Latest trend: Announcing iPhone apps before they're approved

Now that it's a known fact that Apple rejects something in the neighborhood of 88,000 iPhone apps a year, companies are getting wise and publicizing their applications before Apple has a chance to finish reviewing them.

RealNetworks has submitted an app for its subscription music service Rhapsody to Apple for approval. The application will let subscribers access Rhapsody's 8 million song database for streaming over EDGE/3G/Wi-Fi. Though it hasn't passed Apple's review yet, Real is already publicizing the app.

Last month, Spotify did nearly the same thing, announcing its subscription music app before it was approved or rejected by Apple.

The main difference between Spotify and Rhapsody is that the former has an offline playback mode that can cache up to 3,333 songs, Rhapsody will not support playback unless the user has a wireless connection.

Both companies could be standing on thin ice with Apple since their services compete directly with iTunes, so calling the media's attention to the situation is a defensive tactic which has already proven useful. The Federal Communications Commisson's investigation into Apple's iTunes App Store approval policy was based solely upon all the attention brought to the rejection of the Google Voice app.

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