When Apple said they were limiting the number of developers in the iPhone Developer Program during the beta period, they weren't kidding. Thousands of "non-acceptance" letters have gone out to developers ready to shell out $99 (or more) for the right to put their applications on the device. In fact we were hard pressed to find more than a handful of developers who were not rejected.
In the email, Apple wrote:
Dear Registered iPhone Developer,
Thank you for expressing interest in the iPhone Developer Program. We have received your enrollment request. As this time, the iPhone Developer Program is available to a limited number of developers and we plan to expand during the beta period. We will contact you again regarding your enrollment status at the appropriate time. Thank you for applying.
Best regards, iPhone Developer Program
Documentation and a software developer's kit (complete with emulator) are available for free from the iPhone developer web site. But in order to try your program on a real phone or make it available for sale in the App Store you have to be a registered, paying developer. The standard program, at $99, is for "developers who are creating free and commercial applications" for the iPhone and iPod touch. The enterprise program ($299) lets you "create proprietary, in-house applications". Apple says the programs will be open to all in June when iPhone 2.0 ships.
Reactions in the development community ranged from resigned to outraged. On the macrumors forum, one developer wrote: "I got a rejection email and it feels like I've been stood up for my high school prom."