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Apple continues to carefully police its users' behavior. It has rejected eReader applications, which it believes are used to infringe upon copyrighted works, and rejected a dictionary app until profanity was removed from it.
Apple believes apps would likely be employed for nefarious piracy purposes

Many have fantasized about using their iPhone as a high-resolution handheld version of Amazon's Kindle eBook reader or as a handheld dictionary.  An eBook reader and dictionary applications on the iPhone certainly seemed technically feasible on the iPhone.  But would they withstand the true test -- Apple's at times inconsistent app approval board?

A dictionary app called Ninja Words, written by Matchstick software, promised to open the gates for eBook readers on the iPhone.  It was supposed to offer a "really fast" dictionary search.  The app was submitted on May 13 and was quickly rejected due to a flaw.  States 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."

The now fully-working app has just been rejected again, this time due to the fact that it contains swear words.  Despite the fact that you had to explicitly type the swear word in its entirety to look it up ("fuc" returned no profane results), Apple complained, "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 makers resubmitted, this time without the swear words.  However, Apple still made it a 17+ application, requiring users to meet an age requirement to download it. 

EBook readers met an even worse fate.  Apple is reportedly rejecting them in mass.  Why, you ask?  Well, it says that the technology is typically use to pirate works that the user does not enjoy legal access to.  Apple states, "(T)his category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing upon third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store." At first glance, this policy seems in line with Apple's approach to applications that promise charitable contributions. Apple cannot police the developers and will not allow possibly fraudulent postings on their store. Apple does not want to be in the position of vetting rights claims."

Apple is currently under investigation by the Federal Communications Commission over its rejection of the Google voice app.  With its growing track record of rejecting useful apps, Apple's industry leading iPhone is truly missing out on its chance to distance itself from its competitors.  Instead its raising red flags with the government and users alike.

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By Hyperion1400 on 8/6/2009 5:40:04 PM , Rating: 5
So let me get this straight.

They called the English language profane, and said people people who use Ebook readers are pirates. Did I miss anything?

(Yes, I realize it is a bit of an oversimplification, but only a bit)

By Hyperion1400 on 8/6/2009 5:42:12 PM , Rating: 3
Aw damn...

Curse your lack of an edit function DT!

Just ignore the obvious mistake...

By Denithor on 8/7/2009 8:08:01 AM , Rating: 5
Most people people would have never caught the mistake if you hadn't brought attention to it.


By VaultDweller on 8/7/2009 8:15:41 AM , Rating: 2
I had to read it five or six times before I spotted it, and didn't notice that you did the same thing until I started typing this reply.

By ipay on 8/7/2009 8:41:52 AM , Rating: 1
Our brains have become so good at filtering out such "noise" that it's now more difficult for us to see it than to ignore it...

On a completely unrelated note, I'm not surprised by this news at all. Once you realise that Apple (or maybe it's just Steve Jobs) actively hates the people who purchase their overpriced rubbish, and wants said people to die in a fire, everything makes sense.

By JasonMick on 8/6/2009 5:50:38 PM , Rating: 5
Silence, infidel, Brother Jobs in his infinite wisdom knows what is best for you. If he orders you to speak only beautiful Applese words of love and friendship like "cloud" and "fire" and "explosion" you will do as such. And if you are one of those evil pirate sorts, the supreme overlord will banish you to your land of swearing, eBook readers, baby shakers, third party hardware, and other unholy evils.

By ClownPuncher on 8/6/2009 6:48:22 PM , Rating: 5
I reject Apple, on Fascism grounds.

By maverick85wd on 8/7/2009 5:16:23 AM , Rating: 3
Seriously. What surprises me is not that Apple keeps doing this type of thing, but that people are surprised. What I REALLY don't understand is why people keep buying their crap. I absolutely LOVE the iPhone, but unless they change how little they respect their customers, I refuse to buy one.

By VaultDweller on 8/7/2009 8:05:34 AM , Rating: 2
You just came dangerously close to putting Godwin's Law into effect.

By smackababy on 8/7/2009 8:54:44 AM , Rating: 5
You know who else came close to putting Godwin's Law into effect? Hitler.

By VaultDweller on 8/7/2009 9:08:30 AM , Rating: 2
Well played.

Or terribly played.

I'm really not sure.

By MatthiasF on 8/6/2009 8:32:04 PM , Rating: 5
Part of me hopes you're joking while the other part knows you aren't.

