As we reported on Sunday, developers have been venting at Apple after the company suddenly removed thousands of adult themed apps from the App Store.
Developers were particularly annoyed at what looks like some serious double standards, with Apple allowing some apps from more well known companies to remain – like a saucy Playboy app which promises “sexy preview clips” and hours of titillation.
Jon Atherton from Australian developers ChilliFresh is seriously miffed after seeing their previously-approved apps suddenly being shunted off the AppStore during Apple’s moralistic purge, accusing the company of ‘experimenting with our livelihoods’.
Suggesting that Apple’s eco-system is being run by “puritans,” ChilliFresh has seen their earnings plummet from £320 a day down to just £5 since the ban, with Atherton noting, “And worst of all it is not a secure source of income. It can drop to close to zero if they decide to change the rules.”
Apple’s dodgy explanation
Apple insist that the apps were removed following customer complaints, but that doesn’t seem to quite add up seeing as no less than 5,000 adult-themed apps were reported to have been thrown off over the weekend.
That would have added up to an awful lot of complaints!
“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,” claimed Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of product marketing, talking to the New York Times.
We would suggest that kids would be able to find a lot more objectionable material – and get to it a damn sight quicker – courtesy of the iPhone’s Safari browser or the built in YouTube app, but who are we to doubt the word of Apple’s hotshot?
One rule for them…
When asked why some apps containing similar adult content were still available for download in the AppStore, Schiller replied saying that Apple had taken into consideration how “well-known” the companies were, and whether they had “previously published material”.
That sounds like a whole load of hogwash to us, and we think Apple need to post up clear guidelines to its developers and offer some sort of guarantee that they wont be arbitrarily pulled when the fancy takes them.
After all, it is the app developers who have contributed significantly to the iPhone’s success, so they deserve to be treated fairly.
Perhaps tech site tipb.com summed up the depressing dilemma for developers best:
Stick to safe, friendly games and helpful utilities and you should be fine.
Push any boundaries corporate or familial and you could be gone. Which is kind of sad, because Apple seems like the one company who could champion as much creativity, innovation, and boundary-pushing in the App Store as they do in their technology.
Techradar were also quick to criticise Apple’s “hypocritical stance,” commenting:
Instead, as has become depressingly common with the App Store, Apple’s approach has been ham-fisted, inconsistent and hypocritical. Online swimwear retailer Simply Beach found its app gone, presumably due to Apple’s ‘no bikinis’ stance, and the company initially thought an email from Apple regarding ‘overtly sexual’ content in its app was a hoax. “[The app’s removal] has put people’s jobs at risk as we rely on all income streams,” said Simply Group MD Gerrard Dennis in a press release.
“It would have been better to have had some warning or discussion before removing the app. I assume all clothing retailers that sell anything other than overcoats will now have to be removed?
…This time, Apple’s stance is indefensible. You either sell apps with sexual content or you don’t – it’s not acceptable to allow high-profile publishers to provide ‘women in swimsuit’ apps and then ban shop-based apps selling actual swimsuits.”
Sadly, there only seems to be one sure-fire way of guaranteeing that a developer’s work won’t get pulled: and that’s to write for a rival platform without such lofty – and seemingly flexible – moral values.