27 Replies
      Latest reply: Sep 14, 2017 7:26 PM by cblaze22 RSS
      ZeldaLink Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

        We have spoken to many developers in previous months who have run into issues with the new 4.3 Design Guidelines rules & had their apps rejected, seemingly by a bot, or in general, by a reviewer because of similarities to previous apps. They have been asked to combine their similar apps into one container app.

         

        We understand why Apple is finally cracking down and doing this. They are trying to clean up the Appstore of clones, useless junk & other spam apps.

         

        In the process however, this has seemingly hurt indie developers who are not using templates, and design their own games from scratch. We've spoken with several developers, many who pride themselves in creating unique content such as educational & games for children, receieve these notices with no method to appeal, and auto-responses making the same blanket statement, ending in frustration for the developer & wasted months in development time.

         

        They are asked to combine their apps or games into one "single container app" to reduce the clutter in the Appstore. While the idea of this sounds great in theory, it is flawed in exection, simply because some apps and games are not meant to be combined.

         

        Take a first grade educational app for instance. Say you program a math game that caters to 1st grade kids. Then you use that engine or framework to develop a math game for 3rd or 4th graders. Combining these games would make no sense from a marketing perspective, and from the perspective of a parent who is purchasing the app for their child who needs a math game for first graders only . We have actually spoken to parents and customers in an email survey, who said they would not like this change, and it would make it more difficult for them to find the app they need to install for their child's specific age group. They have asked us to not combine these apps that they have stored on their device, as they like to have separate applications and games for each of their children, in their respective age groups & content supplied.

         

        This is just ONE example or highlight of how this actually ruins the end user experience. Forcing developers to combine apps into one container app does not benefit customers, especially those that are accustomed to having the one single app for it's functionality and purpose. That applies to educational games, tools that target a specific market group, or diet apps that target specific dietary needs and so forth.

         

        Apple - We beg you. Please reconsider this new guideline, and don't be so heavy handed with the rejection notices. We understand the need to clean up the Appstore, and provide a better experience for users, & remove spam, but taking the guidelines this far is not the way to clean up the store.

         

        We feel this is hurting the end user experience, and many of our customers love having the single application or game, rather than one larger bloated file installed on their device.

         

        Don't force developers into combining apps into one container app. It does not make sense for the end user experience, and does not make sense from a marketing or distribution perspective whatsoever, and actually hurts the end user experience. Combining 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade math games does not equate to a better store experience, just as combining diet apps from various diets, does not help that person who is trying to get healthy, & wants a very specific diet app tailored to their specific needs.

         

        Please reconsider revising this guideline, as I don't feel we are alone in this battle.

         

        We appreciate the ability to be able to publish games to one of the best Appstores on the market. We hope that Apple revises these guidelines, so things aren't so heavy handed and difficult for indies, who are already struggling to make ends meet in this very competitive marketplace.

         

        Sincerely,

         

        Appstore developer

        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
          artpol Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

          One year we had developed an application for eCommerce to start to sell them with a specific set of changes to our many customers.

          I'm in shock, our first 2 applications have already been rejected with reference to "Design - spam".

           

          What differences can be in eCommrce application? 

          Every application has similar activity - category, product list, product card, shopping cart, checkout.

          What a unique design it is possible to come up with a common business process?

            • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
              ZeldaLink Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

              I feel it is less about what differences are inside the application, and more about Apple wanting to reduce the clutter in the Appstore.

               

              I am all for reducing the number of junk apps, clones, flappy games, and spam, but to outright tell all developers that they have to combine several games into a container app, some of which just don't belong together is overstretching this guideline.

               

              Apple needs to soften up the 4.3 guidelines, and allow developers to continue to publish apps that are branded toward the specific target market. eg: diet apps should not be combined. I as a customer would not want to download an app with multiple varying diets when I'm only looking for one specific one.

               

              Same with travel apps - if I want an app that caters to Paris traveling, I do not want NYC, Rome, London, Milan, & other cities in a bundle.