By sprockkets on 8/8/2009 1:04:48 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't you or someone else say that the last time he said that?

Sorry if I miss the joke, if there is one :) , but I do like the fact that those posts came up again, and are both rated 5.

By CloudFire on 8/7/2009 4:46:28 AM , Rating: 3
" If he orders you to speak only beautiful Applese words of love and friendship like "cloud" and "fire"

HAHA. Oh god, why does my DT handle have to be CloudFire? Was this part of Brother Job's plan for what he wants in my life?

By jhb116 on 8/8/2009 10:59:56 AM , Rating: 2
Ironic that Apple's commercial, the anti-1984 world order one, still rates high on commercial top 10's for some insane reason and the one I think kicked off Apple's success. Maybe that commercial represents the opposite - you know, to confuse the masses?

Hopefully we don't become Borg under Job's rule.

By someguy123 on 8/6/2009 7:54:56 PM , Rating: 5
it's funny because the ipod's success is in large part thanks to its ability to store massive amounts of pirated music in one device.

By kellehair on 8/7/2009 8:57:21 AM , Rating: 5
Make this a 6 please.

By Murloc on 8/7/2009 10:27:02 AM , Rating: 3
you win the topic

By grath on 8/6/2009 8:32:05 PM , Rating: 5
Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind

So by that policy the following native iPhone apps might be kill switched any minute now!

iPod - they sing naughty words!
Safari - 80% of the web fits that description!
Maps - GPS your way to an adult video store!
Camera - make your own porn!
Mail - free viagara and bootleg Rx spam offends me!
YouTube - what better place to obscenely offend and defame people than youtube!

By Belard on 8/7/2009 2:17:19 AM , Rating: 2
Can't seem to rate you higher.

Morality police ALWAYS suck. If some kid already knows the F and S and any other words... there is no OMG! SHOCK value! This isn't the 50's.

Just like anything else:

-Video games don't make kids into killers
-Homos don't make other people into homosexuals because you know they exist.
-The sky is always blue
- Apple sells music that has curse words
- Apple sells(rents) movies that has sex and curse scenes.


Apple... I don't own your stuff, I'll give you credit were you deserve it, but this kind of crap is.... bull.

Grow up, apple.

By Breathless on 8/7/2009 9:17:19 AM , Rating: 2
The funny thing is that if there were suddenly no more "morality police", society would quickly turn into one big "Liberal Missouri", and you certainly don't want that... do you? The "free thinkers" need the "morality police" because generally the "rules" end up somewhere in the middle. When one side starts to overpower the other (eh hem... Obama adminstration take over) is when the major problems will start happening. Even though I don't like liberals, I understand that their existence is unfortunately necessary so far right doesn't screw up the earth the same way the far left will.

End Rant

By erple2 on 8/7/2009 2:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
The rant goes both ways. One could say that the other political side had overpowered for a long time leading up to the current left leaning political power.

You could also say that there were plenty of problems before the current Administration took office.

I don't like people that think that classifying people as one vs another. There's a difference of liberal and far left. In this political non-war, it's convenient to classify people as "us vs. them" where "them" is "anyone that isn't us".

I'm not so sure that the "morality police" keeps anything in check. It seems to exist solely as a device to try to keep itself relevant. I think that people will do what they want to do, "morality police" be damned. Some people will swing far to one side, others will swing the other way.

By Murloc on 8/7/2009 10:26:39 AM , Rating: 2
the stupid thing is that real dictonaries contain swears, it's just stupid, and it's not like it's THEIR responsibility.

By spartan014 on 8/7/2009 9:18:56 AM , Rating: 2
As for the second one, only until 'iBook' e-book format hits the iTunes store..

And of course the 'iReader' will be available at the app store at that time.

By tayhimself on 8/7/2009 11:59:30 AM , Rating: 2
Day late and a dollar short
By KeithP on 8/6/2009 5:48:47 PM , Rating: 4
You are a bit behind on the dictionary story.

The original situation, as portrayed in your article, is not entirely accurate.

That being said, the app store approval process is a mess. Hopefully it will eventually get worked out.


RE: Day late and a dollar short
By JasonMick on 8/6/2009 5:58:01 PM , Rating: 5
This article is definitely accurate. Daring Fireball inexplicably backed off the story,likely for fear of damaging their relationship with Apple. But they never retracted the quote from the app developer that makes it perfectly clear why the app was rejected.

