App Store Adds Explicit Category for iPhone Apps

Apple seems to be working on refining its process for dealing with iPhone and iPod touch apps that contain sexual content that's a little less heavy handed than simply removing potential offenders from the App Store. The new approach includes adding a new "Explicit" category developers can use for apps that could be seen as "overtly sexual."

Developers have begun reporting that the new Explicit category is available through iTunesConnect when they submit apps for approval, but it isn't yet appearing at the iTunes-based App Store for customers.

Apple came under fire from developers over the past few days when it began pulling titles from the App Store because of potentially sexually explicit content. Many developers complained because they weren't given any warning, and because Playboy's app and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit app weren't pulled.

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said the apps were pulled in response to complaints about apps with "objectionable content" potentially being available to children, and complaints that the apps demean women.

Assuming Apple devises a system where App Store visitors can hide explicit-rated content, the company may have found a workable compromise between developers and upset customers. The company hasn't said if apps that have been bumped from the App Store will be available again after developers add the Explicit category.

[Thanks to Cult of Mac for the heads up.]