Apple Blocks Pulitzer Prize Winner From App Store For “Ridiculing Public Figures” [updated]

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Mark Fiore is an editorial cartoonist who won a Pulitzer prize for his animations for SFGate, yet when he tried to expand into the app store, he was blocked. Fiore attempted to expand the market for his cartoons, by allowing people to view them on their iPhones — at least when he submitted in December 2009. This is what he got in return: Dear Mr. Fiore, Thank you for submitting NewsToons to the App Store. We’ve reviewed NewsToons and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of Section 3.3.14 from the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement which states: “Applications may be rejected if they contain content or … [Read more...]

Experts Weigh In On Apple’s Censorship

After the recent puritan cull of 5000 near-adult apps from the app store, people have been scratching their heads over why it happened. One of the best analyses currently around is by John Gruber of Daring Fireball. His view is that it's not about the money, and it's not about censorship—it's about creating a pleasant shopping environment. He argues that the sexy apps flooded the app store, blocking many legit ones, and that Apple cut them to make the store feel less skeevy. That's why Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Victoria's Secrets and—the recently reinstanted—Hooters apps are all allowed. They're respectable brands. It's a view that CrunchGear also endorses. It's also viewed as a worrying precedent, regardless of its intention. Brian … [Read more...]

Apple Responds To Sex App Controversy

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The New York Times managed to get hold of Philip W. Schiller, head of worldwide product marketing at Apple, and get an official line on what's going on with removing the even-vaguely-titillating apps. “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,” Mr. Schiller said. When asked why Playboy and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit apps were still allowed, Shiller said, “the difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format.” So, because they have a print wing, that makes it okay? What about the Suicide … [Read more...]

Apple’s Puritanical Cull Continues

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Continuing the sweep we saw the beginnings of last week, Apple has been pulling down apps that have even the tiniest bit of titillation. Not content with just hitting softcore porn and bikini apps, Cupertino have yanked apps that feature characters in booty shorts. It's being reported that over 5,000 apps have been cut, in what can only be called a brutal cull of anything sexual. The creator of the Wobble app talked to Apple to try and get to the bottom (heh) of what they would and wouldn't allow. This is what he found: 1. No images of women in bikinis (Ice skating tights are not OK either) 2. No images of men in bikinis! (I didn’t ask about Ice Skating tights for men) 3. No skin (he seriously said this) (I asked if a Burqa was … [Read more...]

Apple Shakes Up The App Store

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Lets start the day with some bad news, shall we? Apple appear to be pulling all sexual content off the app store, sending the developers form letters like this one: The App Store continues to evolve, and as such, we are constantly refining our guidelines. Your application, Wobble iBoobs (Premium Uncensored), contains content that we had originally believed to be suitable for distribution. However, we have recently received numerous complaints from our customers about this type of content, and have changed our guidelines appropriately. We have decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store, which includes your application. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. If you believe you can make the necessary … [Read more...]

App Store Analysis Show Interesting Trends

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Two recent analyses of the app store have come to light, both of which show interesting trends in development and use, which will doubtless be of great interest to developers. Flurry analytics have released their monthly datagasm covering the world of smartphones. Firstly, they showed that users get bored of apps very quickly. User retention from both the iPhone and Android marketplaces was remarkably similar, with only around 40% of people sticking with an app over a month, which rapidly plummets to 10% after three months. They also showed that the announcement of the iPad fired up a huge amount of developer interest, and they saw a massive jump in the number of projects started for the platform. This was the largest spike in their … [Read more...]

The Perils Of iPad Development

Marco Arment has written an interesting article about how iPad developers are damned if they do and damned if they don't for trying to get their apps out at launch. Arment raises three likely scenarios: You design an app using only the iPad simulator in the SDK to have it ready for launch, but it will be inevitably buggy due to this, and receive poor reviews because of this. Get an iPad at day one, and frantically bug hunt for a couple of days, and submit the app. This still doesn't give much time to iron out kinks, and the app store approval process will be swamped at this point. Wait for things to quiet down, and extensively test and refine your app, but miss the launch window. What Arment is hoping for, is that the iPad will … [Read more...]

How Bad Are The App Store Restrictions?

In the wake of the Free Software Foundation calling the iPad "iBad", the restrictive nature of the app store is starting to raise questions again with many users. After all, if this is to become a serious lifestyle device, and a potential laptop replacement, people are going to want a certain degree of freedom. The FSF called to task Apple over using DRM for a large amount of their content, and other commenters have taken Cupertino for task over only letting us install Apple-vetted apps (full disclosure: I'm a contributer to io9, and work with  Annalee Newitz). The app store situation raises a very good point. Where, on your iPhone, people tend not to mind so much that Apple says what they can and can't use, because it's not a device you … [Read more...]

Tales of the App Store: NES Emulator Briefly Available

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Considering how freaking hard it is for apps to get approved sometimes, it's amazing that this happened. But it did. For around four hours last night, Nescaline, a NES emulator was available on the app store. Then it was pulled. The app was going for $6.99, and advertised itself as a way of using public domain and homebrew NES games. I must admit, I'm not sure if this is legal or not. They're not providing any ROMS, or illegal content. Apple previously has both denied and approved emulators, and I'm sure we all remember the drama around the C64 emulator. Any of our readers know if there's any reason why an emulator would be inherently against app store policy? Kick it old school with home-brew games written for the original Nintendo … [Read more...]