               

              The idea behind the agreement is well intended, but it's taken too far, without consideration for marketing & other things that come into play with the Appstore.

               

              So the topic is really less about what is inside the app, and more about taking the Developer's freedom to market their game to a specific target group or audience. That is now being dictated by the Appstore, which I feel is very unfair toward developers who are not spamming or cloning games, but rather, providing a specific audience with the exact app they are looking for. After all, marketing is 100% of what makes an app successful these days. The gold rush days of the appstore are over, so if you don't have marketing,  you don't have a specific target market in mind, then you don't have any reason to release an app in the first place. And that is what scares us the most as indie developers.

               

              If these rules are not amended, then we will  have to change the course of our business entirely, and it will be very unfortunate to our existing customers, who are already livid with us over these changes, none of which we have any control over.

                • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                  KMT Level 8 Level 8 (8,835 points)

                       >Apple needs to soften up the 4.3 guidelines

                   

                  Be careful what you wish for - keep in mind that every time that happens, bad actors (watch out for them to come here to complain & spam yet again) drive trucks thru the result.

                   

                  Some of your ire goes towards those posers, as well, where Apple is yet again forced to react to schemes where the only goal is to game the process and sadly help ruin the store for well behaved devs in the process.

                   

                  Good luck in any case.

                   

                  Ken

                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                      djibouti Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                      If Apple would apply the guidelines logically then there would be no problem. The process is already very subjective, they just seem to be making this particular clause objective with no consideration to value or how it hurts an entire ecosystem of legitimate indie developers.

                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                          KMT Level 8 Level 8 (8,835 points)

                          Again, if the bad actors didn't constantly abuse the process, Apple would have more room to apply the guidelines as you and others see fit. The spammers that game the store are the root cause for such revisions to the guidelines, where decent devs often suffer as a result.

                           

                          This sort of scenario began long ago, as soon as devious devs saw the potential, and sadly becuase of them, I doubt it will stop here.

                           

                          As always, be sure to file bugs against the process to let yourself be heard. Good luck in any case.

                           

                          Ken

                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                        ledak Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

                        >That is now being dictated by the Appstore, which I feel is very unfair toward developers who are not spamming or cloning games, but rather, providing a specific audience with the exact app they are looking for. After all, marketing is 100% of what makes an app successful these days. The gold rush days of the appstore are over, so if you don't have marketing,  you don't have a specific target market in mind, then you don't have any reason to release an app in the first place. And that is what scares us the most as indie developers.

                         

                        How is this not spamming or cloning? Apple is going in right direction - App Store is flooded with copycat apps.

                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                      cblaze22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                      We are in the same boat but your setup is exactly what the problem is with bloat.  You can have a single app with InApp purchases. That actually makes sense. In our case we have similar apps with different content per competitor and separate businesses.  Putting both of them in a container app makes no sense.  This is what Apple is not distinguishing from a business standpoint.  We also make no money off of this, it's business value to the small business that now they can't afford because of these extreme rules.

                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                        praveen9999 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                        Hi Fellow devs,

                         

                        Is there any solution on this yet. six apps of our company got rejected in the last week and the message says the same?  Very desperate to know if anyone got a different solution from apple other than using a "container" app.

                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                          osadev Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                          We've been caught up in this as well and its incredibly frustrating. We have an app through our event registration vendor. We're being told that we need to have multiple events per year within the app, five or more, for Apple to approve it as a stand alone app that we would deploy on our own. I would absolutely be okay with deploying it on our own if it had a chance of actually resolving the issue.

                           

                          For us the problem is our app is for a single, large, conference that happens once a year, a major event for the industry it represents. We go through our registration vendor because it uses the existing integrations we've developed with that system and other systems we use. What I don't understand is why its okay for Apple to have a separate app for WWDC which happens once a year, but is requiring anyone else to have five separate events a year within an app for it to qualify as a standalone.

                           

                          This just seems like an extremely heavy handed approach that provides a less transparent user experience.


