First published on August 01, 2017, Updated on March 29, 2018 to reflect most recent Apple practices.
The latest App Store Review Guidelines update, affecting the way event apps are submitted to the App Store, has brought a new reality for all event app vendors. The industry-wide change was caused by the introduction of a new clause Apple included in the App Store Policy update: “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected”.
As of April 1, 2018, Apple will no longer allow:
- The submission of new clients’ app containers under the vendor Developer account;
- The maintenance (update) of existing clients’ app containers under the vendor’s Developer account.
However, Apple does not have any intention of removing existing apps even if they are published under the vendor’s account, but simply restrict their future updates. The new Apple rules are in effect for all app vendors and no longer allow the submission of white-label/client-branded apps to the App Store.
In this post, we are clarifying the key concepts and explore the consequences and opportunities created by this new policy.
Understanding the key concepts
What is a commercialized template or app generation service?
A tool specifically designed to deliver copycat or spam apps, used by developers to capitalize on a trend. One of the most widely recognized example is Clash of Clans – after the quick success of the iOS app, the App Store got flooded with duplicates of this app overnight. In other words, the new App Store Policy is rejecting any apps that is created from a copycat generating service.
What is an event-specific app?
A one-shot, single-event app specifically designed and themed to highlight the brand of a specific featured event.
What is a multi-event app?
An app container allowing you to instantiate and host multiple events at once within the the same app.
What is a white-label app?
An app released by an app developer, which has its app name, icon and splash screen re-branded to reflect another company corporate branding for their own utilization. Also known as: Client-branded apps or branded apps.
What is a universal app?
As opposed to a white-label app, it is a generic, vendor-branded app, that includes the functionality to host multiple types of content, accounts, events or functionalities within a single container.
What is an in-app dynamic branding capability?
Different events inside the same container can reflect different branding, regardless whether the container is a white-label/client-branded app or a universal app.
App vs. Event – what is the difference?
An app is the container installed on your phone or tablet home screen and comes with an icon, an app name and a splash screen. An event lives inside that container, and comes with the event data and functionalities. In summary:
- An event-specific app does contain only one event
- A multi-event app can contain one or more events
- An event-specific app is always a white-label/client-branded app
- A multi-event app can be a white-label/client-branded app or a universal app
Why did Apple change its policy?
No one likes spam and Apple is no exception. Apple is cleaning up the App Store by eliminating clone apps that include unnecessary functionalities or perform useless functions, therefore representing scam for Apple marketplace users.
What does this mean for SpotMe customers?
(Updated March 29, 2018) Although the new Apple rules may represent a significant change for all app vendors in the industry, SpotMe has been prepared to offer maximum flexibility to its clients. As a result of the new guidelines:
- As they no longer comply with the new Apple guidelines, white-label/client-branded apps (event-specific apps and multi-event app containers) will no longer be submitted to the App Store under the SpotMe Developer account. Instead, new app container submissions will be made available under the client’s (content owner’s) account.
- Effective April 1, 2018 existing apps published under SpotMe’s account will no longer be maintained unless they are transferred under the respective client’s account. SpotMe can guide you through the steps of creating your own Apple Developer account if you do not have one.
- All SpotMe customers which currently have published apps under the SpotMe Developer account can take advantage of the following three available options:
- Transfer the app under your Developer account – in such a case, SpotMe will be able to continue maintaining your container app, and can facilitate the Developer account creation process if needed;
- Use the universal app Eventspace by SpotMe – the app provides extensive branding and authentication capabilities;
- Publish an enterprise app – submitting an app to your in-house enterprise store is a beneficial option, especially in case the availability of the app should be targeted to internal partners or employees.
Regardless of Apple future decisions, our vision has been aligned with the universal app model augmented by in-app dynamic branding from day one. Our entire technology stack has been designed with these requirements in mind and are fully supported today in our production release. The SpotMe universal app containers are immediately available for all existing customers, at no extra cost and with zero downtime or migration required.
While Apple has amended its App Store Guidelines a few months ago, SpotMe has been providing universal app/in-app dynamic branding support since 2011. SpotMe has and will continue to offer extensive and flexible branding capabilities and ensure a smooth app delivery process to all our clients.
DISCLAIMER: SpotMe is committed to the success of our customers. As compliance with various App Store Policies is crucial for our business, we are providing information regarding the recently updated Apple App Store Guidelines. The above information is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or professional consultation and shall not, in any manner, be regarded as a statement made by SpotMe on behalf of Apple. The above publication is instead offered for informational purposes only. SpotMe makes no assurances regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication. SpotMe expressly disclaims any warranties, liabilities or damages associated with or arising, either directly or indirectly, out of the information provided above.