Ken Kocienda’s “Up Spell” appears to have started its life as an internal Apple tool for testing Game Center

In October 2020, Ken Kocienda, longtime Apple human interface designer and the inventor of the iPhone’s virtual keyboard launched his first standalone app. The game, “Up Spell” is highly addictive yet incredibly simple. John Gruber described it best at the time as a “fast-paced solo version of Scrabble.” Recently, a YouTuber by the name of DankPods shared a look at a variety of old iPod Touch prototypes from the late 2000s and early 2010s. In the video, DankPods looks at a bunch of internal Apple apps and one of them happens to play like Kocienda’s game, almost to a T.

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