Well, Apple's done it again. The company has censored yet another app from its precious App Store, this time because it contained "objectionable" words. The app in question: a dictionary.
Apple's app nazis seemingly felt legit English words had no place in the dictionary program, called Ninjawords, so they told its developers to get the gosh-darn heck out of there. (Hopefully that language isn't too strong for Apple's moral code. I wouldn't want to offend anyone.) Non-PG words in a dictionary -- a horrendous idea, I know.
This is far from the first time Apple has irritated iPhone customers with a questionable decision; in fact, we're starting to lose count. But five big themes seem to pop up time and time again. Do any of these ring a bell?
1. Arbitrary app decisions
Breaking out the nunchucks on Ninjawords is just the latest in a neverending string of silly app rejections by Apple. There was the Podcaster and NetShare debacle, the recent Google Voice rejection, and about a thousand others in between. (See "App Rejections Make Apple Looks Bad" for more.)
People may be putting up with the closed system, but plenty of them aren't too pleased about it. Even Cap'n Crunch himself caved and kicked his iPhone to the curb last week. Will others start to follow suit?
2. Carrier exclusivity
Whether it's the lack of MMS and tethering or the network performance issues, iPhone users can always find something to gripe about when it comes to AT&T. Hell, Apple's exclusivity agreement with the carrier has been bashed more times than TechCrunch has reported unsubstantiated rumors. While the arrangement may, according to recent comments by AT&T's CEO, not last forever, it has no visible end in sight so far.
3. iTunes control
The days of DRM may finally have ended this past April, but Apple's practices surrounding iTunes continue to come under fire. The latest complaints center on -- to put it simply -- Apple's refusal to play nice. The company recently updated its iTunes software to keep non-Apple devices such as the Palm Pre from accessing the program. Analysts tell The New York Times the move is reminiscent of AT&T's early attempts to control what devices could be used on its phone lines.
4. That whole flash thing
Folks have been begging for Flash support on the iPhone pretty much since the device's debut. Yet, every time it seems the unthinkable might actually occur, the hope flashes back away before you can say "Steve Jobs juggles giant jugs of juice." (Why you'd be saying that, I'm not sure. But still.) Countless Web pages are rendered useless without Flash enabled, and there's no question it's what customers want -- so why, with each passing update, does it remain conspicuously absent?
5. Upgrade prices that exclude current customers
Getting the hot new iPhone always comes with some hot new deal -- unless, that is, you're already a loyal iPhone customer. When the iPhone 3G S (or iPhone 3GS, depending on whom you ask) was pushed into the world this past summer, Apple flaunted its buyer-friendly prices: $199 for 16GB, or $299 for 32GB. The problem, of course, was that if you already owned an old iPhone, you were out of luck: Those prices applied only for new and "upgrade-eligible" customers. Existing iPhone 3G owners had to shell out an extra $200 to get the same gadget.
The iPhone Backlash
The iPhone's sales may not be suffering, according to some estimations, but a backlash does appear to be brewing. Earlier this week, The Washington Post published a story entitled "The iPhone Gets Easier to Dislike," and just this morning, PC World's David Coursey penned a piece called "As Apple Rots, iPhone Users Revolt."
So is the iPhone doomed? Will Apple fall from its golden mobile throne? Probably not. But little by little, people are getting pretty pissed -- and, looking at the evidence, it's not hard to see why.