Over at MacRumors.com, Arnold Kim posted that App Store rejections are now being labelled as being "UNDER NON-DISCLOSURE", presumably to stem the negative press that Apple's been getting over their arbitrary and anti-competitive App Store rejections lately.
I hope it's an untrue, unfounded rumor. While I understand Apple wanting to keep some oversight over the App Store, rejecting applications that compete with Apple's offerings is downright skeevy, and nowhere in the rules does it state that you can't compete with Apple, or at least they weren't when Steve Jobs stood up on stage at WWDC, and they weren't when I signed up. It's possible they've updated them now with language to cover these situations.
If all the rumors are true (and I hope they're not), then this move by Apple to place rejection letters under NDA is a move worthy of the RIAA or MPAA... or Microsoft. It's the kind of heavy-handed tactic that makes people hate and resent your company, and there's absolutely nothing in the letter that would constitute a trade secret or patentable claim. It's absurdist, but it will probably work because Apple holds the keys to the kingdom, and anybody who has invested countless hours into writing an iPhone app is not going to risk getting their developer status yanked for breaching the NDA, even if they haven't.
Apple is one of the few large corporations that I don't hate, and I most definitely do not want that to change. I like their products, I like their development tools, and I like the Apple developer community. In the past, it's always felt like Apple has strived to create a balance between their own needs and those of third party developers, but with the iPhone and App Store, it feels much more like they're saying "we're playing with my ball, so I get to make up the rules", only the game we seem to be playing is Calvin-Ball, because the rules seem to change to fit Apple's whim.
All this stuff going on lately with Apple... it worries me. I'm not about to jump ship anytime soon, but I do hope this is a blip that is quickly corrected.