The “Up Spell” pun on the App Store is the evolution of an internal tool used by Apple to test parts of iOS.
Up Spell, launched in October 2020, is a frenetic word game for iOS developed by Ken Kocienda, Apple’s user interface designer and one of the main creators of the original touchscreen keyboard that has been present since the first iPhone.
As noted by 9to5Mac, this game originates from one of the first Game Center testing tools. In April, YouTuber DankPods released a video of some of the earliest iPod prototypes, including an iPod Touch that contained an Apple test app called “Onword”.
This application was used to test Apple’s gaming services and some developer tools. Among the various tests, there was also a game very similar to Up Spell. Also, it looks like Onword was developed by Ken Kocienda himself.
Apple has a suite of internal diagnostic and testing tools that are clearly not meant for the public. While such tools have been seen on various prototypes leaked below, it’s interesting to note that an internal app eventually became a game on the App Store.
“Up Spell” is available at the price of 2.29 €.