Earlier this week, news broke out that Apple
had rejected an iPhone dictionary app over “objectionable content.” In an e-mail to John Gruber of Daring Fireball (who criticized the move), Schiller told Apple’s side of the story.
Particularly, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Product Marketing said that the developers of Ninjawords were asked a great deal of time ago to resubmit their application in time for the release of iPhone OS 3.0 with parental controls. Instead of re-writing their software, the developers decided to tweak it up by removing “offensive” words that weren’t available in traditional dictionaries, and stay in the App Store.
"The issue that the App Store reviewers did find with the Ninjawords application is that it provided access to other more vulgar terms than those found in traditional and common dictionaries, words that many reasonable people might find upsetting or objectionable," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, wrote
. "A quick search on Wikitionary.org easily turns up a number of offensive ‘urban slang’ terms that you won't find in popular dictionaries."
And while Schiller denied that Apple censored the developer's application and rejected it for including references to common swear words, he did say that the developer should have just waited for OS 3.0 with parental controls, to avoid the inconvenience.
"Apple did not ask the developer to censor any content in Ninjawords,” Schiller said. “The developer decided to do that themselves in order to get to market faster," he wrote. "Even though the developer chose to censor some terms, there still remained enough vulgar terms that it required a parental control rating of 17+."
It is not surprising to see Apple execs personally answering to criticism, given that the company’s approval process and lack of transparency with developers has been heavily bashed throughout the course of the App Store’s existence.