More Silence from Apple on iPhone Apps

We told you how about Apple is frustrating iPhone freelance software developers by staying mum about their mysterious non-disclosure agreement (a common reaction: “fucking NDA!”). Well, now Saul Hansell at the New York Times‘ Bits blog is wondering about the company’s approval process and standards for iPhone applications. The answer? “So far, Apple won’t say.” Ha! Typical.

Mr. Hansell examines an iPhone application called Podcaster, which allows people to listen to and watch Podcasts on their phones (here is the web app version). The app author, Alex Sokirynsky, submitted his application to distribute Podcaster in Apple’s iPhone app store in mid-August. Apple didn’t contact him until last week, with a big, fat denial. “Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes,” Apple said, according to Mr. Sokirynsky’s blog.

In his review, Mr. Hansell said Podcaster seems pretty helpful, even more valuable. Apple hasn’t published any standards for what iPhone applications are and aren’t allowed to do. He contacted Apple’s PR department and got a reply saying they had to “look into it,” but Apple hasn’t returned any other messages.

He concluded: “[T]reating developers capriciously is most certainly going to discourage them from spending nights and weekends working on new and useful applications that may give more people reasons to buy an iPhone.”