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.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Windows 7 RTM contains a rather nasty chkdsk bug

Next Story

Mac OS X 10.5.8 released

64 Comments

View more comments

They've been going downhill for the past couple months now. I think it was around the announcement of the stupid Shuffle headphones that things seemed to take a turn for the worst.

bob_c_b said,
Yes, the Neowin smear campaign is really working out well.

Stop crying and come to terms with the fact your beloved company isn't perfect.

Sethos said,
Stop crying and come to terms with the fact your beloved company isn't perfect.

Ahh Sethos who doesn't like ANYTHING.

bob_c_b said,
Ahh Sethos who doesn't like ANYTHING.

I'm not sure how that's in any way a rebuttal. It actually puts him in a more objective position.

Kirkburn said,
I'm not sure how that's in any way a rebuttal. It actually puts him in a more objective position.

Agree.

Kirkburn said,
I'm not sure how that's in any way a rebuttal. It actually puts him in a more objective position.

Only if you think anything he has to say adds to the discussion. Sethos, from my expreience with him, hates everything and has stated his mission is to be critical.

I just looked up the word "f**k" on the Dictionary Dashboard widget built into my MacBookPro which display a full definition in graphic detail.

OMG! I want a refund on my MacBookPro because it contains objectionable content!!! NOT!

Seriously, I don't understand why a developer can write any app for the Mac whether is duplicates existing functionality or not, but on the iPhone the very same developer has to work with no guidelines trying not to step on someone's toes.

Apple, why not let the market decide if a third party app is better than your own app and provide the same rules for content across both platforms? They are both MacOS X anyway.

I hate the randomness of the App Store approval process. They really need to be consistent. My Oxford Dictionary app has the f-word in it. Why did it get approved?

Just another reason why I would never buy an iphone. Not only are they Nazis about the apps, but they're nonsensical Nazis at that. I bet they outsourced their approvals department.

Wow, apple showing their true colors. next will be any news source that post anything bad about apple will be banned from being displayed or stored or used by anything apple... where does it stop?

OK this is stupid on a whole new level, I swear to god (ha no pun intended but have I offended both Apple and religious people??) If those words are included in the Oxford English Dictionary then I don't see how Apple can justify this decision? This if passed to the FCC will surely add serious weight to them getting fined for controlling a market.

Commenting is disabled on this article.