Apple Moves to Ban

A move by Apple’s App Store to block apps developed using template-based app builders is causing concern among developers, anxious their business models will be scuppered.

Apple updated its App Store guidelines on 8 June, including the following clause: “4.2.6 – Apps created from a commercialised template or app generation service will be rejected.”

While the guidelines were initially thought to be an attempt to clean up clone or spam applications, TechCrunch reported earlier this month that dozens of small business apps created using such tools had received notices from Apple, which stated their content was inappropriate for the App Store.

US-based app creation toolset vendor Bizness Apps has created a petition with the hope of lobbying Apple to reconsider the approval guidelines and give “small businesses a fighting chance against large corporations who can afford custom iOS development”.

The campaign is also supported by AppMakr and Appmiral, two other app creation tools providers concerned their customers’ apps will be caught up by the guidelines.

App creation services offer an affordable route for small businesses to create an app. End-to-end software development costs can be out of reach for companies that lack in-house developers or the revenue to contract software engineers.

Bizness Apps managing director Andrew Gazdecki told CRN that from 1 January 2018, the App Store would halt any app they submitted under the current guidelines.

“For templated apps related to SMBs (churches/schools/non-profits/restaurants), we are trying to propose that Apple removes these apps from App Store search categories. This could potentially be a great middle ground for the 4.2.6 and 4.3 clause,” he added.

“This would support the App Store ‘clean up’ initiative and would allow small businesses to continue to build iPhone apps affordably with templated solutions.

“The users of these apps do not find these types of apps through App Store category search but rather by searching for the business/organisation name directly in the App Store or by accessing an iTunes URL.”