It would appear that Apple can't decide what to do with adult themed iPhone and iPad apps, as screenshots leaked out this weekend showing a section of the App Store dedicated to explicit apps. But almost as quickly as the images appeared, the sections in the App Store were gone. A similar thing happened last month when app developers noticed a new "explicit" app category, and as soon as mention of the new category was made public the category disappeared.
Screenshots after the break.
With only several days left until launch, Apple has been organizing an iPad-specific App Store in anticipation of the tablet's release. According to MacRumors, iPad-only apps have begun to be approved and organized with lists showing several dozen applications with release dates as far back as March 19th.
The fact that the iPad-specific applications are ranked suggests that the applications are being downloaded/purchased at least on a limited basis (or at least internally), despite the lack of iPad availability for the general public. A report yesterday indicated that a number of these iPad-specific applications had temporarily appeared in Apple's web-based 'iTunes Preview' App Store listing.
Opera announced today that they have submitted their mobile browser to the iTunes App Store, and that they fully expect to be approved. However, Apple has rejected apps in the past for duplicating the functionality of the built-in apps, such as Podcaster and MailWrangler, despite the concept of duplicate functionality not being in the SDK Agreement. The browsers that Apple has approved are built on the Safari developer kit engine, and simply provide add-ons to Mobile Safari, like private browsing.
On Monday, Apple added a "Gift This App" feature to the App Store, enabling customers to purchase an app as a gift for another person, just like you could for music and video previously. To access the new feature, simply click on the dropdown menu next to "Buy App" to find the "Gift This App" link (doesn't seem to be enabled for all apps yet).
Even with this new feature, certain questions remain (such as what if the user already has the app you're sending them or what if you're not sending the gift to an e-mail address hooked into an iTunes Store account). According to MacRumors, users logging into or attempting to purchase from the iTunes Store today were met with a dialog box requiring that they accept a modified version of the iTunes Store and App Store terms and conditions.
iPhone and iPod touch application developers will now have extended control over the prices they're able to set in the App Store via modifications to price change scheduling. Per Mac Observer, Apple has added the feature to iTunes Connect, allowing developers to automate single or multiple price changes.
"A great new feature in iTunes Connect now allows you to schedule changes to the price of your app, including In App Purchase items,” Apple said on its Developer web site. “This feature is designed so you can set a single price change or consecutive price changes all in advance."
The iPad is coming, but it may be a little light upon initial applications.
The guys at Wired noticed that there are some notable exceptions among the announced iPad apps, including Stocks, Calculator, Clock, Weather and Voice Memos. While these applications could be quickly available for download via the App Store, fury.com's Kevin Fox argued that these applications could arrive in the form of Dashboard widgets to begin with.
In his article, Fox theorized that a five-finger pinch motion could launch Dashboard and give access to these apps while a second motion would return them to the background.
Following Apple's decision to remove a wide swath of sexy/adult-oriented applications from the App Store, the company is also apparently culling "cookie cutter" applications/applications built using templates from one of the many app-building services on the market.
According to TechCrunch, the consensus according to developers interviewed appears that Apple doesn’t appear to be opposed to ‘app generators’ and templates per se, but in the last month or so it has started cracking down on basic applications that are little more than RSS feeds or glorified business cards. Apple apparently doesn’t want people using native applications for things that a basic web app could accomplish.
Unlike the ’sexy’ app ban that took place a few weeks ago, when Apple gave developers no options to keep their apps on the store, over the last month the company has been reaching out to at least a few app building services to suggest what they should be doing.
A strange dialog box that surfaced in a current version of iTunes may foretell that Apple is planning on allowing developers to offer upgrade pricing for iPhone applications. According to Ars Technica, developer Fraser Speirs was warned that the "discounted price is only available to customers who own a previous version" of an item when he tried updating all his apps via iTunes.
Historically, developers of standard desktop software have offered upgrade pricing to owners of previous versions in the event of a major release. With iPhone applications, minor updates have typically been free to all users and the App Store has lacked a mechanism to offer an upgrade price for a new version release.
Apple's been saying for a while now that they don't want Flash on the iPhone or iPad for technical reasons, but it's pretty obvious that that doesn't hold much water. Adobe Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen, while giving a talk at the Goldman Sachs technology conference taking place this week, said what we know to be the obvious reason: keeping the App Store as the only way to get apps.
Apple's decision to ban sexual content from the App Store has brought them some hefty criticism, with many accusing them of being hypocritical by banning sexual content and yet giving favor to a select few big-name developers, like Sports Illustrated and Playboy. Now, a developer says that naughty stuff might make it's way back on, as they have found a new category for apps called "Explicit".
When a developer submits an app, they are asked to chose primary and secondary categories that best categorize their application. One developer says that a new catigory has popped up called Explicit, as you can see below: