Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected
Earlier today, a number of people noticed a change in the App Store Review Guidelines that took place back on September 12. Specifically, Keith Andrew at PocketGamer noted how the new rule 2.25 could pose serious risks for any app that promotes other apps with direct linking.
The wording is typically vague, but clause 2.25 appears to give Apple carte blanche to put any app that promotes titles from a different developer out of action. At the moment, we understand Apple’s likely prime targets are pure app promotion services, such as (but not necessarily including) FreeAppADay, AppoDay, AppGratis, Daily App Dream and AppShopper, amongst others.
There seems to be a lot of confusion on Twitter in regards to the exact scope of this new rule. In particular, due to some poor sensationalistic headlines that are unfortunately published on a regular basis, some are speculating Apple will start banning all apps that promote other apps or any kind of “aggregator” that collects links to multiple App Store apps. That’s just silly and simply not true. (more…)
A few days ago Apple quietly modified its ‘App Store Review Guidelines’, and it has significantly reduced the requirements that apps, which deliver content, must abide by, effectively stepping down on their previous demands. In February this year it was revealed that Apple had imposed a deadline of June 30 for all publishers of iOS Apps that delivered subscription content to implement In-App Subscriptions. The requirements were that any app that sold content outside the App Store must also offer the same content to users through In-App Purchases and at the “same price or less than it is offered outside the App”.
Yet as MacRumors has published today, Apple has amended the App Store Review Guidelines to state as follows:
11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app
In plain English this means that content providers with an App Store presence are no longer forced to offer In-App purchases or subscriptions for content. But if they do choose to implement IAP or subscriptions they can offer the content at any price they wish – even if it is more than what they charge outside the App Store. The only requirement is that within an app, there cannot be an external link that redirects users to purchase content from outside the app.
It is unknown why Apple has decided to change tack on this issue, but a likely reason is that a number of publishers decided the 30% cut was too much to bear and had put pressure on Apple to redraw the guideline. Just a few days ago The Financial Times released its iPad webapp in order to sidestep the App Store and its overbearing terms. Similarly, earlier this year Time magazine had also ruled out using the subscription service because of the 30% revenue cut and customers ability to opt-out of giving them certain personal details .
Readability, which launched in February, was also set to offer iOS users an app that would tie into the Readability service, but because of the subscription rules they weren’t able to release the app. Similarly iFlowReader complained in mid-May that Apple’s subscription policy had shut them down because the 30% revenue cut would eat into their already small profit margin. The question now is whether these services and magazines will now re-embrace the App Store under these revised terms.
iAd Gallery, a free iPhone app Apple released yesterday in the App Store, has generated several debates on the Internet about its rather “limited” feature set: the app, good-looking and responsive, does only one thing: it’s a collection of advertisements you can browse and “love.” By aggregating the best campaigns recently launched on the iAd network, iAd Gallery only lets users interact with a spinning wheel featuring ads from different brands, view information and “launch” them to experience the rich functionalities of iAds. Basically, it’s a free ad collector for iPhone. Not exactly the kind of “productive” (or at least entertaining) software most users would expect from Apple.
Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will be rejected
iAd Gallery indeed is based on marketing materials and doesn’t do anything but enabling you to browse various ad campaigns. Sure, you can read details about a specific campaign and learn more about the agency behind it, but that’s not really a “functionality” in our opinion. The app also lets you get in touch with the iAd team with a Contact button: perhaps the App Review Team at Cupertino thought that was enough to let the app through the App Store gates.
The truth is, of course Apple won’t reject its own app because it violates one of the Guidelines. They manage and have the ultimate word on the App Store, and they can release whatever they want under the Apple, Inc. name. But looking at the big picture, it is kind of funny that Apple is distributing an app that would have been rejected if it came from someone else.
Nilay Patel at Engadget takes a look at Apple’s review guidelines for the Mac App Store. This caught my attention:
6.2 Apps that look similar to Apple Products or apps bundled on the Mac, including the Finder, iChat, iTunes, and Dashboard, will be rejected. This one’s quite odd, as there are lots and lots of Mac apps that look like Apple’s own apps — DoubleTwist looks like iTunes, for example, and almost every FTP app looks like the Finder in some way. And what about an app like Delicious Library, which actually inspired Apple apps like iBooks and iPhoto 11′s new books interface? This one’s going to be hard to enforce in a reasonable way.