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Apple Balks, Finally Relents, At Possible User Queries of Dictionary App 259

Posted by timothy
from the my-dictionary-doesn't-even-list-the-****ing-word dept.
Geoffrey.landis writes with a snippet from CNET reporting another example of offputting treatment at Apple's App Store: "'In this case, it's a dictionary app called Ninjawords (so called because ninjas are 'smart, accurate, and really fast') that was rejected three times over the course of two months, mostly because 'objectionable' words could be looked up and found in the dictionary's search function, Gruber reported.' PCWorld also reports the story." Note that the app was eventually approved, but only after a few go-rounds and changes.
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Apple Balks, Finally Relents, At Possible User Queries of Dictionary App

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  • censor overlord (Score:3, Insightful)

    by parallel_prankster (1455313) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:56PM (#28963995)
    I for one welcome our new censoring . Switching to google android in 5 4 3 2 1.... complete
    • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @09:59PM (#28966669) Homepage Journal

      I have downloaded the Xcode development environment, and lately I've been working on a cool idea for an iPhone app. The more stories I read like this, though, the more I'm wondering whether or not I want to bother.

      I've already been jerked around by Apple in regards to this. I have a coworker who, when he found out that I can develop software, agreed to pay for my enrollment in the dev program in exchange for helping him out with some coding. So he bought an enrollment package for me, we filled out the info, and the next day, I got an e-mail from Apple saying that because my application and payment information didn't match up, I had to provide them a notarized copy or a government-issued photograph to prove I am who I claim that I am. I sent them back an e-mail saying that I didn't feel comfortable providing them my personal information, that nowhere in the terms I agreed to did it say that such documentation was required, and that if they want to send me a letter or call my phone to verify my information, I'd welcome the opportunity to do so. They have yet to reply back, so tomorrow, I'm probably going to ask for my coworker's money back and just register myself under my own company's name instead.

      So developer-to-developer, I can't help but wonder, is it worth it? Sure, there are stories around of people making a million bucks off of $0.99 apps, but the kind of stuff I have in mind is niche-oriented, and I don't plan to be a millionaire; it's more of a hobby than anything else.

      I have an iPhone and I love it, but I don't like the thought that I can't install stuff that I might want because Apple says so. I really don't like being jerked around as a developer and told what other people can and can't run of mine that I write, especially when there's no danger of causing the system to crash or anything like that.

      I can't help but wonder if Apple keeps jerking developers around like this if eventually they'll give up and move on to another platform. Apple is customer-focused, and that's great, really, it is. But at what point will they realize that they need developers on board too, just as much or more than we need Apple?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mjwx (966435)

        orker who, when he found out that I can develop software, agreed to pay for my enrollment in the dev program in exchange for helping him out with some coding. So he bought an enrollment package for me, we filled out the info, and the next day, I got an e-mail from Apple saying that because my application and payment information didn't match up, I had to provide them a notarized copy or a government-issued photograph to prove I am who I claim that I am. I sent them back an e-mail saying that I didn't feel co

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ImYourVirus (1443523)
        Hey when they first came out I really wanted one to like a bunch of other people I knew, then I started learning about the draw back to having one, some of which may seem petty to you but aren't to me, I have lots of people send me picture messages and whatever, nope can't do that they have to 'email' them, well thats a fucking waste of time trying to tell everyone that, I had asked my mom who has one if she got my mms she said no I had to email it, I was like wtf? Pass. Can only use bluetooth with headsets
      • by JLangbridge (1613103) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @03:49AM (#28969005) Homepage
        I used to be an iPhone dev too, but I've completely given in. XCode is beautiful, working on MacOS X is a dream, iPhones are incredible, but I really, really hate it when a control freak sends me back my application because an icon is a few pixels to the left than what they were expecting. The Apple iPhone Guidelines isn't a guideline, it's a Bible, and any transgression is immediately punished by sending the app back with a fat "No" written on the email. I've had apps refused for graphical problems (i.e. they didn't like my icon), for too much functionality (i.e. One application should do only one thing, and do it well) even though the extra functionality can be defended and explained as "necessary". So I quit my job, and I'm back doing embedded Linux projects. I still have an iPhone, but with the recent events concerning Google and Apple, quite honestly I've given in and I'm looking for a new phone. As for iPhone development, I've had job offers, and I've refused every single one. Apple development is history as far as I'm concerned.
  • Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hezekiah957 (1219288) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:56PM (#28963997)
    So now I'll just have to Safari to look up the meanings of dirty words.
    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

      by abshack (1389985) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:00PM (#28964035)
      Well, yeah. Apple has a strict policy against duplication of core functionality.
    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      This is hilarious. On a mac, Apple's default dictionary dashboard widget allows looking up of words like "fuck" and the like... but for some reason not on an iphone. Makes no sense at all.
      • Said perfectly... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @08:15PM (#28965823)

