Apple gets in a mucking fuddle over iPhone dictionary app

In the latest twist of Apple's confusing iPhone AppStore policies, one developer's dictionary application was rejected for "objectionable content". Why? It contained swear words.

In a blog post by John Gruber, technical writer and technology pundit, Gruber confirms Apple censored an English dictionary. Matchstick software, developers of Ninja Words - a "really fast" dictionary, first submitted their iPhone application on May 13; it was rejected two days later. According to Phil Crosby, one of Ninjawords's developers, "Our app was crashing on the latest beta of iPhone OS 3.0. We quickly fixed this issue and resubmitted."

Matchstick did not hear from Apple again until May 30 when Apple rejected the application for "objectionable content". Crosby says Apple provided screen shots of swear words found during a search. The words were only found when the AppStore reviewer explicitly searched for the words. For example, running a search for fuc would not suggest a swear word. Apple claimed "Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."

Later the developers were told on July 1 the app would need to be rated 17+ to make it into the AppStore. Ninjawords later appeared in the AppStore on July 13 requiring you to be 17 years or older to purchase a censored dictionary with a list of omitted swear words.

This instance further highlights the confusing policies that Apple uses to approve applications. One high profile application that was recently rejected was Google Voice, the FCC is currently investigating why this was rejected.

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