What’s too sexy for the App Store? Even Apple’s not sure

“As high concepts go, the comic book Sex Criminals has a good one: A modern-day Bonnie and Clyde discover that they have the power to stop time by having orgasms, so naturally, they start robbing banks — and getting off to make their getaway,” Laura Hudson reports for Wired. “f you’re expecting soft-core titillation, however, prepare for disappointment: This isn’t a comic designed to arouse. Instead, it’s a sex comedy that manages to be both hilarious and mature as it explores how embarrassing, scary, and awesome sex can be for both men and women.”

“The second issue of the comic, by Eisner Award-winning writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky, is available in comic shops now, but if you’d like to buy it digitally, you may run into problems,” Hudson reports. “It was rejected by Apple for in-app purchase on the basis that it ‘contains content that many audiences would find objectionable, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.'”

“The decision confused Fraction and Zdarsky, as well as their publisher, Image Comics, especially since the first issue of the comic — whose sexual content was just as strong — went on sale a month earlier with no issues,” Hudson reports. “Why did the second issue cross the line? Was it the vagina-shaped sleeping bag? The gravity-defying ejaculate? Fraction and Zdarsky don’t know, and Apple’s not saying.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Leave it to Apple to be the most uptight progressive company ever.

Meanwhile, every third song that Apple sells in the iTunes Store blares the F-word and much, much more. And, have you seen the “Romance” section of Apple’s iBooks Store? By the way, the graphic novel Sex Criminals #2, by Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky is, right now, available in Apple’s iBooks Store. Go figre.

What we’ve got here is: Failure to communicate… and still, even after all these years, a woeful lack of consistency from Apple.


    1. The solution here is simple; Apple needs to create a universal rating system across all their media – apps, iTunes and iBooks – and then implement a simple, centralized control interface to help people filter the content for their progeny (and their prudish selves, apparently). All content, explicit or otherwise, across all media types, should be welcome in Apple’s ecosystem, letting users decide for themselves what’s appropriate. The fact that after 12 years of being a media distributor they haven’t done this yet is just plain stupid.

  1. It’s okay for Apple employees to be deviant homos, even in the CEO chair, or even have fscked-in-the-head transvestite sex change Chas Bono freaks parading through the halls, but you can’t have a graphic novel in the App Store.

    Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

    1. Thanks for *not* being politically correct. I’m not being sarcastic here. The people who would rather you shut up and accept anyone and anything simply don’t have the ‘nads to speak the truth. They call you immature and a bigot. But they’re doing the same as you, except they hide behind other forms of more acceptable slander in the name of being PC or thinking on a higher lever. I applaud you for thinking for yourself and expressing it.

  2. iOS devices are very easy today to make child safe – which is an awesome feature if you want to let young children use technology without worrying too much about what else it’s exposing them. The lack of smut in the App Store also helps Apple’s reputation.

    That said, there is a lot of room for improvement. There’s no clearly defined Apple policy on what’s too mature for the App Store – so Apps get banned for unknown reasons leaving developers stretching their heads about how to fix it. Also, adults should be able allowed get any type of legal content they want on their device. Not everyone wants to make their device child safe or care about protecting Apple’s reputation.

    My best idea is Apps could have a rating system for mature content, that can be used for filtering content or ignored at each user’s discretion. Ratings could be determined by App developers using a set of guidelines, verified by Apple while screening the App, and changed by Apple if there’s a customer petition to do so. Any App with no mature content would always be viewable in the App Store (Rated E). Apps that can have mature content, like web browsers or comic books, should be enabled by default and optionally disabled by users (Rated M). Apps with the primary purpose of delivering adult content should be hidden in the App Store by default – but users can opt in to see it with a setting (Rated X). Alternatively, I guess Apple could just ban the rated X stuff outright, as long as they clearly define what that means. I don’t think that’s too harsh a restriction – customers can still find this type of content on website and web apps and Apple is under no obligation to promote this type of content in their privately owned App Store. It just needs to be clearly defined so App producers aren’t surprised and left without options when mature content gets there App’s banned.

  3. Given that computing devices are rapidly becoming the new means of accessing literature, ideas, and art, Apple needs to step away from its censorship role which is at odds with freedom of expression and thought.

    Instead Apple should:

    1) Give app publishers the ability to mark content objectively for containing unrealistic violence, realistic violence, sexual information, sexual situations, sexual depictions, religious viewpoints, in-app purchases, etc.

    2) Only reject apps that are not marked accurately or promote something illegal.

    3) Give parents the ability to choose what aspects require their review (i.e. a second password) before being installed on their kids devices.

    4) Let adults download whatever they want.

    The basic test of what Apple should do is: If the only way to access information was through Apple devices, what would be sensible? People shouldn’t have to choose between Apple devices and basic freedoms.

  4. Talk about bizarre policies, every time there’s an update for that raunchy and sexually explicit app, 1Password, there’s a warning about over-17 content.

    Maybe 128-bit encryption gives some dweeb a boner… in some parallel universe, or Linux users.

    There should ONLY be age-centric warnings IF you have parental controls activated.

  5. I am against all sexually explicit garbage. Praise Apple for at least getting rid of some of it. There are plenty of other places you can go to get your rocks off from stupid sexual apps or books or music. Get a wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend and explore your fantasies that way. I guess there will always be people who have to have sex involved with everything they do. Just my opinion.

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