The New York Times reported (log-in required) early this morning that Apple rejected has Sony’s ebook reader app. Sony had announced its plans for an iOS reader app in late November, promising that it would arrive in December. On its Reader Store mobile app page, Sony describes Apple’s rejection:
We would like to update everyone on the status of our Reader™ for iPhone® mobile application. We created an app that we’re very excited about, which includes all the features you’ve come to expect from a mobile reading application – including access to your existing collection, synching with your Reader Daily Edition™ and purchasing new content as is possible on other mobile platforms.
Unfortunately, with little notice, Apple changed the way it enforces its rules and this will prevent the current version of the Reader™ for iPhone® from being available in the app store. We opened a dialog with Apple to see if we can come up with an equitable resolution but reached an impasse at this time. We’re exploring other avenues to bring the Reader experience to Apple mobile devices. We know that many of you are eagerly awaiting the application and we appreciate your continued patience.
The inability to purchase ebooks from other ebook retailers within an app is not new and is not possible within the existing Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Borders apps – users are kicked to a web interface to make ebook purchases from these retailers. In our view, this is not a change in Apple’s policy if the Sony reader app offered a way to purchase Sony’s ebooks within the app, giving it different functionality compared to other ereader apps (except Apple’s own iBooks app, of course).
The New York Times did note a possible change in Apple’s policy that could be alarming if true – Apple might disallow users the ability to access content purchased outside of the App Store:
The company has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store.
This would mean, for example, that those who purchase ebooks from Amazon (which we often do ourselves) would no longer be able to access these books through the Kindle app. This would represent a drastic–and unwelcome–change in Apple’s policy in our eyes and we hope that it is not true. Apple has not made any official statement in response to what was reported by the New York Times.