        Reposted from the story site:

        shbc123 says:
        Wed Aug 05 13:24:53 PDT 2009

        Re: Apple Screws Up Again, Censors iPhone Dictionary App

        Should Apple not also censor what music can be placed on iPods? If they're truly doing this to maintain the sanctity of their phone, how can they justify allowing objectionable music on their music players - what music is able to be placed on iPods should also be dictated by Apple. What about on their computers themselves. Why don't they prohibit any objectionably programs to be installed on their Macintosh computers? Perhaps the next release of OS X should implement another level of parental controls - Apple controls, which would supersede parental controls.

        And then there's the claim that they reject certain apps because the provide features similar to ones already built in. Forgetting the fact that the user has already purchased the device, why can't a user decide for themselves who's implementation of a given feature they prefer? Following the same logic as above, why doesn't Apple police Macintosh applications? Firefox? Forget it, it provides functionality that's already available in OS X in the form of Safari. And again, what of their iPods. Why doesn't Apple police music available on their music players? So you want to listen to Pearl Jam AND Sound Garden? Sorry, Apple has determined they're too similar so you'll have to choose one.

        I'll admit to never being much of an Apple fan, but I must say I've really enjoyed my iPhone. But this nonsense must end. If it doesn't by the time my AT&T contract is up, I'll be shopping for a nice new Android phone. Thank you Apple. My first experience as a customer is quickly turning sour.

  • Good to see (Score:4, Funny)

    by santax (1541065) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:59PM (#28964023)
    some people still think about the children.
    • Re:Good to see (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:04PM (#28964081)

      some people still think about the children.

      Absolutely. Don't want a kid hearing anything objectionable! In the interests of reaching this wonderful, Utopian, and completely achievable goal, I suggest we also ban children from all other sources of possible profanity, such as:
      using the Internet,
      playing video games,
      watching TV,
      going outside,
      being around strangers,
      being around their parents and other relatives, and
      being around all other children, those vile little deviants.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jimshatt (1002452)
        Also, remove 'objectionable' body parts...
      • Re:Good to see (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iamhigh (1252742) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:27PM (#28964463)
        Exactly.... I want my child to see as much of the world as possible. Look at the starving kids in Africa, look how stupid that guy looks when yelling profanities (and watch how I better handle the situation), look at the "gross" and "objectionable". And read every damn book that has ever been banned.

        The only way to raise a properly educated, informed, and morally "good" kid is to introduce them to the horrors of the world and let them decide what actions and materials are best for their life. If they have never seen the bad, they cannot appreciate the good.
        • Re:Good to see (Score:5, Insightful)

          by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @07:02PM (#28964947) Journal

          Exactly.... I want my child to see as much of the world as possible. Look at the starving kids in Africa, look how stupid that guy looks when yelling profanities (and watch how I better handle the situation), look at the "gross" and "objectionable". And read every damn book that has ever been banned.

          That's all good, but... goatse?

        • +1 Sarcasm or +1 Insightful?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by maxume (22995)

          Read every banned book? What a terrible idea, I'm sure lots of them were awful (in the sense that they were marginally readable pablum, not in the sense that they are naughty or heretical).

  • Anyone care? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:59PM (#28964027) Homepage

    Does anyone actually care about these apple app stories?

    Users and devs both know what their getting into, when they jumped on apples' locked down platform.
    Everything that followed was inevitable.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gizzmonic (412910)

      This is a pattern. A very boring pattern. I prefer the Penrose pattern stamped into a square of Quilted Northern.

    • Wellll, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:49PM (#28964775) Homepage Journal

      If Apple were to get away with censorship, and no one complained, who might follow Apple's example? Maybe the Bing-a-lings who run Microsoft? And, if no one objects to MS censoring what MS customers can see on the net, then who is next?

      Yeah, I know, lots of people don't buy the slippery slope arguments. Buy it or not, give it some thought.

      The developers who are fighting Apple on this are doing us all a service, believe it or not.

