We already knew that Ice Cream Sandwich — aka Android 4.0 — would allow us to remove any system application of our choosing, be it the included web browser or email client. Matias Duarte, Senior Director of Android Experience at Google told us so directly. The only lingering question was whether carriers could override it.
Now we have confirmation from Google (supported by the SDK screengrab above) that the setting to disable an app does indeed apply to your carrier’s fondness for Nascar and pay-to-play crapware. Google also clarified that clicking "disable" removes the icon and prevents the app from running, leaving the app to be reenabled later should the end user have a change of heart. There’s nothing to stop carriers and manufacturers from pre-installing their wares but at least now you’ll have the power to remove all the unwanted clutter.
Thanks, Brendon S.