Apple Responds to Ninjawords Dictionary Issue

There was much concern over yet another rejection in the App Store a couple of days ago. I wrote a piece on the Apple Blog requesting that Apple address this at a higher level to get a handle on the issue.

The good news is that today Daring Fireball published numerous parts of a lengthy and thoughtful response from Phil Schiller:

Contrary to what you reported, the Ninjawords application was not rejected in the App Store review process for including common “swear” words. In fact anyone can easily see that Apple has previously approved other dictionary applications in the App Store that include all of the “swear” words that you gave as examples in your story.

Apple did not ask the developer to censor any content in Ninjawords, the developer decided to do that themselves in order to get to market faster. Even though the developer chose to censor some terms, there still remained enough vulgar terms that it required a parental control rating of 17+.

You can read the entire Daring Fireball article for more.

While the response was targeted to Ninjawords — and Gruber could point out other inconsistencies regarding dictionary apps — I wholeheartedly agree that Schiller sending such a detailed response is a great sign.

What I hoped for out of this episode were two things:

  • Visibility and acknowledgment of App Store approval issues at the executive level.
  • Real communication from Apple, not just the blanket one-line comments (or silence) we’ve been getting.

With Schiller’s response we got both. This is indeed a good sign.