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What iTunes App Guideline Changes Mean for Developers?

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Apple made big waves when it announced new standards for apps in the Apple App store at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The most publicly fraught over change was listed in section 4.2.6, the Minimum Functionality section, and states, “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.”

While this guideline has caused concerns among hobbyists and IT pros, it is likely only an attempt to cut down on spam apps and copycat apps. It’s difficult to say when Apple will apply this rule to reject an app and when it won’t, since Apple does not publicize rejections or even lists of the hundreds of thousands of apps they’ve scrubbed from the store in the last year.

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However, given that Apple’s guidelines generally focus on maintaining a certain level of quality, usability and consistency throughout the app store, one can surmise that well-designed apps that are useful and generally fall within the other guidelines will be allowed. It will affect those who rely on no-code, DIY app maker services, which is popular with small and medium sized businesses that don’t have the budget for an in-house development team. And, according to TechCrunch, this is part of a larger house cleaning effort by Apple to delete thousands of apps before iOS 11 rolls out this Fall.

It’s interesting to note that while section 4.2.6. got most of the press, there were several other new guidelines that are of higher importance to developers, such as the fact that developers must now keep their apps updated based on every OS update, which could have broad reaching consequences for developers who create apps on a contract basis. It may behoove such developers to create an addendum to their client contracts that includes future updates at a previously agreed upon price, otherwise, as updates roll out client apps may begin to disappear.

Only time will tell how whole hog Apple will go on doling out rejections based on any of the rules on their list of guidelines, but developers should certainly review the guidelines and attempt to anticipate potential future adjustments for business and design processes. 

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