Recently, Apple began removing sex-themed applications from its App Store. Apps have so far been removed in the thousands, though something rather peculiar was happening at the same time: high profile apps, such as Playboy, remained on the store. This, as expected, concerned a number of people, to the point where Apple executive Phil Schiller has issued a public explanation on the matter.
According to the New York Times, Schiller stated in an interview that developers had recently been submitting, "an increasing number of apps containing very objectionable content. It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degradable and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see." According to a number of analysts, it was also because Apple wanted to remove a lot of the questionable content as its products became increasingly popular, so that new customers weren't scared away.
Apple's iPod touch is marketed mainly at the younger audience, with the advertisements for the device showing off gaming capabilities; if parents discover that their children can gain access to content such as that which has been removed, then you can guarantee that won't bode well for the image of the Cupertino-based company.
With the iPhone OS 3.0 release last year, Apple introduced parental controls in order to keep this type of content from reaching the hands of younger folk, though it seems that this approach isn't enough for the parents. This scenario has already set a number of developers into a state of shock, with some having every single one of their applications removed – those which had been affected in such a way intend to move to other platforms, such as Google's Android operating system. Schiller also addressed the aforementioned issue, stating that Apple cares deeply for it developers, but in this case, the women and children had to come first.
Sports Illustrated and Playboy are still available on the App Store, but this is apparently due to the fact that these are highly trusted companies – you won't find them trying to sneak in explicitly R-rated content into the apps, as they also have a public image to maintain. With smaller developers, that is less of a problem. The whole issue seems to be loved or hated by those sharing their opinion, though a lot seem to be distraught by the hypocrisy of the whole ordeal, including high-profile Apple blogger John Gruber.