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'Explicit' category rumoured to be coming to App Store

POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 1:17pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:53am

Apple is thought to be considering introducing a new category to its App Store, as the row over 'overtly sexual' apps rumbles on.

Several developers have reported seeing a new category appearing in the drop-down menus of iTunes Connect, the platform they use to distribute apps through the App Store. Alongside standard categories, such as "entertainment", "games" and "productivity", is a new tag: "explicit".

Apple has not commented on the rumours, or confirmed whether or not it will be adding an explicit category to the App Store. Some developers are now reporting that this category has been removed from iTunes Connect lists.

Technology website Gizmodo reports that a developer was told by an Apple representative that while Apple was "thinking about" adding an explicit category to the store, "it's not going to happen any time soon".

Apple has been at the centre of storm this week, after it removed 5,000 applications from the App Store, claiming that they contained "overtly sexual" content. But developers were left reeling by the decision, which saw seemingly innocuous titles – such as Simply Beach, an swimwear shopping app – deleted from the App Store, while apps from Playboy and Sports Illustrated remained on sale.

Phil Schiller, a senior executive at Apple, said that context and reputation was the deciding factor in determining which apps were removed and which were permitted: "The difference is this [Sport Illustrated] is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format."

The Simply Beach app has since been reinstated, but it left developers asking serious questions about Apple's approval policy, and the reasons for its sudden change of heart. Some experts suggest that Apple has sought to "clean up" the App Store ahead of the launch of the iPad, a tablet-style computer that Apple hopes will appeal to families and schools.