• Apple Now Banning "Cookie Cutter" Apps?

    The banhammer marches on at the App Store, apparently, as Apple has reportedly begun removing apps built from templates that pull from websites and RSS feeds without adding much functionality. Coming as it does on the heels of the recent removal of thousands of "explicit" apps and the purge of WiFi stumblers, Apple seems to be in the midst of a significant "spring cleaning" ahead of the iPad launch.

    The boss of Mobile Roadie, one of the companies that provides apps made from templates as a service, had a blog post up earlier today telling about a call he had received from Apple. Michael Schneider had gotten a phone call from someone at Apple who told him that so-called ‘cookie cutter’ apps were no longer going to be acceptable on the App Store. Reportedly, the representative also said that further restrictions were going to be imposed on certain industries, and that there would be guidelines for what was acceptable and not. The blog post has since been removed, but Robert Strojan at Tap, Swipe, Pinch read it while it was online. Interestingly, he said that Schneider's post said he was "already working on the features requested,” which implies that Apple gave him the guidelines, though there are no specifics on what those are.

    Many observers feel that the cleanup push is Apple preparing to welcome a rush of new users when the iPad is released. PCWorld's Jeff Bertolucci points out that Apple had to make a move against racy apps if it was serious about positioning the iPad as an education tool. And an emphasis on quality may be advisable with Apple asking people to shell out $500 - $900 US for a new iPad. The purge has also included apps that have what Apple deems "minimal user functionality", such as one app from Atlantia Software that just made your iPhone quack like a duck. Nothing else. Just quacking.

    So on the one hand, this is good news from the point of view of quality development. If anyone can make an app that just uses WebKit to draw some pages on the screen of an iPhone, then anyone will make such an app, and many of those can certainly be of poor quality. And the App Store is certainly better off for having fewer farting, quacking apps. However, if the impression spreads that that Apple might change its standards at any point in time, seemingly on a whim, then it may cause devs to shy away from iPhone/iPad development.
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