From demanding Kannada signboards in Metro Stations to directing bank employees to learn Kannada in six months, the Kannada Development Authority has been pushing the emotive language issue.
In its latest effort to extend the pro-Kannada campaign, the KDA’s Chairman, SG Siddaramaiah, on Mondaydashed off a letter addressed to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc, asking him to have Kannada keyboard layouts and fonts on its iOS software.
“The letter has been sent to Apple’s offices in Karnataka. We want them to localise the operating system for the computers and also the iPhones. They have options for Hindi and Telugu, why not Kannada?” Siddaramaiah said.
In his letter, the KDA chief wrote that by localising the keyboard option, it would help those residents of the state to use Apple products easily.
As of May, the Apple plant in Bengaluru had begun assembling the iPhone SE.
“Apple has set up its plant in Karnataka. When the company is using our state’s resources, the least it can do is respect the language. We have also requested that Siri be modified to understand Kannada language,” Siddaramaiah added.
The KDA Chairman said that the agency had received complaints from the computing community, which mainly uses Kannada language that Apple products are not compatible for their work.
“We have received many complaints regarding the usability of Kannada in Apple systems. We have many Kannada software engineers who have tried to analyse the problem. They have said that bugs in the current keyboard is hindering them to use the Apple systems effectively,” Siddaramaiah added.
The KDA’s move comes at a time when India has been trying to get Apple to comply with local standards in order to delve into the Indian market.
India wants Apple to adopt the biometric standards for Aadhaar authentication the iPhone. According to a report by Business Standard, Apple has so far refrained from commenting publicly, and is waiting as it looks to India as a large market.
The government of India had already mandated that only phones that offer local language can be sold in India from October 2017.
Apple has been trying to get the Indian government to grant concessions to build its devices in the country, which will allow it to sell products with higher tax rates.