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Apple revises controversial guidelines for its App Store – adds specific arrangement for exhibition and event apps

22 December 2017, Paris, France : Some months after announcing upcoming changes to its policy regarding the handling of mobile phone apps through its Apps Store, Apple has published the updated policy. The updated rules include – for the first time ever – a specific mention concerning apps for exhibitions, stating that event apps can also, in the future, be based on what is known as a template baseor “white label” app base.

“We are delighted with this news. We know from UFI research that the majority of exhibition organisers use ‘white label apps’ as the base for their mobile show applications, and – like many others – had reached out to Apple to share the concerns of our industry”, says Kai Hattendorf , Managing Director/CEO of UFI. “The update also marks the first time ever that Apple is citing our industry in its rules, which shows the growing awareness of the power of face to face events.”

Apple uses the App Store Guidelines to work with app developers, to ensure that the programmes offered through the company’s App Store are in line with certain user experience standards. The revised rule 4.2.6 now states that “… 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 … an event app with separate entries for each client event.”

In UFI’s communication with Apple on the matter, we acknowledged that Apple’s policy change is a move to improve and embrace high quality apps. We stated that the nature of the exhibition business means that most of our member companies work with these so called “clone apps” in order to customize their different trade shows, which are often held in entirely different industries. Some of our members organise 300 and more tradeshows globally and it is a very common procedure to launch these apps through an app generating tool.

We reiterated that these apps might have similar codes but they serve different trade events/markets and contain, in all cases, different and high-quality industry specific content.

We also explained that most of the trade show customers do not even know the name of the company organising and owning the exhibition they attend – for them, the name of the show is the brand they are aware of. Let’s take Apple as an example: supposing we asked them to imagine offering apps for their own Apple events, doing so through an organiser called “pears”. According to the previous policy, they would be required to operate through a container app called “Pears”, which would include all Apple events .