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After Apple banned iPhone app Podcaster from its iTunes App Store, CNET called Podcaster the iPhone app that's "so good, Apple won't let you have it." Apple hasn't said why, but it's widely believed that the app was banned for competing with the iPhone's built-in podcast-downloading software. But blogger Niall Kennedy writes that he tested the Podcaster app according to Apple's stated rules, and discovered three reasons Apple might have legitimately rejected Alex Sokirynsky's app.Kennedy said Podcaster takes as long as 3 to 5 minutes to load some menus, that he had to dismiss a confirmation sheet each time he added a new podcast, and that Podcaster's interface is crowded and ugly. Remember, ugly is an unforgivable sin in the eyes of Apple, which warns developers on its Developer Connection site:

Apple human interface engineers labored painstakingly over every pixel in Aqua, so it’s important that you pay close attention to the details of your application’s Aqua user interface.

Beyond Podcaster's three fatal flaws, writes Kennedy, "there are a few obvious reasons why a platform such as iPhone might choose not to carry an application in its storefront:"

  • Chargebacks. Buyers frequently return your product for reasons including buyer's remorse or just receiving a different product than they expected. The "I Am Rich" $1000 iPhone app carries a heavy chargeback risk.
  • Insufficient differentiation. App authors should be able to submit an application to App Store and expect there won't be a knock-off product sold directly alongside. Open-source applications can swap out an application title and submit the app as their own without adding new functionality.
  • Misleading marketing, including trademarks. Don't misrepresent yourself or your product or cause obvious confusion.
  • Horrible customer experience. Apple will recommend interface designers who can assist you with visual aspects of your application. Long load times or heavy resource utilization might will make both you and the platform look bad.