Earlier this year Apple announced changes to its App Review Guidelines, with section 4.2.6 outlining, “Apps created from a commercialised template or app generation service will be rejected.” This has been a talking point in the event industry over recent weeks and I hope to shed some light on the rule, the impact it is having on event apps and share our recommendations.
What does the rule mean?
There continues to be debate around what exactly the ruling means, but in principle event app providers, like ourselves, will no longer be able to submit templated apps, for example a “one-off” Single Event Apps (SEA), into the App Store. The reasoning is this will help Apple clean up the App Store from many of the outdated and ‘cloned’ apps which make it hard for users to find the apps they really want.
According to Event Manager Blog, “If an app is a clone of another app, it won’t get through the approval process. This is to prevent apps created by bots, spammers and other internet nasties making a cheap buck”.
The deadline for this rule to take effect is Sunday 24th December 2017.
How will the rule affect Crystal Interactive and our Event App platform?
At Crystal Interactive, we use the industry leading QuickMobile Event App platform, which we customise and brand for every client event and support on site with our team of Event Technology Specialists. The QuickMobile platform falls into the category of a ‘templated application’ and therefore the new rulings will have an impact on the way in which we offer this service.
Client branded Single Event App and Multi Event App Containers
We will no longer be able to apply for a SEA or a Multi Event App Container (MEA) using our developer licence. To apply for a one-off, client branded SEA or MEA you must submit the event app we build for you using your own Apple Developer Licence. For further information on obtaining a Developer Licence or checking if you already have one, please read the section below.
Crystal Interactive branded container
Apps that we publish within the Crystal Interactive Container, we call these Quick Events, will not be impacted by the change in Apple's guidelines (because our Crystal Interactive container is already in the App Store) and therefore there is no client licence requirement for this. Please see Fig. 1 below.
How does this work?
- Attendees to your event will download the ‘Crystal Interactive Event App’ from the App Store.
- They will search for your client branded Event App using a unique event ID, which is defined by you (the client) and shared only with the attendees for your event.
- If your organisation runs many events over the course of a year which would benefit from our Event App, then you should consider your own branded Multi-Event App Container (MEA). For example, your attendees would download your company branded app direct from the App Store, and then add the Event App for the event they are attending (using the unique ID shared with them). Please see Fig. 2 below.
- If you only require an Event App for one event, you can publish a Quick Event within our Crystal Interactive Container Please see Fig. 1. However, you may find that producing your own MEA may still be the best option for one event, in terms of both the user-experience for your delegates and cost-efficiency, but our experienced team will be on hand to guide you through the options and work out what is best for you.
- We don’t recommend using a SEA unless you are sure that your future events will not require an app under the same developer licence. Apple may reject future submissions that are based on the same template.
What is an Apple Developer Licence and how do I know whether I need one?
An Apple Developer Licence allows developers to distribute apps on the App Store. You can search the App Store for your company name, if any apps appear in your name, then you may have a licence already. You need to speak to your IT team as they should have all the details.
If you don’t have a licence, then you can apply for one by contacting Apple here. After applying it can take up to 10 days for your licence to be approved. If you would like any support or guidance regarding this, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ruling will not affect Crystal Interactive’s ability to offer you high-quality, engaging mobile Event Apps which are customised to your attendee’s needs. We will continue to offer a branded solution that is easy to use, easy to manage and easy to find on the Apple Store and our team will be on hand every step of the way to ensure a smooth delivery from start to finish.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments or would like further information on how the rule may affect your individual event please do contact us.
Fig 1. A Quick Event is the Crystal Interactive container. Attendees only see the event they have been invited to.
Fig 2. Client branded Multi Event App, with company events. Attendees only see the event that they have been invited to.