Apple Covers App Store Denials with NDA

Don't talk about our silly excuses!

WARNING: If you’re having a good day, in a good mood, or are generally happy with the world, you might want to avoid this post, as it addresses a blood-boiling, migraine-inducing, hot-button issue that is likely to alter your otherwise happy-go-lucky day.

We’ve probably all been hearing the hubbub over Apple’s refusal to lift the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) on the iPhone development world. Many developers are upset (you might say some are even, irate) at the notion that they can’t share information that would help everyone in the long run, when it comes to developing killer apps for the iPhone.

Now compound frustrations by the rejection of seemingly useful applications like Podcaster for example (and some not so useful apps like Pull My Finger, which I totally would have paid $.99 for!), and Apple’s not exactly the, um, apple of our proverbial eye such as they once were. In the case of Podcaster, we at least found out via the developer, that Apple’s reasoning had to do with potential confusion with a desktop application. Yeah.

But now it seems Apple doesn’t want their dirty laundry aired to the world. Perhaps they’re being sensitive and don’t appreciate the common sense of the internet (did I just say that?!) poking holes in their App Store denial letters. MacRumors points out that these denial letters are now being protected under NDA as well.


Whether this falls under the umbrella of the iPhone development NDA or not is not something I could answer, but if Apple appends their communications as such, I would assume they’re willing to fight the issue with higher paid lawyers than you are. So wow, now we will no longer know why applications are being denied entry to the App Store (though I suspect most of us will be able to figure that out anyway). Though soon, will we even have the privilege of hearing when apps are rejected.? The iPhone Developer community sure is turning into an Apple Police State, isn’t it?

The evolution of this issue really seems to be going in the wrong direction. I’d hope that Apple has some good reasoning for such things, but none seem to be evident to yours truly, or the rest of the Apple pundits out there. It’s really a shame too. I’ve previously showered kudos on Apple for the App Store model – compared to the Windows Mobile platform, where it’s up to you to ultimately find a niche app (or otherwise) to fit your needs. Alternately, in the App Store, everything is right in one place for us iPhone users, and nearly impossible to miss out on.

At the end of the day, it’s Apple’s Store, and Apple’s tech, and they can do whatever they want with it. But if they keep this hard line up, I’m fearful that the quality developers will turn their backs on the platform, leaving it to potential mediocrity along with the rest of the mobile phone industry. Am I overreacting? Possibly, but these days when I want to show off my cool iPhone to someone, it’s the 3rd party apps that I demo first.