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June 25, 2009

Apple rejects soft-core porn iPhone app

Posted: 12:59 PM ET

False alarm: Apple is not - at least not yet - approving iPhone apps containing pictures of naked women.

The blogosphere lit up Thursday with reports that Hottest Girls had the distinguished privilege of being the first application approved for sale in the iTunes App Store that contains nudity. The Hottest Girls iPhone app is not new, but as of Thursday, it added photos of topless women to its gallery of "2200+ sexy bikini babes and lingerie models."

Of course, porn has long been accessible on the iPhone through its Internet browser, but this appeared to mark the first time Apple has sanctioned images of naked women for the popular device.

An image from the 'Hottest Girls' application for sale in the iTunes App Store.

An image from the 'Hottest Girls' application for sale in the iTunes App Store.

Some speculated the "change" in Apple's porn policy was a result of expanded parental controls in the new iPhone 3.0 OS software.  Age restrictions can now be set to prevent mature downloads from the App Store.

According to a Gizmodo article that seemed oddly excited by this news:

This is not just an application that downloads softcore content from the Web, bypassing Apple's censorship. There is no censorship here, as this is truly an Apple approved app "rated 17+" for "frequent/intense sexual content or nudity" and "frequent/intense mature/suggestive theme."

The editors at Wired.com took the Hottest Girls app for a test drive and were underwhelmed. "The application itself is terrible," wrote Wired's tester, "but you can be sure that there will be more, and better, very soon."

Shortly afterwards, the Hottest Girls app, which claims to be the first officially sanctioned iTunes app to contain topless photos, disappeared from the iTunes store.

A website allegedly run by Hottest Girls app developers explained the disappearance:

The Hottest Girls app is temporarily sold out. The server usage is extremely high because of the popularity of this app. Thus, by not distributing the app, we can prevent our servers from crashing. Those who already have the app will still be able to use our app. To answer the question on everyone's mind: Yes, the topless images will still be there when it is sold again.

By Thursday afternoon, Apple's public relations team felt the need to weigh in. From Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr:

Apple will not distribute applications that contain inappropriate content, such as pornography. The developer of this application added inappropriate content directly from their server after the application had been approved and distributed, and after the developer had subsequently been asked to remove some offensive content. This was a direct violation of the terms of the iPhone Developer Program. The application is no longer available on the App Store.

Did Apple do the right thing? Is the fuss over this episode just silly? And, given how lucrative the pornography industry is, is it just a matter of time before nudie pics become available through the App Store?

Posted by:
Filed under: Apple • Internet • iPhone • online video • technology


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