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Apple Policy Update

What's Changing

Apple, at their 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), announced a change in policy that alters how the entire events industry will engage its attendees through their App Store. Apple is no longer allowing iOS applications into their App Store if they are not, in Apple’s terms, “truly unique,” in accordance with their definition of uniqueness. Apple no longer considers brands, event names or content as meeting their uniqueness criteria. Apple has informed iOS application publishers that they now want these apps to be housed, published, and maintained within a single container application as opposed to being in separate applications on the iOS platform. They have shared that their App Store Review team is rejecting any new apps and updates to existing apps which it believes do not comply. According to Apple, this includes not only event applications created by a single publisher, but also to those published on the private developer accounts of their customers. More detailed information about the uniqueness policy can be found in relevant clauses 4.2.6 and 4.3 here: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/#minimum-functionality

Why Apple Made This Decision

We believe that the spirit of Apple’s policy is positive and an attempt to limit publishers who produce what they call ‘spam’ apps. Apple is re-designing their App Store with the release of iOS 11. In preparation for that, they are modifying their rules for allowing apps to be housed in stores, streamlining and consolidating the store listings to make searching easier. More information on ‘clone’ and ‘spam’ apps can be found in this recent article from TechCrunch: https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/21/apple-goes-after-clones-and-spam-on-the-app-store/

How This Impacts The Events Industry

Because of the change to the uniqueness policy, developers across many industries will need to adjust the way they provide the mobile experience to customers. A single, container app will be available for end users to download and access content and engage with the event experience. Designing and adding features to streamline the event browsing and selection experience and improving the available branding options within the container will become increasingly important for both the planner and attendee. Developers who can easily pivot their development roadmap to meet these needs will remain the leaders in the industry.

Key Takeaways

It’s important to remember, this policy impacts more than just the events industry:

  • Apple’s updated App Store uniqueness policy spans not only corporate events, but also entertainment events, sporting events, hotels, restaurants, music acts/bands, handyman services, schools, charities, religious organizations, transportation providers, cable/streaming content providers, radio stations and local news providers across Apple’s entire App Store spectrum, whereas App store users may consider these as unique, Apple does not.
  • Policy change applies to all mobile app publishers (i.e. all event apps publishers) submitting apps for Apple iOS devices (iphone, ipad, etc). This policy does not apply to Android devices which get their apps from a different storefront, managed by Google.
  • Submitting via corporate held developer accounts does not resolve the issue.
  • Custom built (i.e. truly unique) applications, which are generally very expensive, require constant rebuild/maintenance, have no guarantee of being approved by Apple’s Review Team.

What This Means For Event App Publishers

CrowdCompass by Cvent will continue to work to ensure your event app experience is compliant with the new Apple policy. We will continue to place a high priority on the container app experience.

Contact us if you’d like to know more about how CrowdCompass is complying with the new Apple policy.

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