Partially, but not totally true.
The fee is $100 (standard) or $300 (enterprise) to become a (SDK) developer. The Standard Developer can distribute apps to the AppStore; the Enterprise Developer can distribute without the App Store (for Enterprise level applications for in-house users). The important thing that it allows you to do other than this is to compile SDK Apps directly to your iPhone. This is important because features like altitude detection, volume control, and the accelerometer don’t work correctly when tested in the iPhone Simulator.
From iPhone in Action
(a book that I'd recommend)
We strongly believe that each programming method has its own place, and that you should always ensure you’re using the correct one before you get started with any iPhone project.
Of course web pages don't need to be distributed, so that's a big advantage in money and (possibly) audience. It really depends on what you're planning to develop in the end.