Apple's Schiller personally responds to App Store criticism

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
In an unprecedented move, Apple executive Phil Schiller has personally responded a report that criticized the company's handling of a third-party dictionary program on the iPhone App Store.



In an e-mail to John Gruber of Daring Fireball, Schiller explained that the developers of the application Ninjawords were asked months ago to resubmit their application once iPhone OS 3.0 with parental controls came out, due to questionable content included in the software. Instead, the developer decided to remove the "offensive" words, which were included in the application's source Wikitionary.org, but not in traditional dictionaries.



"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," wrote Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "A quick search on Wikitionary.org easily turns up a number of offensive "urban slang" terms that you won't find in popular dictionaries."



Schiller's e-mail this week was in response to a highly critical column published by Gruber two days earlier, in which Gruber said that Apple censored the developer's application and rejected it for including references to common swear words. The Apple executive denied both of those statements.



However, Schiller did say that the best course of action for the developer would probably have been to follow the suggestion of the App Store reviewers to wait for the parental controls on iPhone OS 3.0.



"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," Schiller 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+."



Schiller's response is interesting not only because Apple executives rarely comment on anything publicly, but also because it is one of the most prominent examples of the company defending its App Store approval process. The iPhone maker has repeatedly come under fire recently for how it handles the approval of applications for the App Store, from the length of time it takes for software to be reviewed to the availability of promotional codes



Apple is even under investigation from the Federal Communications Commission for its rejection of the Google Voice software, as well as other third-party applications that utilized Google's service. One such program that was removed from the App Store has been re-released for free by the developer on hacked iPhones.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 131
    First!



    Now this is interesting. I guess Apple never make up their mind and I think they screwed up BIG time this time.



    Kasper or Appleinsider - have you designed mobile site for iPhone yet? It's taking too darn long to load on AI site on iPhone.



    When are you going to redesign the website too? :P
  • Reply 2 of 131
    donlphidonlphi Posts: 214member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by supremedesigner View Post


    First!



    Now this is interesting. I guess Apple never make up their mind and I think they screwed up BIG time this time.



    Kasper or Appleinsider - have you designed mobile site for iPhone yet? It's taking too darn long to load on AI site on iPhone.



    When are you going to redesign the website too? :P



    Works fine for me. You still rocking the EDGE network?
  • Reply 3 of 131
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    Maybe he could comment on the Google Voice debacle while he is at it. I would love to hear that explanation...
  • Reply 4 of 131
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    Apple said months back that 95% of submitted apps get approved within 1 week. Right now their developers website says 98% of the apps get approved in 14 days. They need to to seriously fix that otherwise by next year it will take month!!
  • Reply 5 of 131
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    I think the truth to this lies somewhere in between what both parties (Apple & Ninjaword) are saying. Apple might have been too vague about what to do, which many developers can attest to seeing on their own at some point, but Ninjaword might have embellished on the idea that Apple rejected an English dictionary, which sounds just awful.



    The app's in there now and the "truth" has been discussed, so it's time to move on. This isn't as bad as I've seen a lot of people try to make it sound (even after Apple's comments.)
  • Reply 6 of 131
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Sounds to me like the ninjadict developers could have--and should have--figured this all out for themselves and saved the world a lot of wasted time reading and writing about it. It got themselves a lot of free PR though.
  • Reply 7 of 131
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    ...It got themselves a lot of free PR though.



    I suspect that was actually goal...
  • Reply 8 of 131
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Why did Apple hire the bejesus police in the first place? Just put in place a check off that you're over 18 and be done with it. Who cares? There will always be something to offend someone these days regardless.
  • Reply 9 of 131
    physguyphysguy Posts: 920member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    Why did Apple hire the Jesus police in the first place? Just put in place a check off that you're over 18 and be done with it.



    You do realize that that is exactly what Apple did do. If you read Gruber's account and then Shiller's response there is NO conflict between the two accounts. The published letter of rejection from apples states exactly what Shiller stated and there is nothing in Gruber's article to indicate that Apple told them to censor the dictionary, just to wait until 3.0 to allow the 17+ check box.
  • Reply 10 of 131
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,608member
    Honestly, does anyone really give a s**t about this dictionary program? I mean come on.



    What I really wanted to hear him respond to was the Google Voice rejection. That is what EVERYONE is upset about, yet Apple finally responds when it relates to some POS dictionary.
  • Reply 11 of 131
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by physguy View Post


    You do realize that that is exactly what Apple did do. If you read Gruber's account and then Shiller's response there is NO conflict between the two accounts. The published letter of rejection from apples states exactly what Shiller stated and there is nothing in Gruber's article to indicate that Apple told them to censor the dictionary, just to wait until 3.0 to allow the 17+ check box.



    OK- then where's all the Porn Apps?? Don't tell me there is no Apple censorship- that's utter BS.
  • Reply 12 of 131
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    Why did Apple hire the Jesus police in the first place? Just put in place a check off that you're over 18 and be done with it. Who cares? There will always be something to offend someone these days regardless.



    this comment offends me in so many ways, you have no idea
  • Reply 13 of 131
    justflybobjustflybob Posts: 1,337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by donlphi View Post


    Works fine for me. You still rocking the EDGE network?



  • Reply 14 of 131
    justflybobjustflybob Posts: 1,337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post


    this comment offends me in so many ways, you have no idea



    Good. Let's keep it that way.
  • Reply 15 of 131
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    OK- then where's all the Porn Apps?? Don't tell me there is no Apple censorship- that's utter BS.



    That's a business decision - they don't want to piss off a large group of vocal, connected people to make a few $ off of pron. You saw the huge public freak out when there were topless women - it was all over the front page of CNN. Compare that to this (and even Google voice) and the only people talking about it are the tech community - Apple knows what they are doing and it's best to just not get involved in the "is pron ok" argument. Just avoid it all together, it's a smart business move.
  • Reply 16 of 131
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Funny that this debate should be over a dictionary, when the word to describe the controversy is being used incorrectly. Doesn't anyone know what the word "censor" means? if not, maybe they should look it up.
  • Reply 17 of 131
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Funny that this debate should be over a dictionary, when the word to describe the controversy is being used incorrectly. Doesn't anyone know what the word "censor" means? if not, maybe they should look it up.



    Not that I really care if Apple censors a dictionary but the application of the word in the arguments is spot on with the actual definition...



    "to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable <censor the news> ; also : to suppress or delete as objectionable <censor out indecent passages>"
  • Reply 18 of 131
    wobegonwobegon Posts: 764member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    OK- then where's all the Porn Apps?? Don't tell me there is no Apple censorship- that's utter BS.



    Well, what would you prefer them to do? Reject porn apps outright (which they do now because those clearly do violate Apple's App Store guidelines) OR approve them and then put black bars on all the naughty parts after the fact?



    Personally, I will always prefer the former to the latter.
  • Reply 19 of 131
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    That's a business decision - they don't want to piss off a large group of vocal, connected people to make a few $ off of pron. You saw the huge public freak out when there were topless women - it was all over the front page of CNN. Compare that to this (and even Google voice) and the only people talking about it are the tech community - Apple knows what they are doing and it's best to just not get involved in the "is pron ok" argument. Just avoid it all together, it's a smart business move.



    Since when is censorship a good business decision? I guess WalMArt knows what there doing to by censoring lyrics too? We all know how fanstastic a company WalMart is. At lease let us put non- sactioned Apple apps on our phones if Apple doesn't want to sell them. Like widgets on our computers.
  • Reply 20 of 131
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post


    this comment offends me in so many ways, you have no idea



    Go back and re-read then- I changed it to a PG13 Version so you wont be offended. Judas priest!
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