There would be about 5000 applications that Apple has removed from the App Store over the past two days, following up on new and stricter policies regarding programs with sexual content. The figure of the programs canceled from the sale is only an estimate attempted by some site and not confirmed, as opposed to the tightening of which now also authoritative sources like the Wall Street Journal speak. On the other hand, even without confirmation from a journalistic source, it would be enough to try to do a search with some terms such as "boobs" or "thongs" which until Friday returned dozens of results with these terms in the title, to verify that now we are facing to nothing or almost.
According to what is learned from ChilliFresh, the developer who first unveiled what was happening where his Wobble (an application that was used to "bounce", shaking iPhone, some anatomical parts easily imaginable) was canceled carried out a large cleaning job affecting not only the most explicit and the poor quality programs also from the point of view of creativity and content (which, frankly, were the overwhelming majority), but would have operated a sort of great cleaning based on very selective principles and in some aspects also questionable, wiping out a number of applications that did not have such a direct sexual appeal.
Under the new rules, Apple now does not allow, says ChilliFresh, any image of women and men in swimwear, no application title that has sexual connotations, no application that can evoke sexual aspects. The store manager contacted by Chillifresh would have even gone so far as to state, trying to clarify the terms of the ban, that it would not even be possible to publish applications in which people are seen in tight athletic uniforms, such as those used by runners on ice and that no application with photos showing shreds of leather (probably face, forearm and hands excluded) it will be approved in the future. When asked by Chillifresh if women in burqas are allowed, the Apple manager, the developer says, would have been angry …
Beyond the jokes and irony, what triggered the "great purge", Apple, only lets him understand: "How much we receive – the only statement released by Cupertino – a complaint from a customer for questionable content on an application , we review it and if we find that this application contains inappropriate material we remove it and asked the developer to make the necessary changes to be distributed by Apple "
It therefore seems that it was some complaints made by unspecified people that made the "censorship team" move. Who are these individuals or associations difficult to say; to guess we try some sites that aim to intensify protests by influential associations such as the PTC, Parental Television Council. The consideration of the Italian Moige only a few days ago had invited his associates to protest with Apple for the presence of "too much freely accessible pornography on iTunes". To put a load from eleven arrived also Business Insider with an article dedicated to the 15 most offensive applications appeared on the App Store, needless to say that here too it was about sexual applications.
Uncomfortable elements are also found on the Apple forums. Some iPhone and iPod touch users accuse the "child-forbidden" system of not working as it should. PG17 programs (prohibited for children under 17) cannot be purchased if you are not of the correct age, but you can still see them in the store and some titles, icons and previews are quite explicit and as such not suitable for a child.
According to Information Week, Apple was also under pressure from the developers themselves. In some sections of the Apple store, in fact, among the first hundred applications up to a third had the objective of simply presenting women in bikinis or thongs or proposed to allude to sexual matters; this phenomenon would make, on the one hand, other programs less visible which, expelled from the top 100, plummet in sales, and on the other it would "pollute" also the quality of the section in which they are located.
There would then be, adds the Wall Street Journal, other reasons for opportunities related to the launch of iPad. The device will have a distinctly “familiar” accent and also a didactic orientation and Apple cannot afford that there are controversies about the quality of the App Store contents legitimizing the production of porno-soft applications and publications. Also on the development forums we read of very perplexed educators in proposing as a tool for studying a device that opens the doors to a store where there are thousands of applications browsing which you have mainly close-ups of the bust of busty models or galleries of ladies portrayed from not too usual angles.
Numerous elements of controversy to be taken into consideration and which contribute to placing Apple's action at the center of a heated debate.
Many media and bloggers, especially European, point out that the App Store is chock full of programs that could be considered as uneducational as those with girls in bikinis, perhaps portrayed from the "B side"; for example those who teach to use weapons or those who only deal with reproducing bodily noises. It also notes the absence of an equally restrictive policy on the store for music and films where there are songs with very explicit texts and films that are not characterized by having swayed and measured the centimeters of skin visible in the various scenes. On the other hand, critics of Apple's decision point out, if it was really the complaints of some users and some developers that determined the ban on sexual applications, one might wonder what would happen if there were a large number of people that would require you to eliminate applications with rotting Zombies, hunting simulators, guides (however ironic) to exterminate multiple people or applications that imitate automatic weapons. Would Apple Eliminate Them? And as for the iBook Store, wouldn't it be a risk to submit to a lot of popular judgment, as it would have been done for the applications, quality and content of the books?
Finally, several developers highlight a technical but no less important aspect: the change without notice of consolidated approval policies. Some of those who saw the apps on the App Store quashed had invested a good amount of money in the development of the programs and now find themselves having closed the only way of selling, which does not contribute to giving certainties and giving the possibility of plan future investments.
Here too, in the absence of an official stance by Apple, it is difficult to give answers and solutions. The only proposal deemed decisive dictated on some Internet sites and forums aims to create a sort of "red light district" for a certain category of applications; but this step will hardly be taken by Apple, a company that makes image one of the founding elements of its business.