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Apple creates 'explicit' category for App Store software [u]

Though it is not yet in use, Apple has added a category for developers to label their applications as "explicit" software in the App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch [Update: now removed].

Update: Apple has now removed the explicit tag from the developer Web site. An Apple representative reportedly told one developer that the company is considering an option in the future, but "it's not going to happen anytime soon."

A developer revealed to Cult of Mac that the new category is available for selection on the iTunesConnect Web site. However, applications with the "explicit" distinction have not yet appeared in the App Store.

The change could signal that Apple is preparing to launch an adults-only section of the App Store that would segregate potentially offensive content from the remainder of applications.

The move follows Apple's removal of more than 5,000 applications the company said were "overtly sexual." The change in policy came after the company received numerous complaints from users who were concerned children would be able to access inappropriate content from the App Store on their iPhone or iPod touch. Whether those applications removed in the last week would be allowed in to the App Store under the new "explicit" category is unknown.

Apple is also preparing to launch its iPad device, a new form factor the company will pitch as a multimedia accessory that can serve as an e-reader of novels and textbooks. The new hardware will also have access to the App Store and its library of more than 140,000 applications. Its potential adoption in the education market could have played a part in Apple's decision to remove sexual content.

Though Apple purged a number of applications (including some mistakenly), other adult oriented content remained on the App Store, including applications from Playboy and . Phil Schiller, head of worldwide product marketing for Apple, told The New York Times that his company had decided that well-known, established brands would be allowed to remain on the App Store.