Apple’s Schiller explains why App Store removed thousand of sexy apps

Fiji Water Company“After four days of confusion and adolescent hand-wringing, Apple finally spoke out about the change of policy that has removed thousands of risqué applications from its iPhone App Store,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“The response came in an interview that senior vice president Phil Schiller gave Jenna Wortham of The New York Times,” Elmer-DeWitt reports. “‘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.”

“‘At the end of the day, Apple has a brand to maintain,’ Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, told the Times. ‘And the bottom line is they want that image to be squeaky clean.’ Munster linked the purge to the release of the iPad tablet computer next month, which Apple plans to market for home and school use,” Elmer-DeWitt reports. “But neither he nor Schiller could satisfactorily explain why thousands of apps showing bikini clad women were removed, while Playboy and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition were permitted to stay.”

Full article here.

Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider, “As Apple has officially clarified its new ban on ‘overtly sexual content’ in the App Store, one application featuring pictures of women in bikinis — to sell beachwear — found itself removed.”

“Designer swimwear retailer Simply Beach, based in the U.K., was removed from the iPhone and iPod touch App Store last Friday,” Hughes reports. “Andrew Long, managing director of Exploding Phone, the firm responsible for developing the application, spoke with AppleInsider about the situation. He said his company received the same e-mail that Apple sent to other developers, which stated ‘overtly sexual content’ was being removed from the download destination due to “numerous complaints” from customers.”

Hughes reports, “The developer has attempted to contact Apple since last Friday to no avail, but Long feels like the Simply Beach application has been wrongfully removed from the App Store, because it does not feature any sexual content. He said the store is showing off its products, some of which happen to be bikinis. The pictures, he said, are the exact same found on the Simply Beach official Web site,”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple should take care not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Carl H.” for the heads up.]


  1. I guess parents didn’t believe their kids who told them they needed a iPod Touch so they could check their stock portfolios and use their grocery shopping Apps. Let’s be honest. 90 percent of computer use is porn. The rest is old people sending e-mail to their grand kids.

  2. @JadisOne

    Don’t think Apple wants to start that war… they’ll just say… no comment.

    Secondly, Apple has contracts with a lot of Christian and Catholic primary and secondary schools. If anything, I would say it’s probably that group that complained to Apple, saying they would like to order in iPod touches but…

    … no porn please.

  3. Sorry Nannies, but Apple did NOT have pornography in the App Store. Bikini apps or erotica is NOT porn.

    If my memory isn’t failing, didn’t Apple tout “enhanced parental controls” as a major feature when iTunes 9 was released? Why doesn’t Apple turn them on or whatever?

    @Think is absolutely correct. if you a parent worried that your poor delicate child will be harmed by being exposed to sexual imagery, take control. Don’t expect Apple or anyone else to do it for you.

    Apple also really needs to do an overhaul of the App Store and add more categories and a decent search function. As it is now, it’s unwieldy and time consuming to find things.

    I don’t want my kids to accidentally get exposed to those sick, dogmatic, mediaeval, perverted Bible or Jesus apps that seem to be EVERYWHERE on the App Store. That kind of stuff could ruin them for LIFE!

  4. I’d like to make a decision on what apps to have, and not have somebody make the decision for me or restrict my options. It’s bad enough that when I choose to have a document “always open” with a selected app, Snow Leopard forgets it after a couple of weeks*. For a variety of reasons, I choose to use Apple’s non-mobile hardware and operating system (six units currently in my household**) but NOT Apple’s apps.

    * What next? Docs will only open in Apple apps?***
    ** My mistake, make that seven.
    *** When that happens I’ll switch. In the meantime, I’m rooting for any competitor to give these bozos a wake up call. Unfortunately I don’t expect any to rise above their level of incompetency.

  5. Nothing to do with parents or women. It’s an orchestrated campaign by the radical religious right. The Parents Television Council, who brought us the Janet Jackson Superbowl Wardrobe Malfunction brouhaha, is behind this.

    That said, a lot of these apps were kind of juvenile and silly. Not much lost here. Apple can set the tone for their retail experience. There is no need for a magazine rack in the Apple Stores with Hustler and Playboy on display. The problem is they insist on being the only source in town for iPhone/ iPod/ iPad apps.

    Plus, what will they do when someone objects to selling Playboy magazine for the iPad reader? Most grocery stores in Kansas and Oklahoma do not carry Playboy because someone protested, usually under the banner of “save the children”, but actually religious conservatism. I hate it when Christian Conservatives use children to advance their agenda.

  6. Apple needs to solve this stuff ASAP. If they want to be the defacto distribution standard for TV, film, apps, magazines and newspapers, they need to make that rating system simple and effective for average Joe parents. Once they crack that, even porn shouldn’t be an issue. There’s certainly demand. It’s a market that can’t be ignored forever.

  7. @Lorax

    I haven’t checked but I bet both playboy and SI app are pay for… and im assuming Simply Beach is free…. maybe they are purging all the free apps with “smut” since they aren’t generating any revenue for them.

  8. @jtc

    You’re assuming iTunes for their account on the Mac is not locked down?

    I actually use Apple’s settings that they give us. It would be kind of stupid to restrict the iPod but not the Mac?

  9. Look, if folks are that desperate for porn and sexual content that they need it on their phone, and they need it in an app, then there are greater problems. The simple reality is that there are plenty of porn and sexual content related websites on the net – just point safari at one, and bingo, all the content you could want, and no pesky app. All the sites need to do is create a mobile or iPhone friendly page.

    The next problem is that really young kids have iPhones and iPod Touch devices. Even with all the parental controls in the world, there is little way to provide enough protection to please everyone if there are live apps in the store. At least with surfing and Safari parents can make an attempt to regulate things.

  10. DEar Apple,

    I find censorship offensive. Please remove all censorship.

    While you are at it. Please remove the three *** from the iTunes store. I find it offensive that my kid can’t read the title of her Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes because some fundamentalist gets offended at P***y Cat, P***y Cat or Ride a C**K Horse.

    Give me back my “Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat” and “Ride a Cock Horse” now!

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