      • by mqduck (232646)

        Slippery slope [nizkor.org] is a falacy. End [wikipedia.org] of discussion. /sarcasm

    • Re:Anyone care? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:53PM (#28964821) Journal

      Developers should indeed know better, but I think a lot of people don't know what they're getting into. It's only through publicising stories like this that people will realise and go elsewhere.

      This is a very worrying issue - whilst Apple are a niche player, imagine if they did end up becoming a monopoly on mobile platforms? Mobile computing is going to become ubiquitous in the next few years, and I'm very worried at any possibility of it being locked down and controlled by a single company, who could arbitrary decide what applications are allowed, or dictate whatever changes or censorship it liked. This sort of thing can't have enough publicity, just to minimise the risk of this happening. People need to support the many open alternatives whilst there's still a market.

      The worrying thing is that it's on a traditionally anti-censorship site like Slashdot that support for the Iphone seems to be strongest.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PPalmgren (1009823)
      The problem is the users DONT know what they are getting into, only people like us do, and the the devs follow the users because they have to follow the green. Joe sixpack has no idea about this stuff. These articles are attempting to reach out to major news outlets, and its working. Just today I saw a snippet about Apple blocking Google Voice on CNN. Apple's draconian lockdown policy has limited their market saturation before, and its starting to again.
    • I care. Every time one of these types of stories come up, people either respond by saying "get over it" or "boycott." I think that's the wrong way to think about things.

      In my opinion, sometimes it's better to make so much noise that the controlling party has to change. It HAS worked in the past, despite what the naysayers like to believe.

  • by Tsiangkun (746511) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:00PM (#28964037) Homepage
    Is the solution to censor the applications to which adults have access, or is the solution for parents not to give expensive iPhones to their immature children ?
    • by santax (1541065) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:02PM (#28964061)
      To be honest, I think apple's core business (with the iphone and ipod) is primarly targeted at childeren, teens and young adults... Allthough I fully agree with you, I don't think this going to happen.
      • by mqduck (232646)

        FWIW, my mom is the person I know who was the most interested in getting an iPhone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amplt1337 (707922)

      ...and does anybody think these kids don't already know all the dirty words anyway?

      • by funkatron (912521)

        ...and does anybody think these kids don't already know all the dirty words anyway?

        Most parents will go to extreme lengths to keep that delusion intact.

      • by jc42 (318812)

        ...and does anybody think these kids don't already know all the dirty words anyway?

        Well, I for one have my doubts that even by the age of 10, any kid knows all the dirty words. Especially considering how quickly new dirty words (or new dirty meanings for old words) are being coined in English these days.

        Visit urbandictionary.com [urbandictionary.com], for example, and see how many of the definitions you or your child know before reading them there.

        Keeping up with the latest fashions in dirty words is more than a full-time job.

    • by immakiku (777365)
      Neither. This isn't the right problem to be solved. We're not going to ban dictionaries in schools, so why ban it on what should be a less restrictive environment?
    • by Hatta (162192) * on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:11PM (#28964197) Journal

      The solution is to tell Apple to fuck the hell off.

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:14PM (#28964243)

      Maybe they should kick out the iPhones browser, since much more naughty things than words can be looked up.

      Or maybe should realize that the people using their phones don't need any more handholding than the people who USED to use AOL for internet access. Just because Steve Jobs became a power within Disney doesn't mean the iPhone should be forcing the cute n cuddly Disney experience on its owners.

  • by tacarat (696339) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:03PM (#28964075) Journal
    Pirates work at the Apple App Store.
  • Relents? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jpmorgan (517966) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:03PM (#28964077) Homepage
    If you RTFA, it says the app wasn't approved until the 'objectionable' words were removed from the dictionary. And then it was slapped with a 17+. But I'm a charitable fellow, so I'll give Apple the benefit of the doubt and assume that the 17+ rating was a dadaist statement on literacy and education in 21st century America.
  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:04PM (#28964083)

    Could someone please explain Apple's rationale for their extremely conservative (and stupid) position on keeping everything suitable for a 6 year old? Why not let everything in and have parental controls if they're so concerned? I mean you can surf porn sites with the built in safari browser, so they should allow all 'look up' type apps with that same rationale, or ban safari or censor its web access.

    I'm surprised they haven't banned Brushes because you can draw naked ladies with it.

    Well, in any case, my iPhone is still slated to be pounded into ground glass as soon as my contract is up. Pretty much had it with the thing.

    • by mini me (132455)

      Safari can be censored. Check the parental controls.

