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Cinemax iOS app may violate Apple's no-porn policy on App Store

Cinemax's newly-approved Max GO iOS app is making waves because it allows streaming of late night adult programming that may violate Apple's ban on pornography on the App Store.

HBO began offering the Max Go app late last week, providing U.S.-based Cinemax subscribers with streaming access to the network's feature films, documentaries and late night programming. The free app works with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

iTunes rates the app as +17, its highest rating, because of frequent/intense violence; sexual content or nudity; profanity or crude humor; and alcohol, tobacco or drug use references.

The application has quickly gained attention because of the inclusion of Max After Dark adult programming, which includes the "soft core" erotic films and explicit television shows that earned the network its nickname of "Skinemax." Critics have questioned Apple's decision to approve the app, given its ban on pornographic content in the App Store.

Apple's App Store Review Guidelines specifically state that "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 Cinemax controversy comes months after adult magazine Playboy decided to make its back catalog available on the iPad via an HTML5 web app. The publication's official App Store app does not contain nudity.

Last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs specifically called out pornography as a reason for curating apps on the iPhone, citing a pornography store for the rival Google Android operating system.

"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."