Update (3/9 2:54pm): From what I can see so far, this banning/not approving apps that are template-based/cookie-cutter type apps doesn’t seem to be happening. There is a new developer, LMK.com, that has added 51 new apps all of which use the same app to display different data. Just the kind of think that Apple would not be approving if they were targeting them. So, as of this moment, template-based apps are still being approved.
All I can say is: Its about fracking time!
iPhone app purge: Are template-based apps next? | Software | iPhone Central | Macworld: “Apple’s campaign to get tough on iPhone applications is reportedly continuing with a new target: template-based iPhone applications. You can find services that build these so-called cookie cutter applications all over the Web, and they have been used by a variety of prominent celebrities, bloggers, and brands including Ashton Kutcher, blogger Seth Godin, and the U.S. Army.”
There are soooo many applications in the AppStore that are just duplicates of a single app over and over again, sometimes hundreds of times. One of the biggest contributor of “template-based” apps is Brighthouse Labs. Latest approximate count puts them at 4332 applications. An example of this cookie-cutter/template-based application is “iNewsPro”. That single application template has 282 apps so far with titles like:
iNewsPro – Johnstown PA • iNewsPro – Joplin MO • iNewsPro – Parkersburg WV • iNewsPro – Peoria IL • iNewsPro – Rocky Mount NC • iNewsPro – Saginaw MI • iNewsPro – Salinas CA • iNewsPro – Salt Lake City UT • iNewsPro – San Angelo TX • iNewsPro – San Antonio TX • iNewsPro – San Diego CA • iNewsPro – San Francisco CA • iNewsPro – San Luis Obispo CA • iNewsPro – Santa Barbara CA • iNewsPro – Santa Fe NM • iNewsPro – Sarasota FL • iNewsPro – Savannah GA • iNewsPro – Scranton PA • iNewsPro – Sebring FL • iNewsPro – Sharon PA • iNewsPro – Sheboygan WI • iNewsPro – Sherman TX • iNewsPro – Shreveport LA • iNewsPro – Sioux City IA • iNewsPro – Sioux Falls SD • iNewsPro – South Bend IN • iNewsPro – Spokane WA • iNewsPro – Springfield, IL • iNewsPro – Springfield, MA • iNewsPro – Springfield, MO • iNewsPro – State College PA • iNewsPro – Steubenville OH • iNewsPro – St. Joseph, MO • iNewsPro – St. Louis, MO • iNewsPro – Stockton CA
Trust me when I say that there are many more of this specific template alone.
The article says that Apple isn’t planning on removing the existing apps, just not letting any new ones into the store. Personally, I think they should send the developers a letter stating that they need to turn these multi-app templates into a single app with in-app purchasing or Apple will remove them.
There is just no reason for developers to produce thousands of apps when in-app purchasing can compress hundreds of apps into a single app. This will please customers since it means that they don’t have to have several app icons taking up valuable Springboard space, it will be way easier on the developer since they only have to maintain one visible app. I can’t speak for the in-app catalog, but it has to be easier than using Apple’s interface to update entries.
Now it’s just a matter of time to see if this actually happens.