Mixed reports have emerged that Apple may have created a new "Explicit" category for app submissions using iTunes Connect. Last week, Apple removed as many as 5,000 titles from the App Store that it determined were inappropriate for some users. The dragnet caught some apps but left others - like Playboy
and the Sports Illustrated
swimsuit app - still available for download. Some devs, however, have said that the new category does not appear on their iTunes submission screens.
Last night, Cult of Mac passed on a developer's report
that an "Explicit" category had appeared on the dropdown list of options for classifying his submission, providing a screenshot to verify his find. Later, a different dev emailed Recombu
further evidence of the new title. As of this writing there is no Explicit category on the iTunes App Store, and Apple has made no comment on any change. It's unclear why some devs see the option and some do not.
The deleting frenzy over the past week has caught a few legitimate apps. One title that allowed users to browse bikinis for sale was pulled from the App Store for objectionable content
before being summarily reinstated the next day. Phil Schiller, Apple's head of worldwide product marketing, told the New York Times
that pressure had built on Apple due to "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." Regarding the objection that Sports Illustrated
's mostly-naked models were allowed to remain, he retorted that the magazine's publisher "is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format."
So, alrighty then.
Whether the "Explicit" category will come to all iTunes Connect users is unclear, as is the reason for the change. Some have speculated, though, that the use of a specific category for "explicit" content could be used in conjunction with the age-rating system on iTunes that will allow users to control what their children can see through the Parental Controls settings.