Podcaster.fm, a pod-catching App designed to help you stream podcasts via WiFi or cell data, should you find yourself away from iTunes and unable to sync, has been denied entry into Apple's App Store -- the exclusive venue for legitimate iPhone distribution:

Today I finally got a reply from Apple about the status of Podcaster.

Apple Rep says: Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes.

The developer finds this odd in light of the multiple calculator, weather, and other duplicative apps already in the App Store, as well as the dedicated pod-catchers from Digg and Mobility Today.

Apple does deny iPod App access via the SDK (likely for industry demanded DRM reasons), but this is new -- and uncomfortable -- ground Apple's treading, if the denial is indeed upheld. Daring Fireball links to Steven Frank's nightmare scenario to try to put things into a grander perspective:

Apple makes code-signing mandatory for desktop Mac applications. You can now only buy them through iTunes. Think it can't happen?

It could, but as with the great app blacklist debate, I think the repercussions from the community would be near-nuclear, and I think Apple knows that.

(Via Ars)