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Apple pulls sexy Stern magazine iPhone app

The Local · 25 Nov 2009, 10:42

Published: 25 Nov 2009 10:42 GMT+01:00

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Despite being downloaded more than 380,000 times, the app is no longer available at Apple’s online app store.

There was “disagreement over the erotic galleries,” spokesman for Hamburg-based Stern publisher Gruner & Jahr, Kurt Otto, told the magazine. The company is in talks to solve questions of ethically questionable content, he added.

But Gruner & Jahr, which also publishes women’s magazine Brigitte, is irritated that Apple removed their application without giving notice, saying such scantily clad galleries are widespread in the industry.

Apple’s app criteria is known to be opaque with no set criteria, and the company may be sensitive about the April scandal over allowing the controversial “Baby Shaker” app, a game which allowed users to shake a cartoon baby until it died, the magazine said. The app was removed following public outrage.

Story continues below…

Apple would not speak with Der Spiegel about the Stern application, but spokesperson Georg Albrecht said it would be available at the online store again soon.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:07 November 25, 2009 by berniebird
Speaking as an iPhone user and someone who does use the Stern app to improve my German, I find this is blatant censorship on the part of Apple. Upon downloading the app, you are asked if you are 17 or older. It is possible to lock a phone from downloading 17+ apps if the phone is used by your kids. To go as far as removing the app from the appstore (on which Apple has the monopoly) is quite irrational!

I have never noticed, up to now, anything on the Stern app which may have been "questionable", although I do not normally look into the fashion section. This is another example of American prudishness imposing itself on other cultures.

Nonetheless, the app still seems to be working on my phone as of today.
12:20 November 25, 2009 by nycinhamburg
I will have to agree with Apple on this one. As I work with Apple and other company's, iPhone apps are difficult to get approved and even when approved you are required to maintain that app. Apple does not have to reach out to the company to tell them that they will pull the app. If the company read the contract it clearly says that if Apple at anytime find the app inappropriate, etc it has the right to take it down. They do not however just take it down and do nothing. They will let the developer know what is wrong with the app when asked and help them get the problem(s) fixed. Censorship has nothing to do with it. These images were erotic and kids were able to view them. As Apple has stated, it is being worked on and will be back up soon. just a small set back for Stern but not the end of the world.
14:32 November 25, 2009 by OPB
As far as senseless iPhone Apps go: I petition for iPhone Bildgirl App!
15:22 November 25, 2009 by berniebird
Wow, nycinhamburg. Since you work for Apple, I am not particularly surprised that you agree with Apple, and this is not very impartial of you to be tracking down and negate any criticism online!

My point is... since there is a 17+ warning on the app, and since phones can be content locked from getting such content for those under 17... what's the problem?

It is nothing but censorship when you are trying to apply these standards upon an independent news magazine with risk of removal!
16:59 November 25, 2009 by berlinski
I agree with berniebird. This is senseless censorship. If Apple made Television sets, would they block TV stations who show nudity, even if it was at night time past the safe period? What about my iMac? Are they going to stop applications they don't agree with on that also? Or have they already done that?

This is flagrant abuse of a dominant market position, which I am sure must be against EU legislation. Wouldn't be the first time an American IT company broke EU law.
17:19 November 25, 2009 by Gaffers
I just want some decent porn for my iphone :-)
17:23 November 25, 2009 by Jibzy
I wont grill the Apple employee guy agreeing with Apple. Its his job so he has to and that is quite understandable.

As far as what i think, Apple has dictatorial command over the content. One second they would allow the Baby Shaker and then suddenly like a Bi-polar diseased person, take it off.

Btw, do you know this about Apple App store? :

17:34 November 25, 2009 by berlinski
Do I detect double standards?. Thanks for the link Jibzy
03:29 November 26, 2009 by Davey-jo
My cat just crapped under the stairs does that mean he's had too much iPod or are his Apps set too high. I don't understand. This modern world is just too much.
06:41 November 26, 2009 by danamcmahon
The lady above looked like one of the stars of a tv show from america in the 1960 and 1970 called Gilligans island.
09:42 November 26, 2009 by nycinhamburg
Regarding the link above, yes it is an app for a porn model but there is NO nudity what so ever. They followed the rules and guidlines set by apple. Stern obviously didnt put everything up front when they submitted their app. Apple is simple reviewing it and as I have said before it will be back. It is not a big deal and it is not censorship. The Local is blowing this way out of proportion and Gunar and Jahr are in the advertising business. They knew this would happen and any publicity is good publicity for them. They now have millions of more people wondering and waiting for this app to come back out now. Think about the big picture here people!!
10:07 November 26, 2009 by Jibzy
Arent the porn-star pictures SUGGESTIVE then if not nude? And Apple itself said that the pictures in Stern 'featuring too much skin'. Differentiate. Draw a line.
15:15 November 26, 2009 by berlinski
Isn't this a case of double standards by Apple. Look at their advertisement for iPods. http://cache.gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2006/08/ipod_czech.jpg
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