There's good news, though. Apple will now send out a warning after 90 days of locking up a name with no actual files uploaded, and then 30 days later will delete the record on the App Store. And notices are going out; developers who've sat on a name for more than 90 days already are getting their 30 days' notice now.
If that app you're planning to put out there has taken a little longer than expected to go through the final coding process, you might want to get on it. But Apple doesn't say that it will actually check. While the app will need to meet all of the other guidelines (including the rules for minimum functionality), you could probably still release a small app under the name you want, and then upgrade and release the full version later on. We'll have to see what happens with devs who really want to reserve App Store names in the future.