Adult Apps Come to iPhone, Bypass App Store

Dec 4, 2009 8:30 AM PST
LOS ANGELES — An obscure loophole in the Apple iPhone operating system has opened the door for adult apps on the industry-leading device.

Actually, the door has been open for a long time, but one enterprising adult industry member has finally exploited it to build an adult app store for the iPhone that replicates the look, feel and functionality of standard apps.

To date, Apple has prohibited adult companies from entering the App Store, which runs through Apple's iTunes program and enjoys the full marketing and support of the Steve Jobs mothership in Cupertino, Calif.

But adult developers have always been able to emulate apps by building iPhone-optimized websites that resemble apps. That's where the loophole is. Developers can build app-like websites and give users the option to store those websites on their iPhones. These app-like websites even get an app icon on the iPhone's main navigation screen, just like a standard app.

The enterprising adult industry member is Maria Gara, a Las Vegas magician and burlesque performer. Gara, aka the Snake Babe, teamed up with fellow magician Steve Sheraton to build the Sex App Shop — an online repository for adult-themed apps.

Sheraton is also a developer, and he used his skill to build a similar online app store for magic-themed apps.

"If you go back in history, you'd see magicians and pornographers are always at the forefront of technology," Sheraton said. "We just thought this was way too ingenious to be limited to a magic app."

He added that he doesn't want this technology limited to magic and porn. Apple has received loads of criticism for its inconsistent enforcement of rules in the App Store, especially regarding adult content. Sheraton said he hopes other developers will use this technology to build a new app marketplace that exists independent of Apple.

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