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'Playboy' for iPad could signal arrival of adult content on Apple's iOS

Adult magazine Playboy has announced that its entire catalog is headed to the iPad in March, suggesting Apple plans to change its stance on banning mature content from the iOS App Store.

"Big news! Playboy — both old & new — will be available on iPad beginning in March," was posted on the official Twitter account of publisher Hugh Hefner this week. Subsequent posts reaffirmed that the entire catalog will be available uncensored.

Of course, it's also possible that the Playboy issues could come to iPad with Web-based access through the device's Safari browser. Hefner's posts made no mention of the App Store, or potential approval from Apple.

An application with nudity would violate the existing guidelines for App Store software, published by Apple last fall. The "Content" section of the official App Store Review Guidelines specifically prohibits pornography.

"Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster's Dictionary as 'explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings,' will be rejected," the section reads.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs has cited pornography as one of the major reasons all software on the App Store must be approved. Last year he noted that there is a "porn store" for the Google Android mobile operating system, Apple's chief competitor in the mobile space.

"You can download it, your kids can download it," Jobs said. "That's a place we don't want to go, so we're not going to."

If issues from Playboy are indeed coming to the App Store, it would be a 180-degree change for Apple, which has not allowed adult content in native iOS software for the iPhone and iPad.

Playboy already has an official application available on the App Store for 99 cents, though it does not include any nudity. The official description for the application notes "This app does NOT contain any nude content."