Here's what the App's developers said:
Says 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’s application), which will show you ‘fuck’ in the search results for ‘fuc’, ‘motherfucker’ for ‘mother’, etc."

Apple VP Phil Schiller pretty much outright lied, stating, "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."

Unless the developers retract their original quote, this is just a fallacious attempt by Apple to try and save face.

Who are you going to believe -- Apple who has rejected apps for profanity before but now claims to have turned over a new leaf -- or the third party developer that mysteriously got rejected and had its profanity removed?

RE: Day late and a dollar short
By ltcommanderdata on 8/6/2009 7:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
What Matchstick could have done was wait for iPhone OS 3.0 and publish the app with a 17+ rating. What they wanted to do, though, was ship their app as soon as possible. Hence Matchstick’s decision to begin filtering out the words which the App Store reviewers found objectionable. As Matchstick’s Phil Crosby told me via email last night, “17+ ratings were not available when we launched, which means at that time, it was simply not possible for our dictionary to be on the App Store without being censored. Given the options of censoring or sitting on the side lines while our competitors ate our lunch, we chose to launch .”

If you want to be perfectly clear about what the developer said, then it is that they self-censored the app in an attempt to launch early before parental controls were in place. They knew there was a risk in being rejected again but choose to submit anyways. In this case, Apple rejected the app because it pulls words from the which means that Matchstick blocking select words won't help if the content of the internet source changes. Matchstick and Phil Crosby make it clear in their statements that they perfectly understood that rejection concerns and censorship could have been avoided if they had waited for iPhone OS 3.0 in which case the app would have been approved as 17+ without censorship and this story would never have been publicized.

As it stands, I agree that Apple is being hard nosed and inconsistent in their App Store policy. In this case though, they seemed to have been perfectly clear to the developer. Submit early, even with self-censorship and face rejection or wait for Parental Controls and be accepted. The developers chose to try self-censorship and early submission as is their right and were rejected as warned. They resubmit with Parental Controls and are accepted as Apple promised. I'm not really seeing the major miscommunication here.

RE: Day late and a dollar short
By tmouse on 8/7/2009 7:48:10 AM , Rating: 3
The bottom line is censoring a dictionary is stupid, end of story. Maybe if the app was a dictionary of vulgar terms I could see their position. I'm willing to bet kids under 13 do not make up a lot of the iPhone market and ones older than that probably know more vulgar words than the Apple review board put together (why do I get the feeling the board is a bunch of elderly nuns worried about weenies and who-whos) . This is stupid; plain and simple and as pointed out Apple has no problem allowing music and movies to be downloaded to their devices which are far worse than any dictionary. Who in their right mind uses a dictionary to look up the spelling of swear words, most probably couldn't give a fu@k.

By Tony Swash on 8/7/2009 6:44:39 AM , Rating: 1
In a follow-up post, Daring Fireball's John Gruber reports that he received a detailed e-mail from Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller explaining the situation. Briefly, Apple's App Store approval staff objected to the presence of a number of vulgar "urban slang" terms that appeared in the application upon its initial submission in May and recommended that the developers resubmit their application after iPhone OS 3.0 was released so that it could carry a "17+" rating and be subject to 3.0's Parental Controls.

Rather than choosing that route (as iPhone OS 3.0 had no known ship date at that time), the developers opted to press ahead in advance of Parental Controls implementation and stripped "objectionable" content from the application itself.

Schiller wrote:
"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; is an open, ever-changing resource and filtering the content does not seem reasonable or necessary."

The above is from this report

How to get dictionary on iPhone
By jnakic on 8/6/2009 8:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
Hello kids! I am not an expert, but simply using Safari on iPhone go to and save a Bookmark to the home page - now you have the complete dictionary with all the words you want. While somebody may want to run native app and pay $2 this free web app works just fine.

RE: How to get dictionary on iPhone
By Chocobollz on 8/6/2009 11:28:19 PM , Rating: 2
Ssssttt! Please be quiet because if Apple hear you, they might also kill Safari! And maybe the internet too??.......?????!!! So please be quiet!!

RE: How to get dictionary on iPhone
By PhoenixKnight on 8/7/2009 9:30:29 AM , Rating: 2
They'll just have to kill Safari and make $2 apps to access every website individually. One app for Facebook, another app for Dailytech, and so on.

