The Latest Apple Update

The latest Apple Update and how this affects mobile event apps

In June, Apple announced new guidelines that impact the approval process for acceptance in the iTunes store. Just today, those guidelines have been amended.

Let’s start at the beginning.

During the developer’s conference in June, Apple rolled out new guidelines which included the following:

4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.

This impacted the mobile event app industry overall, including MeetingPlay’s competitors. The rationale behind this guideline change was to eliminate spam apps that replicate successful apps and prevent people from churning out thousands of apps with very little functionality (i.e., Angry Birds copycat spam apps).

How did this guideline initially impact meeting and event professionals?

When MeetingPlay clients had apps developed for them in the past, part of the process was MeetingPlay submitting the apps to both iTunes and Google Play for approval. Once Google & Apple’s stores approved the event apps, attendees would go directly to the app store and search for their events app by name (such as “MPEvent17”).

With Apple’s guideline above, Apple wants event app providers to publish one app that all events use, referred to as a ‘container app.' What that meant for meeting and event planners is that instead of downloading the event app as you have done in the past:

- Event planners and their attendees will first download the MeetingPlay app

- Once the MeetingPlay app is downloaded, event planners and attendees will search for the event app within the MeetingPlay app by name or passcode.

Yesterday (12/20/2017), an amended guideline was released:

4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences. Another acceptable option for template providers is to create a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated or “picker” model, for example as a restaurant finder app with separate customized entries or pages for each client restaurant, or as an event app with separate entries for each client event.

The event app industry was looking for more information from Apple and more options. Apple may have realized that the original guideline impacted a much broader audience than likely intended, which may have initiated this change.

How does this update impact meeting and event professionals?

Apps can be developed fully branded for an individual event through the same process we experience today. However, the submission process is changing, with more ownership on the client vs. the app provider. Today, at MeetingPlay, we submit all apps on behalf of our clients. This is what will change.

This solution, while not perfect, allows us to get branded apps live in stores for events. MeetingPlay is the premier white-glove experience of meeting and event apps, providing unmatchable service and technology. We will continue to work with our clients to guide them through how this will work. There will be some changes, again namely around the submission process, but they are manageable and we’ll be working hand in hand with the customers we serve to help them through it.