August 5, 2009
In a not so surprising turn of events, Apple has censored a recently released dictionary app titled Ninjawords Dictionary and somehow still managed to slap it with a rating of 17+. I am not going to go on a rant about App Store app approval inconsistencies at this point because they are already very well documented, so let's just get right to the story. According to Daring Fireball, the approval process for Ninjawords Dictionary took exactly two months, and it was a rocky path to approval. The app got rejected for the very first time because it was crashing on the latest beta release of iPhone OS 3.0. The developer quickly fixed the issue, resubmitted the app, and that's where the silliness begins. The app was rejected once again due to objectionable content showing up in the dictionary's results. The developers already took these objectionable words into account, considering it is Apple they were dealing with, by forcing the user to type the inappropriate words out in their entirety, and only then would they show up as a suggestion in the search results. Apparently that just wasn't enough for Apple, so the developers gave in and removed all of the objectionable content, or so they thought. They missed another naughty word, so the app was rejected for a third time. The developers removed the offending word and resubmitted it for the last time. Apple finally approved the app on July 13th, but the story still isn't over. It wasn't bad enough that Apple forced the developer to remove words from an English dictionary, Apple also decided to slap a 17+ rating on the app even though all offending words had been removed. Of course Apple's own OS X dictionary contains all of the naughty words you can think of, so do various other dictionary apps in the app store, including Dictionary.com. So why pick on Ninjawords Dicionary? I don't know, you don't know, no one knows, and that has always been the problem with the App Store's approval process. This could all be one large, goofy mistake, but I think we are all very tired of goofy mistakes at this point. So what do you folks think? Does this recent app approval horror story take the cake as the most appalling rejection to date?