saucy apps

Apple's decision to delete 6,000 applications from its iPhone store is creating something of a stir. The apps were considered objectionable by some, or to quote our senior editor Paddy Hirsch -- they were "saucy apps." But there's controversy because apps from the likes of Playboy are still available.

So you can't play Sexy Scratch Off, an app that depicted a woman whose dress could be swiped away, revealing her underwear. But you can see women in their underwear with the Victoria Secret app. And you can see them in bikinis in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit app. What's the difference?

Money, of course. Here's MacWorld's take:

If SI Swimsuit 2010 and Playboy are not eventually removed along with their competition, this recent ban will mark a whole new low for Apple's walled garden. Ambiguous, moving-target policies are one thing (and, even after a year and a half, Apple still needs to fix them). But instantly destroying the income of independent developers--no matter how useless or degrading you feel their apps may be--while allowing major publishers to peddle the same product is an entirely different thing.

Apple's head of worldwide product marketing Peter Schiller told the New York Times this:

"It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see," Mr. Schiller said...

When asked about the Sports Illustrated app, Mr. Schiller said Apple took the source and intent of an app into consideration. "The difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format," he said.

More from the Times:

Fred Clarke, co-president of a small software company called On the Go Girls, which made Sexy Scratch Off, said that as of Monday all 50 of his company's applications were no longer available. They included an application in which a woman wearing a swimsuit appeared to wipe finger marks from the iPhone's screen with a rag and spray bottle.

Like so:

"I'm shocked," said Mr. Clarke, who said the company had not had a problem with its applications since the first one went on sale last June. "We're showing stuff that's racier than the Disney Channel, but not by much."

Apple has every right to kick out whoever and whatever it wants. It has a brand and a image to protect. But it seems to have a policy that is arbitrary and a double-standard.
Here's more from MacWorld:

An Apple spokesperson allegedly gave the developer of iWobble a list of seven "new rules" that cover banned App Store content. This list (which Apple does not seem to have added to its official App Store guidelines) includes such broad-sweeping and woefully ambiguous gems as "no skin," "nothing that can be sexually arousing," and even "no sexual connotations or innuendo such as 'boobs,' 'babes,' or 'booty.'"

I can't imagine what would happen to the iTunes Store's music selection if songs containing "babe" and "booty" suffered this same fate.

Well, I imagine nothing would happen as long as the songs were produced by a major record company.

What do you think of Apple's approach?

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Why is Apple so hell bent on destroying itself?

Apple is prone to considerable hubris. Just think about the market share they lost in the 90s for not licensing their OS. I see a parallel to that storyline developing between iPhone and Android. Android being more open and adaptive, iPhone being more locked down.

Eventually people in the iPhone jail will want to be free.

Typical approach. Not surprised. Those with money (SI and Playboy) didn't like the competition. So they worked to get the competition removed and won. It's how the world works. Capitalism in america isn't about competition and providing goods/services. It's about a few controlling the many.

Seriously? You don't even have to read between the lines! It comes down to porn.

If I remember correctly, one of Jobs's original objections to a tablet device, was: "It's only good for reading in the bathroom!" And we all know what that means...

Apple is not, and does not want, their products affiliated with pornography. I back them on their decision.

Why is there a need for thousands of different ways to pay for smut and fetishes? Was the entire internet not enough? Now we have to have a 'arousal delivery device?'
The apps do make it particularly difficult for parents because you can't really lock those down.

If you still want porn, you can use the web browser. And on a home network, parents can restrict adult sites.

There's still a level of social acceptance with the Playboy pin-up and the SI cover girl. Both are established international brands that, at one time, had excellent writing and journalism. It's nice to think that our kids might read an article or two, instead of just tickling the bikini car wash girl.

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