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Apple tweaks App Store, e-book categories prior to iPad launch

Apple has been making last-minute changes to its App Store and iBookstore leading up to the April 3 launch of the iPad, according to a new report.

Citing data from San Francisco mobile media research firm Busted Loop, Forbes reported Thursday that Apple has designated 20 categories for books on its iBookstore, which will be available for download on the iPad. That number has been whittled down from about 35 categories that were listed in February.

The categories include "Fiction & Literature," "Comics & Graphic Novels," "Reference," "Romance," and "Cookbooks." The top-level categories include more than 150 sub-categories, such as "Manga" under the comics section.

Apple has also reportedly gone through and deemed some applications as compatible with the iPad as developers update their existing software on the App Store. Developers have been given the option to test iPad compatibility when they update their applications, and so far only 16,700 of the more than 140,000 applications on the App Store have been deemed compatible.

Given the fact that the Wi-Fi-only iPad lacks a GPS receiver, Apple has also flagged certain applications as "iPad Wi-Fi" and "iPad 3G." About 40 of the 16,700 certified applications are iPad 3G-only, the report said.

The report also made note of the "explicit" category that Apple temporarily enabled for the App Store. The tag was quickly removed, and one source with the company said that though the company is considering an option in the future, "It's not going to happen anytime soon."

Busted Loop found that the "Explicit" category was renamed to "Test" after it gained attention on the Internet.

As the App Store has swelled with software, Apple has worked to make combing through the tens of thousands of options simpler and easier. Last September, the Cupertino, Calif., company introduced a "Genius" system that recommends new applications to users based on the software they already have installed.

Last summer, the company also allowed developers to add keywords to applications, to make searching within the App Store easier and more accurate. Developers can enter words and characters, separated by commas, which are used in searching the store for the iPhone and iPod touch.