In 2008, the App Store rejected the app for Knife Music, a novel penned by Giz friend and CNet editor Dave Carnoy, for "objectionable" content, and he was forced to censor his book to gain admittance. Now, backed by a major publisher, a new Knife Music app has been accepted to the App Store, naughty language and all.
To get his app into the App Store in early 2009, Carnoy changed the exhortation "fuck me like you mean it" to the laughably more mild "F me like you mean it," in addition to watering down a number of "shits" to "damns" and "craps."
But after the paperback and Kindle versions of the novel sold briskly, Knife Music was picked up by the Penguin-distributed Overlook Press, and a new, uncensored version of the book—sadly offering of only about half of the novel, but that being the half that included the saucy line of dialogue mentioned above—was submitted to the App Store. It was accepted!
So what's this mean? It would seem that Apple's loosening up on matters of literary censorship, where there's sort of a huge historical precedent to, you know, NOT do it (as opposed to banning shake-your-iPhone-and-watch-these-boobs-jiggle apps, for which there is unfortunately little historical precedent.) Recently, too, Apple was quick to reverse their decision to censor graphic editions of Ulysses and The Importance of Being Earnest, after the internet made a big stink about it.
Of course, the fact that they have to overturn these decisions at all is just a reminder of how opaque and ambiguous Apple's App Store approval process is, and while Knife Music's admittance might signal a trend away from literary censorship, it could also just be another example what to expect (that is, not knowing what to expect) from Apple's mercurial (or maybe just not-very-clear-on-the-guidelines) App Store approval staff.
But anyway, for whatever reason, the new, occasionally-curse-word-using Knife Music app is available for free in the App Store, so go check it out. [iTunes]