TechCrunch is reporting that companies who mass produce (or provide tools and templates for the mass production of) "cookie cutter" apps are hearing that they need to add differentiation and functionality or risk Apple not allowing them into the iTunes App Store. Jason Kincaid says:
Between the developers I spoke to, the consensus was this: Apple doesn’t appear to be opposed to ‘app generators’ and templates per se, but in the last month or so it has started cracking down on basic applications that are little more than RSS feeds or glorified business cards. In short, Apple doesn’t want people using native applications for things that a basic web app could accomplish. For some of these services that’s bad news, because that’s exactly the sort of application they produce; any new applications they submit are going to get rejected. But all hope isn’t lost for them, provided they can make their apps more useful.
Kincaid says Appmakr for one has taken suggestions from Apple to improve things like in-app purchases, instant notifications, offline access, and landscape viewing modes and describe the process as positive. Other services apparently haven't had as much luck.
The move seems to be part of Apple's ongoing efforts to increase the quality of the App Store experience and protect the brand. Much like the removal of sex-based apps last month, "cookie cutter" apps could seen as low value, sometimes verging on spam. For consumers it could result in a cleaner App Store and ultimately better apps (more than just re-packaged RSS feeds) but at the expense of quantity and choice. For developers, it's likely another in a list of things they'll consider before building on Apple's platform.
If Apple is indeed working on revamping the mass produced app, what think you?