These days, it’s beneficial (and often essential) for business to have mobile apps to offer users in both the Apple and Android app stores. For most small businesses, however, the costs and resources involved with developing a completely unique app from scratch simply aren’t feasible. For this reason, many of these smaller businesses turn to templated app generators that allow them to easily and inexpensively create and customize an app to suit their needs.
However, because of recent changes announced by Apple, it may not be long before apps using these templates are delisted, rejected or removed from the App Store.
Recent changes announced by Apple
Back in June, Apple announced some changes to the review and approval process for its App Store. Specifically, two main changes were outlined in the new App Store Review Guidelines. One clause, known as clause 4.2.6, holds that “apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.” The second clause, clause 4.3, explains that apps with “different versions for specific locations, sports teams, universities, etc.” should be resubmitted to the App Store under a single app.
Essentially, Apple has made the decision to phase out template-based apps in an effort to reduce spam and duplicate apps in the App Store, which have been an ongoing problem for years.
Recently, Apple announced that beginning on January 1, 2018, it will begin cracking down with these new rules, and apps submitted to the App Store that are not in compliance will be rejected.
What about those using app templates legitimately?
At first glance, the idea of changing App Store review guidelines to “clean up” the App Store and make it more usable for iOS users makes sense. However, upon taking into consideration the many legitimate businesses and organizations that use template builders to create apps, it becomes clear that these changes could have a drastic impact on small businesses all across the globe. Most small businesses, for instance, do not have the funding or resources to create unique, native apps from scratch. Nor do they have the money to hire developers to handle this on their behalf. These businesses rely heavily on templated app services to create apps that are useful to their customers and clients.
Only time will tell how Apple’s changes will affect these small businesses, but the outcome isn’t looking good. Consider, for example, a small restaurant relying on a templated app to allow customers to order their food on their mobile devices and have it delivered to their homes. Many small restaurants go this route to avoid the fees and complications that come along with placing themselves on an existing app such as Uber Eats or GrubHub. Unfortunately, once these changes go into effect and templated apps are phased out of the App Store, these restaurants may have no choice but to cave and turn to bigger corporations such as GrubHub if they want to stay in the mobile food ordering/delivery game.
Ultimately, these changes being implemented by Apple are really hurting small business owners and niche users more than they will help improve the App Store’s integrity.
Ambivalence over the January 1 deadline
Currently, there is a bit of uncertainty over the implications of Apple’s January 1, 2018, deadline. Apple has given until this date before new templated apps will begin to be rejected from the App Store. However, Apple has not commented on how long existing templated apps will continue to be permitted. Many are wondering whether these existing apps have some chance at being “grandfathered in,” or if Apple will eventually change its mind and decide to retroactively remove these apps. As a result, many app template businesses have begun to go out of business.
For now, Apple appears to be handling things on a case-by-case basis, reaching out to businesses individually to discuss their apps, but the future remains unclear.
Was this the best way to clean up the app store?
Many people have questioned whether or not these changes are truly the best way to clean up the App Store. While few would argue that the App Store in its current form is in need of some revamping and refining, it seems as though there are many other ways in which Apple could improve the integrity of the App Store without making such overarching changes that could affect small businesses. For example, many have questioned whether it would have actually been easier to simply refine the App Store search results, requiring users to enter the full name of a templated app in order to find and download it. This would allow legitimate small business apps to remain active while preventing them from showing up in search results unless users (such as niche users) knew exactly what they were looking for.
Overall, these changes have also led many to point out the irony of Apple being such a strong proponent of net neutrality and a free Web — especially when these App Store review changes may very well make it impossible for small businesses to compete with large organizations.
Worried about your event app? Expo Pass can help
Whether your business has an existing templated event app or has been looking to develop an event app, there’s a good chance that you’re concerned over whether these changes will impact you. Fortunately, Expo Pass can help by allowing you to easily and inexpensively create a unique and customized event app without concern over App Store approval. And with in-app event registration, member validation, and numerous additional features included, your app will have everything you and your attendees need for success.
It’s undeniable that Apple’s App Store changes have the potential to adversely impact small businesses across all industries. Give yourself the peace of mind you need when creating your event app by trusting Expo Pass. Reach out to our team today to find out more about us or to book your free demo!