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      on keeping everything suitable for a 6 year old?

      Elementary school dictionaries have these words in them too. Many 6 year-olds even go through the effort of highlighting them.

  • I don't know if I should be saddened by the fact that all these stories about Apple Store rejections mean more publicity for a company such as Apple (under the principle that no publicity is bad publicity), or be pleased by the fact that the danger of developing for a closed platform is being so widely exposed.

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:07PM (#28964131) Journal
    Who appointed Apple to be the legal guardian and nanny of iPhone users? Are they going to block internet access to http://dictionary.com/ [dictionary.com] because you can look up words like "motherfucker" there too?
    • by santax (1541065)
      Idid? /stevemode
    • by EvanED (569694) <evaned&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:51PM (#28964797)

      Who appointed Apple to be the legal guardian and nanny of iPhone users?

      To be fair, the iPhone users did.

      Which is why I don't have an iPhone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Who appointed Apple to be the legal guardian and nanny of iPhone users?

      I was going to say Jennipher Dickens, except Apple was applying rejection terms to applications from the start before Baby Shaker(*) made it to the store. But I think you can hold her responsible for the ramping up of the rules.

      And the kinds of rejections we see now indicate to me that there are people on the approval panel inside Apple protesting these rules by making these sorts of ridiculous rejections to pressure Apple with bad press to let up.

      (*) And a misunderstood "game" it was: it intended to educat

    • by mqduck (232646)

      Who appointed Apple to be the legal guardian and nanny of iPhone users?

      I'm pretty sure Apple did.

  • Do all text fields in iPhone have the functionality of not allowing the user to write "objectionable" words as well? Because, you know, what if somebody posted a comment like "I hate those iWhores!" on Slashdot. That would be real shame.
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:14PM (#28964247) Journal
    If someone is looking up a word, don't they already know about it?

    If it is a "bad" word, the dictionary ought to tell you, in addition to the definition, that it is not a polite word.

    Even my paper dictionary has "fuck" in it. My kids know all the "bad" words, and they know when not to use them (when their mother is around.)

    Does the iPhone prevent them from browsing urbandictionary.com?
    • by RedK (112790)
      I think people saying things like "There's Safari on the iPhone" don't quite get the difference. Apple isn't responsible for all the web pages on the Internet even though they make a browser (as per your urbandictionary.com quip). However, what is sold in the App Store is directly under their responsibility. They get to decide what goes on there and what doesn't, and if you don't like, well you can just get the competition's phone. I don't see what's so wrong with them deciding what goes and doesn't go
      • by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @07:02PM (#28964943) Journal

        You are missing the point - the big problem is that Iphone can only use software that is on the app store, therefore Apple's decisions on what's allowed on the store are equivalent to Apple deciding what apps are allowed on the platform, and that is the issue. No one cares about simply not being hosted on a store.

        Now sure, Apple are still free to make a locked down platform if the like. Equally, people are free to criticise Apple for doing so. And yes, not buy their Iphone - and how will people know not to buy the Iphone? That's right, with stories like this.

        No, you don't get to decide what goes in my journal. But if Slashdot decide to disallow naughty words - whilst that would be their "right" - people would clearly still have the right to criticise them over that decision. No one's claiming that Apple don't have a legal right - that's a straw man. Saying "But but, they have a right" could apply to most of the stories that make Slashdot (or the news in general). Most of the time, that's not the issue.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RedK (112790)

          I guess I don't see it as a "BIG PROBLEM" (tm). It's their platform to begin with, they made it and decided what it would be. Their rules are made known when downloading the SDK and paying the 99$ fee. It would only be a "BIG PROBLEM" (tm) if they were the only game in town. Vote with your wallet.

          As for complaining about it, sure you're free to complain. However, reading most of the comments here, it seems like people aren't actually complaining more than trying to insinuate that Apple is acting agains

          • heir rules are made known when downloading the SDK and paying the 99$ fee.

            I think the issue at hand is that the rules aren't actually made clear - see this blog of rejections [tumblr.com] for examples of things that have caught developers out.

            It would only be a "BIG PROBLEM" (tm) if they were the only game in town. Vote with your wallet.

