I think we can all agree by now that the App Store has quite a few gems, but also a number of "me too!" apps, useless trinkets, and some that outright duplicate native apps that ships on the phone. Now that I have your silent concession, does it make any sense that Apple just denied Podcaster, a native app that can download podcasts on the fly?
Previewed last month at UneasySilence, Al Sokirynsky's Podcaster is a native iPhone app version of Podcaster.fm, a web app that could stream podcasts over WiFi or even EDGE. The obvious idea behind a native version is that podcasts could not only be streamed, but downloaded on the fly for offline listening. This can be especially handy if you know you won't be anywhere near your main iTunes computer for a while, or for those who just have to hear that new episode of their favorite show before making the commute home from work. Podcaster's UI looks nice and simple, and Sokirynsky proclaims that he's designed everything according to Apple's guides, so it shouldn't be a violation of the iTunes App Store Prime Directive.
Nevertheless, Apple has denied Podcaster's entry into the App Store on the grounds that "since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes." If that doesn't spell "anti-competitive," we're not sure what does. Further, whoever threw down this particular gauntlet hasn't seen the wide selection of calculators, note takers, and stock checkers that aren't doing much for the App Store's signal-to-noise ratio. On a grander scale, though, this brings to light once again the pits and perils of Apple's filtered application approval process.
Naturally, considering how cool of an app Podcaster looks to be, we're hoping there is some kind of appeal process with which Sokirynsky may be able to plead his case. Until Apple can be shown the light, though, Sokirynsky will distribute Podcaster for a $9.99 donation via the iTunes Store's AdHoc system. Simply sign up at his site and wait for instructions.Posted on