Template app? Apple is effectively dissolving cookie-cutter apps

apple removes template app hero

Following Apple’s WWDC, updates to the App Store guidelines have effectively taken a huge hit on small businesses, and the technology companies looking to help these businesses innovate how they deliver their service. Apps have been all the craze and many businesses want in. Unfortunately custom development, which can easily start at $100k+, is not an option for many small businesses that don’t have the capital or resources to go mobile native. As a solution, tech companies with white-label products, like ChowNow, are helping bring these businesses into competitive and emerging markets. Aside from offering an affordable app solution that custom brands a template, many of these services offer end-to-end support that can act as a technology, operational and marketing partner to the small businesses they work with.

Apple’s attempt to clean its app marketplace seeks to eliminate clones and spam. This includes a ban on commercialized templates or app generating services as outlined in its guidelines.

app rejection apple

Rejection notices from Apple regarding the 4.2.6 and 4.3 updates to the their App Store guidelines

As they read:

Guideline 4.2.6 – Design – Minimum Functionality

“We noticed that your app appears to be created from a commercialized template or app generation service, closely resembling the look and feel of other apps on the App Store. Apps produced using a commercialized template or app generation service are not appropriate for the App Store.”

Guideline 4.3 – Design

“We noticed that your app appears to be created from a template. Your app provides the same feature set as many of the other apps you’ve submitted to the App Store; it simple varies in content or language. Apps that duplicate content or functionality create clutter, diminish the overall experience for the end user, and reduce the ability of developers to market their apps.”

Apple has given businesses using template apps until January 1, 2018, after which point any new apps they submit will be rejected. According to some accounts, some businesses have been able to keep their apps live, but it is unsure how long this will last.

How are we responding to this?

Congressman Ted W. Lieu (33rd District, CA) has reached out to Apple to reconsider these new guidelines as it is casting too wide of a net in its cleanup efforts at the sacrifice of small businesses, research organizations, and religious institutions.

For technology companies that build template or white-label apps, this is going to be a huge hurdle to overcome, if at all possible. Some of these companies include MindBody (for fitness studios), eChurch and Custom Church Apps (for churches).

Shoutem, commercial app development platform, CEO Viktor Marohic said they closed up shop just a few weeks ago – a response to the change of the App Store guidelines, combined with the challenges of operating a business in this space.

 

guy on phone app small business

 

Referencing Apple’s development suite for apps, could Apple be tapping into a monopoly or practicing anti-competitive behavior? According to Techcrunch, “Apple’s partnership with IBM, which involves IBM building template-based apps for enterprise clients, is not impacted by the new rules.”

Small businesses should be strategizing on new methods to ensure they don’t suffer from a huge churn rate of mobile-first users. While native apps are cool, many times businesses don’t realize that a web app can solve a lot of their business needs without breaking the bank. At Menikmati, we offer full-service development solutions, and would love to see how we can help your business combat Apple’s strike to affordable native apps.

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