                          Current User Process:

                          1. Register to attend event.
                          2. Attend event, search store for event by name.
                          3. Download app, enjoy event, onsite beacons and socialization functionality.

                           

                          New User Process:

                          1. Register to attend event
                          2. Attend event, try to find app in store by event name, fail.
                          3. Try to find event link in email or program book.
                          4. Search for name of event vendor.
                          5. Download vendor app.
                          6. Download event within vendor app, enjoy event, onsite beacons and socialization functionality.

                           

                          As it stands our vendor is telling us we have no real option with them, and from what I have been reading it appears our only choice might be fully custom development at a heavy cost to both create and maintain.

                           

                          It is hard to me to see how this is really beneficial for anyone.

                            • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                              KMT Level 8 Level 8 (8,835 points)

                                   >What I don't understand is why its okay for Apple to have a separate app for WWDC which happens once a year, but is requiring anyone else to have five separate events a year within an app for it to qualify as a standalone.

                               

                              I was buying what you were selling until you said that...

                                • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                  osadev Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                  But how exactly is it different? Maybe there is something about WWDC I don't quite understand, I've never personally gone so I'd be happy to know. Does it consist of multiple events throughout the year? My understanding is they have a single event that happens once a year. Other examples of this would be CES, or Infocomm.

                                   

                                  These are large, strongly branded events, they happen once per year, I wouldn't expect that WWDC would be hidden under a vendor's branding, nor would I expect CES, or Infocomm to be either.

                                   

                                  But these event apps have a use throughout the year, in our case the event app provides a way for attendees to write and share notes on technical content and a quick and easy way to access technical papers in the months following the event. It's also an engagement tool with exhibitors from the event even well after the event itself for the year.

                                   

                                  As just an example, our largest event happened back in March, we're still seeing daily usage of the app, specifically the 2017 event. Sure its no where near the numbers we saw on a daily basis during the event, but people do still use the app and the content, even well after the event has ended for the year.

                                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                      KMT Level 8 Level 8 (8,835 points)

                                           >But how exactly is it different?

                                       

                                      Because you're not Apple, it's their ecosystem, their store, their guidelines, their event and they can do what they want, including pushing back on devs re-selling their account privileges so 3rd parties can sideload apps to the store at a discount.

                                       

                                      If you believe you have a use case that qualifies you for another look, feel free to file a bug against the process with those details - be sure to add your report # to your comment for reference, thanks and good luck.

                                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                          osadev Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                          We are at the moment unfortunately somewhat a the mercy with how our vendor chooses to proceed and are currently deciding on how we will move forward as the container app is unfortunately not an option for our two large events. I am on the forums now as I research this problem to better understand what is going on without the marketing speak from our vendor trying to sell us on a solution that isn't really a fit. And truthfully what I'm hearing and seeing from many vendors on the events side is that they're not getting much leeway with Apple for having exceptions.

                                           

                                          I accept that this is Apple's ecosystem, but I do wonder why they wouldn't be leading by example in this case. If the goal, and what they want to see, is container apps versus highly specific apps I would assume would essentially do as they say. As a company Apple has never been particularly shy with innovating, and that innovation generally starts with their own products and services.

                                           

                                          I meant it more as, if their concern is the user experience and there is a reason they feel the user experience is best one way, it would be great information to help developers moving forward to understand what specific types of things would make an even app stand out. What specific qualities make something worthy of a solitary presence within the store? Does brand size/recognition factor into the equation?

                                           

                                          I do, overall, understand some of their point. We currently have three apps, one each for our two large events and a container app for our smaller events. For the smaller events it really doesn't make sense to give each a separate presence, they have a smaller audience and footprint and it allows us to give our smaller events some sort of presence in the stores for attendee without breaking the budget.

                                           

                                          Apple unfortunately hasn't done a very good job of communicating exactly what the lines in the sand are, so its leaving companies and customers who rely on them, stumbling in the dark, trying to figure out what to do. I will be honest I am concerned that even if we build our own app, it will be rejected, event apps can only really distinguish themselves so much, end of the day they really all share the same basically core functions and layout. As a non-profit and a small business taking on that expense only to be still denied is a major risk.

