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iPhone app goes topless

With Apple's apparent approval, the developer of the iPhone/iPod Touch app "Hottest Girls" uploaded topless photos to the 17+-rated app.


Update (June 26, 2009): Now that the dust has settled, Jim Dalrymple has a more complete picture of how and why this app was removed.

Update: We initially reported that Apple had blocked the app, but it now appears that the developer's servers were simply overwhelmed (Apple's servers distribute the app, but the images themselves are pulled from the developer's server). We'll have further updates as the story continues to evolve.

Back when Apple first launched its App Store, Steve Jobs showed a slide with six categories of apps that would be verboten: "Porn, privacy, bandwidth hog, illegal, malicious," and "unforeseen." Well, on Wednesday Apple allowed a developer to add nude models to the 17+ rated app "Hottest Girls," ushering in what may--or may not be--a new era for iPhone apps.

When news of the nude images first leaked out, the Mac enthusiast site Macenstein proclaimed, "And then there was porn." The headline was followed by the rather titillating lede: "Today the iTunes app store became a man, having finally seen its first adult app. Meaning nudity. Meaning boobies."

As noted, "Hottest Girls" ($1.99), carries Apple's 17+ rating (for "Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity.") and until recently only featured women in lingerie and bathing suits. But Hottest Girls' developer Allen Leung told bloggers Wednesday that, "We uploaded nude topless pics today. This is the first app to have nudity."

Macenstein noted that the announcement rivaled "the first transmissions from the moon landing in importance."

That was Wednesday. On Thursday, TechCrunch discovered that it couldn't download the application and immediately assumed Apple had blocked it. But it now appears there were just too many people trying to download the application at once.

A note on the developer's Web site reads:

    "The Hottest Girls app is temporarily sold out. The server usage is extremely high because of the popularity of this app. Thus, by not distributing the app, we can prevent our servers from crashing. Customer satisfaction is more important to us than profits. Those who already have the app will still be able to use our app. To answer the question on everyone's mind: Yes, the topless images will still be there when it is sold again."

Of course, this brings into question the whole notion of just what "porn" is--and isn't. In some parts of America, an app that boasts "completely naked pics" would be considered indecent, plain and simple. But in parts of Europe, well, Hottest Girls is just a day at the beach.

What do you think? Is this good news? And how relaxed do you think Apple will be? Or is it just a matter of time before the company shuts down tawdry apps like this because it potentially damages its reputation?

(Source: Macenstein via Gizmodo)

Until recently, the Hottest Girls app just featured scantily clad models.