Update: Apple’s marketing boss Phil Schiller responds, saying that Apple did not censor the dictionary, but rather that the developer censored it himself because Apple did not yet have a parental ratings/controls system yet for the App Store. More here.
As Daring Fireball’s John Gruber reports, “it omits all the words deemed ‘objectionable’ by Apple’s App Store reviewers, despite the fact that Ninjawords carries a 17+ rating.”
Gruber: The App Store approval process for Ninjawords took two months. … [S]ays [developer Phil] Crosby: “We were rejected for objectionable content. They provided screenshots of the words ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’ showing up in our dictionary’s search results. What’s interesting is that we spent a good deal of time making it so that you must type vulgar words in their entirety, and only then will we show you suggestions in the search results. For instance, if you type ‘fuc’, you will not see ‘fuck’ as a suggestion. This is in contrast to all other dictionaries we’re aware of on the App Store (including Dictionary.com’s application), which will show you ‘fuck’ in the search results for ‘fuc’, ‘motherfucker’ for ‘mother’, etc.
Two months later, the app was finally approved, after several rejections and much censorship.
Gruber says “the list of omitted words includes some which have utterly non-objectionable senses: arse, snatch, pussy, cock, and even screw. (arse and cock appear throughout the King James Bible.)”
Every time I think I’ve seen the most outrageous App Store rejection, I’m soon proven wrong. I can’t imagine what it will take to top this one.
Apple requires you to be 17 years or older to purchase a censored dictionary that omits half the words Steve Jobs uses every day.
Besides being ridiculous, it shows how inconsistent Apple is. But it’s important to note that this — and other problems with how Apple treats iPhone developers — has not affected (and probably will not affect) the phone’s popularity.
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