My iPhone does what? With Vegas-based Sex App Shop, porn is a touch away

Published in The Las Vegas Weekly issue January 7-13, 2010

lv weeklyThe iPhone has applications for just about everything—games, music and videos. But what about pornography? Now there is an app for that. In fact, there are now hundreds of apps for porn, but consumers won’t find them in the Apple App Store; they’ll find them in the Sex App Shop.

The Sex App Shop, which launched December 1, operates entirely independently from Apple’s App Store, which could prove to be a risky business venture. Apple has a severely strict code of conduct for applications on the iPhone and iPod Touch, but owners Maria “SnakeBabe” Gara and Steve August, 15-year Las Vegas residents and magicians, are not concerned.

“We aren’t afraid about them shutting us down because we aren’t doing anything wrong. This is totally legal. It doesn’t void the warranty, and it doesn’t alter the phone’s technology. Users don’t have to hack their phones to get this app to work,” August says.

Sex App Shop works just like the Apple App Store, where anyone with an iPhone or iPod Touch can download the shop and search hundreds of applications featuring adult content. Erotic photo-gallery applications are priced at 99 cents, whereas movie applications are $1.99. The shop has nearly 100,000 images and thousands of movies, and breaks everything down into 40 categories, including “Blonds,” “Blow Jobs” and “Bisexuals.”

Gara, August and Steve Sheraton, a fellow magician, had already teamed up to make magic tricks for mobile devices when they came up with the idea for the Sex App Shop. Sheraton handled the technology while Gara and August helped with magic application ideas, marketing and company development. The three became Apple-approved developers, with nearly a dozen apps in the App Store. But due to Apple’s rules, they couldn’t do as much with their apps as they wanted. So Sheraton created technology that allowed them to go around Apple’s App Store and sell their magic trick apps independently. Gara, August and Sheraton created the Premiere App Shop, which they launched in August.

PremiereAppShop.com is the first legal app shop where developers such as ourselves can create and sell our own applications,” Gara says. “It requires no hacking, no jail-breaking, no altering of the phone whatsoever,” August continues.

Having never shied away from the risky or the risque, the trio felt the erotic shop was a natural progression. As magicians, Sheraton appeared as a multiple-armed man who performed at strip clubs, and “SnakeBabe” Gara performed magic tricks with live reptiles. Taking the sexier side of her profession to the next level, Gara started modeling with her pets for the adult industry. She wanted to create an app of her photo galleries, but Apple would never permit it in its App Store. (Apple declined to comment on the Sex App Shop.) So once again, the three set out to use the same technology they created for the Premiere App Shop.

Along with a complete catalog of Gara’s photos, including the debut of her full nudes, she and August started buying the rights to a wide variety of adult content, and Sheraton worked on the back end with a small team of programmers. Currently, the Sex App Shop features galleries of SnakeBabe, Playboy Playmates and Penthouse Pets and videos from Vivid and Wicked.

“In the Sex App Shop’s first week, we had over 80,000 downloads,” Gara says. “Apple can’t stop people from looking at porn or naked ladies or whatever on their iPhones … and Sex App Shop has given new purpose to adult content with the mobile market.”

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