            In terms of possible earnings, the iPhone might not be the only game in town, but it is probably the best game in town - it's got global reach, increasing market penetration, and a standard platform (iPhone gen 1, 3G or 3GS; or iPod Touch gen 1 or 2, all with the same mode of interaction), which makes it very easy to code for, as opposed to the multitude

  • Haha. (Score:3, Funny)

    by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:14PM (#28964259) Homepage
    That reminds me of when I was a kid and I would go to the library and look up "dirty" words in the dictionary. Learning that 'vagina' is in the dictionary is comedy gold to an 8-year-old...
  • Even with all the stories about how this or that app has been banned by Apple's app store, I still want an iPhone. Ahhh, the power of It Just Works.
  • Somebody submit a "soup" application, and have Apple reject it.
  • by mikesum (840054) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:16PM (#28964277)
    From TFA ,"The list of omitted words includes some which have utterly non-objectionable senses: ass, snatch, pussy, cock, and even screw." There is just so much crap involved with the app store, when the FTC come down on Apple it will be well deserved, unless they manage to bride their way out.
    • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:23PM (#28964389)

      The list of omitted words includes...

      Alright, inquiring minds want to know just who at Apple looked up all these words to see that they were actually in this app in the first place? Who has that dirty little mind to look up all these naughty words -- and is still allowed to work at bright shining, purer than Ivory Soap Apple?

    • by RedK (112790)
      What would the FTC do to Apple and why exactly ? Unless the iPhone interferes with other devices in the radio spectrum, I don't see what jurisdiction the FTC hold over Apple.
  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:16PM (#28964285) Homepage Journal

    Apple isn't just the new Microsoft. Apple is the new Mary Whitehouse and Thomas Bowdler.

  • Apple is just like any other corporation. Wow, who saw that coming?

    I, for one, wish that the fanbois would just shut up about Apple's supposed superiority. You get what you pay for, Apple costs more, it ought to be better. Better != Divine.
    • by RedK (112790)
      Wait, you define better as "A dictionary app with naughty words in it" ? On a device connected to the Internet ? Seriously, why do you even need a dictionary like "Ninjawords" in the first place... Sounds like some guy just took an hour to code an app and hopes to make big bucks off it through publicity like this.
  • by hivemind_mvgc (823238) <hivemind@mvgc.net> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:27PM (#28964449) Homepage
    "Apple requires you to be 17 years or older to purchase a censored dictionary that omits half the words Steve Jobs uses every day."
  • Redefining English since 1984
  • After bricking unlocked iPhones, kicking applications off the iPhone store that might even slightly compete with iTunes in the far future and charging developers for the privilege and filing a wave of patents on basic well-known computer science, Apple Inc. today filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring that it was openly adopting Evil(tm) as a corporate policy [today.com].

    "F*** it," said Steve Jobs to an audience of soul-mortgaged thralls, "we're evil. But our stuff is sooo good. You'll

  • by moloney (197410) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:43PM (#28964697)

    Maybe Apple should ban the phone application in the iPhone since users are currently able to communicate bad words.

  • Android = Open (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackfrancis75 (911664) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:44PM (#28964705)
    Wow, dozens of comments so far on this one and I'm the first smug G1 owner to point out how open the Android system is. Did I mention it was open? open, open, open
    • So's my Pre, and it's smaller and slicker than a G1 :P Though I must admit the HTC Hero will probably be the first Android phone that's actually appealing hardware-wise imo :) So basically everyone's evolving and improving... except Apple... who made the first major leap in quite a while, and then began shooting themselves in the foot >.>
      • by schon (31600)

        how open the Android system is. Did I mention it was open? open, open, open

        So's my Pre

        OK, so where can I download the Pre's source code, and under which Open Source license is it released?

        I found open source apps they use [palm.com], but their own code is strangely absent.

  • by Luthair (847766) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @07:01PM (#28964931)
    someone could enter 8008S on it, think of the children!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm a developper of ZenTap ( video [youtube.com]), it isn't dictionary (basically is text editor) but one of it's abilities is the text prediction.

    Apple rejected one of the first versions (called FastMail) of zentap because they found some "bad" words in the predictions.

    And what I've done to fix it? Nothing

    I resubmit it without any changes but in the submission form there are a section(Application Rating Detail) where you have to mark things like:

    • Cartoon or Fantasy Violence NONE Infrequent Frequent
    • Realistic Violence
  • Since the author of NinjaWords submitted it to AppStore, I think he wants to makes some money from it.

