After suggestions earlier in the week that a significant proportion of titles in the App Store were so-called “bulk apps”, cookie-cutter templates offered as distinct programs that differ only in their text/image content (such as travel guides), now come grumbles from the Apple developer community regarding an unforeseen impact of age limitations. According to Marco Arment, an iPhone developer and lead behind the Tumblr project, Apple have decided that apps rated 17+ will not be able to use promo-codes.
Promo-codes are usually given out either to reviewers to build an audience for an application, or as rewards to users who spot bugs or errors in software. While this may not seem a significant issue to most developers, Marco points out that Apple’s guidelines for age restrictions may affect more apps than we initially thought.
“Apple specifies that any application that may contain high levels of offensive language, violence, sexual content, or references to drugs or alcohol receive a rating of 17+. But, according to Apple, apps that feature an embedded web browser or provide access to 3rd party content also automatically require the 17+ rating, regardless of the application’s content or intended audience” TUAW
Therefore any Twitter, RSS, Flickr, IM, social-networking, ebook reader or Tumblr client could, feasibly, be required to carry a 17+ rating, together with bearing a “this app can contain frequent nudity and drug use and violence and mature themes” warning. Apple are yet to respond regarding the issue.