The iPhone AppStore has and always will be controlled Apple’s iron-fisted app approval team, which is fine, because that usually means iPhone users can expect reliable and high quality apps. But, when Apple uses its control over the AppStore to censor more than just “adult” content, it starts to feel a little Big Brother-ish. Finding itself directly at odds with Google’s Android platform, Apple has reportedly prohibited an iPhone app from mentioning “Android” in the app’s description. The Flash of Genius iPhone app’s description wasn’t obscene or erotic in any way, it just happened to mention Google’s Android Development Challenge.
Having Apple filter apps through its “decency” screen is one thing, but to censor an app’s description of the word “Android” just rubs us the wrong way. This is the notice that the developer of Flash of Genius, Tim Novikoff, got from Apple:
“During our review of your application, we found that your application contains inappropriate or irrelevant platform information in the Application Description and/or Release Notes sections.
“While your application has not been rejected, it would be appropriate to remove ‘Finalist in Google’s Android Developer’s Challenge!’ from the Application Description.
“Please log into iTunes Connect to make appropriate changes to the Application Description now to avoid an interruption in the availability of Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab 2.2 on the iPhone App Store.”
Now, Apple didn’t come right out and say it, but it’s clear that Apple would drop the Flash of Genius app if the developer didn’t remove its claim to fame in the Android space. The app is live on the AppStore at the time of this writing, sans any references to the mobile operating system that shall not be named.
Is it right? We say no, but you might disagree. Either way, let us know what you think in the comments below!