                                            • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                              KMT Level 8 Level 8 (8,835 points)

                                              Well said - be sure to include that in your bug, thanks.

                                               

                                                  >Apple unfortunately hasn't done a very good job of communicating exactly what the lines in the sand are

                                               

                                              Look at it from their side. If they only made statements cast in stone, bad actors would eventually use those against them. That abuse often includes finding loop holes and then complaining that Apple never said they couldn't do what they tried "You didn't say we couldn't do that! Unfair! Leave us alone!" - that abuse comes in the form of flooding the review queues, gaming the process, spamming the store and preying on users. Where would any of us be if that went on ungated...

                                               

                                              Apple didn't just hold a meeting and decide to change things for change's sake....they have metrics that show when things are out of line. Good devs frequently end up paying the price when things like this result, so be sure to also hold the bad actors responsible if you get caught out.

                                               

                                              Apple tends to leave the guidelines vague so they can interpret on the fly and apply them case-by-case. It's really the only way to keep things moving, I think, and far better than years ago when there were no guidelines at all.  Besides, if it were easy, anyone could do it

                                               

                                              Ken

                                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                      Glauco Farnezi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                      Hello .. Good evening! We also went through this problem, we talked via ticket and phone with Apple. They are really blocking the White Label model, impossible to continue in this model. In our case, we opted for the "container app", we were able to develop and it was approved. Customers accepted the change.

                                       

                                       

                                      In summary there are 3 ways to solve rejection 4.3:

                                       

                                       

                                      WEBAPP

                                      - WebApp would be accessed by browser and so would not be in the AppleStore;

                                      - It's good for B2B and would have a link to give internal use access.

                                       

                                       

                                      CONTAINERAPP:

                                      - All in one app;

                                      - Each company would have its logo inside this app, however it would not be heavy because only the data of the companies that the user selects is lowered.

                                      - Each company has its data separately.

                                       

                                       

                                      NEWAPP:

                                      - Have a different application for each company without being of the same template / whitelabel format. It has to really be a unique application, especially in design.

                                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                        ZeldaLink Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                        Basically, the only resolution to this would be if Apple were to offer some type of new developer tier or Enterprise account.

                                         

                                        This will help weed out the devs that push out junk apps & clones using templates from various white label shops, and only serious, business app developers would be able to pay the premium of $1,000 per year, let's say, for an Enterprise developer account. The $1,000 per year would deter those that are looking to pay only $99 to get in, and push a bunch of spam.

                                         

                                        They are still bound by the rules of the guidelines, but in terms of pushing client content, & other applications like radio apps, YMCA apps, and other business apps would be allowed, so long as it's marketed toward that specific group, and not spamming the store with repeat clones.

                                         

                                        It feels like, in the process of Apple cleaning up the store, a lot of legitmate developers, those that have run a business for years, are damaged in the process. There needs to be some solution or compromise to this, for legitimate devs.

                                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                          hsantos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                          Any news on this subject?

                                           

                                          We also are being affected by this changes.We build city apps and have contracts that says explicitly that an single and exclusive app needs to be published in Apple Store.

                                           

                                          The clients don't want an combined experience. They have their customs and traditions, their tourist places and exclusive services, like "ticket dispenser" for exemple. They want to keep their visual identity and take their place in the store.

                                          • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                            ccmpedidoonline Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                            If Apple were a country, it would certainly be North Korea, I can not understand how a US company can take authoritative measures like these new guidelines. My company develops apps for delivery restaurants. It is obvious that everyone has the same functionality, "ONLINE REQUEST" and Apple does not understand it. As much as we create a code base for each app, in the end everyone will have the same resources, they will use the same webservices ... This is Ridiculous! Apple will be responsible for thousands of unemployed and the destruction of many consolidated business models worldwide. A despicable company that does not care about its users and developers. I pray for God's sake, reconsider all this and allow the applications to be sent.