    This is quite unethical, because it's basically a dump of wiktionary: http://en.wiktionary.org/ [wiktionary.org]
    (the dumps can be downloaded freely)
    and frankly, it's not the best dictionary on the Web (see for example http://www.tfd.com/ [tfd.com] )

    A free offline Wikipedia already exists for the iPhone:
    http://collison.ie/wikipedia-iphone/ [collison.ie]

    So, I really don't see the point of this application.

    Is it so lame that it needs so much PR ?

    Appl

  • !

    A dictionary that is missing the most commonly used words!

    Foresighted U.S. Censorship for the Knockout

  • by retsyx (1612895) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @07:41PM (#28965457)
    I am the author of the until recently reasonably successful application Dictionary. Apple required censorship to allow Dictionary to be posted. This was back in December 2008. The full text of the rejection notice was:

    "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."

    The screenshot provided with the rejection notice should the same type of words as in the OP. Again, words you had to search for to find.

    More recently, Apple decided that because Dictionary provides uncensored access to Wikipedia, it must carry a 17+ rating. The text in this case was:

    "Dictionary allows unfiltered access to Wikipedia, which includes frequent mature or suggestive themes. Applications must be rated accordingly for the highest level of content that the user is able to access."

    As an app developer, this kind of behavior on Apple's part is very frustrating. Apple have fallen off their rocker, IMO.
  • by Facegarden (967477) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @07:43PM (#28965485)

    This summary is way too forgiving!

    Apple went crazy with this one, far more than they have before.

    The summary says: "Note that the app was eventually approved, but only after a few go-rounds and changes."

    Yeah, the few go-rounds and changed included *Completely removing* words apple didn't like, including the word "ass" among other things.

    Note that the developer already went out of their way on the very first version of the program to prevent offensive words from coming up as suggestions for other things - i.e. typing "fuc" did not bring up "fuck" as a suggestion, you had to already know a profane word in order to see its definition.

    Apple still rejected it even with those modifications, and didn't approve it until certain words were completely removed, including fuck, shit, etc AND the developer had to give their program a 17+ age rating!

    This goes beyond apple's normal bullshit into a whole new level of bullshit.
    -Taylor

  • If the bible belt prudes hadn't asked for this no one would ever have thought of this. If nothing had been banned in Boston we wouldn't be seeing crap like this. Remember that someone had to think like this or this would never have happened.
    Ask the idiots that are still trying to burn books for their content. You guys have the wrong bad guys here.
    We need to look at a society that thinks that bad words are no good for kids and so we must ban them so that we can claim we are responsible parents and not
  • by Karlt1 (231423) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @01:57PM (#28975733)

    http://daringfireball.net/2009/08/phil_schiller_app_store [daringfireball.net]

    Let me start with the most important points - Apple did not censor the content in this developer's application and Apple did not reject this developer's application for including references to common swear words. You accused Apple of both in your story and the fact is that we did neither.

    Ninjawords is an application which uses content from the Wiktionary.org online wiki-based dictionary to provide a nice fast dictionary application on the web and on the iPhone. Contrary to what you reported, the Ninjawords application was not rejected in the App Store review process for including common "swear" words. In fact anyone can easily see that Apple has previously approved other dictionary applications in the App Store that include all of the "swear" words that you gave as examples in your story.

    The issue that the App Store reviewers did find with the Ninjawords application is that it provided access to other more vulgar terms than those found in traditional and common dictionaries, words that many reasonable people might find upsetting or objectionable. A quick search on Wiktionary.org easily turns up a number of offensive "urban slang" terms that you won't find in popular dictionaries such as one that you referenced, the New Oxford American Dictionary included in Mac OS X. Apple rejected the initial submission of Ninjawords for this reason, provided the Ninjawords developer with information about some of the vulgar terms, and suggested to the developer that they resubmit the application for approval once parental controls were implemented on the iPhone.

    The Ninjawords developer then decided to filter some offensive terms in the Ninjawords application and resubmit it for approval for distribution in the App Store before parental controls were implemented. Apple did not ask the developer to censor any content in Ninjawords, the developer decided to do that themselves in order to get to market faster. Even though the developer chose to censor some terms, there still remained enough vulgar terms that it required a parental control rating of 17+.

    You are correct that the Ninjawords application should not have needed to be censored while also receiving a 17+ rating, but that was a result of the developers' actions, not Apple's. I believe that the Apple app review team's original recommendation to the developer to submit the Ninjawords application, without censoring it, to the App Store once parental controls was implemented would have been the best course of action for all; Wiktionary.org is an open, ever-changing resource and filtering the content does not seem reasonable or necessary.

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