Daring Fireball received a response from Apple Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, regarding the App Store incident involving the Ninjawords iPhone dictionary app.
Gruber quotes "the salient parts" of the email in full, but the gist seems to be that, unlike other dictionaries approved for the App Store, Ninjawords drew from Wiktionary -- an open internet source -- and thus the App Store suggested they wait until iPhone 3.0 was released with parental controls before re-submitting it. Not knowing the release date of 3.0 and not wanting to wait, the Ninjawords developers went ahead and filtered it themselves, thus ending up with a filtered app that took long enough to approve it timed itself into the 17+ rating anyway.
However, other dictionaries with the same "objectionable content" haven't been flagged as 17+, so the capricious nature of the App Store -- the very thing developers fear most -- remains. Check out the above link to Daring Fireball for more on that aspect.
For his part, Schiller closes his response as follows:
Apple’s goals remain aligned with customers and developers — to create an innovative applications platform on the iPhone and iPod touch and to assist many developers in making as much great software as possible for the iPhone App Store. While we may not always be perfect in our execution of that goal, our efforts are always made with the best intentions, and if we err we intend to learn and quickly improve.
On the heels Tim Cook's comments about improvements needed to the App Store, if observable actions follow the sentiments, perhaps developers and users alike will begin to regain some faith in the approval process. Until then, it remains an unsightly blemish on Apple's otherwise brilliant mobile platform.
(No word yet on whether Gruber asked him about Google Voice...)