RE: How to get dictionary on iPhone
By Quake on 8/9/2009 12:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
As crazy as it sounds, the prophet might do it.

By Visual on 8/7/2009 5:43:11 AM , Rating: 3
if you do use dictionary a lot, you may very well wind up a data bill higher than $2. having an app that can be used off-line is also more reliable.

As I understand it.....
By Tony Swash on 8/6/2009 5:53:59 PM , Rating: 1
As I understand it - the developers submitted their dictionary app containing swear words, Apple asked them to either remove the words or wait until Apple rolled out its "17+" system for adult content on the App store. The developers submitted it anyway before the 17+ system was in place - hence its rejection. The story is here

The words storm and a teacup come to mind.

RE: As I understand it.....
By bodar on 8/6/2009 8:53:46 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, we can't go giving dictionaries to children. Think of all the words they might learn! *shudder*

ebook readers
By NormM on 8/6/2009 7:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure where you get your "facts" from, but there are a zillion ebook readers available in the iPhone app store and I haven't read about any that were not ultimately allowed in. I have several installed on my iPhone and my favorite is Stanza, which has great dictionary-lookup included within the app and great access to free books (such as project gutenberg). Stanza also makes it easy for me to turn document files I have into ebooks. All for free.

Since many of the ebook readers (which you seem unaware of) already include dictionary programs I'm don't get what the point of your article is.

RE: ebook readers
By VaultDweller on 8/7/2009 8:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
The point is very clear: Apple is rejecting legitimate applications without any good reason to do so.

Your post reinforces this. If similar apps have been approved in the past, isn't it a bit arbitrary that these ones were rejected?

RE: ebook readers
By smackababy on 8/7/2009 9:18:08 AM , Rating: 2
They have a good reason. Programs are likely to duplicate, in some way, functionality of an app Apple or one of their friends make. They couldn't have anyone competing with them, that would be terrible for the industry.

High resolution?
By noirsoft on 8/6/2009 6:58:24 PM , Rating: 5
The iPhone as a high-resolution Kindle? I think you mean low resolution.

Kindle is 600 x 800, 167 DPI

iPhone is 320 x 480, 163 DPI

It is lower resolution in both senses.

It's not "in mass"
By fezzik1620 on 8/7/2009 8:09:39 AM , Rating: 1
EBook readers met an even worse fate. Apple is reportedly rejecting them in mass.

I believe you meant en masse, not in mass. It is a French phrase commonly used in English like faux pas or laissez-faire.

RE: It's not "in mass"
By smackababy on 8/7/2009 9:00:18 AM , Rating: 4
Or he could have meant exactly what "en masse" refers to? You know, in mass.

Another Apple move...
By TechJunko on 8/6/2009 8:18:25 PM , Rating: 4
Come on, this is classic Apple. They are going to do whatever they can to make sure their apps are going to be on top. Lets see, skype did so well on the iPhone there is no way Apple or Att&t for that matter will let a free voice tool from Google.


By MaxxxRacer on 8/6/2009 11:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
The irony of this all is that the dictionary in OSX has all sorts of profane words including my favorite "Ass Burglar". OSX, much like the iPhone has the ability to disable the profane words in managed accounts so I dont see what the problem is.

RE: Irony
By Alexstarfire on 8/7/2009 2:53:06 AM , Rating: 2
Dude, I never thought I could actually laugh at a word found in the dictionary. But you, my friend, found one.

Offensive Content
By bplewis24 on 8/6/2009 6:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
I guess nobody finds farting offensive :)


By DeathBooger on 8/7/2009 5:31:52 AM , Rating: 2
"Apple complained, '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.'"

Seriously? The iPhone's most popular apps are fart apps. Apple has now officially created the world's first anti-smartphone. It's a Dumbphone.

Not only curse words
By hydrata on 8/7/2009 4:30:36 PM , Rating: 2
In addition, Apple also rejected the app until these words/phrases are censored also:

honored warranty
owning up to your mistakes
liver transplant

that's apple for some
By jeffz3000 on 8/8/2009 11:04:02 AM , Rating: 2
It is a common knowledge that Apple products are for snobs and those lacking class on their own, so they have to support themselves with overpriced gadgets.
"oooo I'm a simpleton, but I have MacBook Air",
"woow I'm havn't had a thought on my own lately, but I have iPhone" etc.

It is a well known fact, that Apple things are for all those:
"little dough and thats all" ;)

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