ASO Weekly - App Store News - January 24

January 29, 2022

ASO Weekly - App Store News - January 24

The antitrust drama continues with dozens of states backing Epic in their appeal of the court's decision last year. Apple extended access to Custom Product Pages, Product Page Optimization, and In-App Events to all developers, and Custom Product Pages took the place of Creative Sets in Apple Search Ads. Plus, copycat apps and unlisted apps on the App Store, and more from this week.

Most U.S. States Side With Epic, Versus Apple

Epics appealed the lower court's decision in the Epic games versus Apple lawsuit, leading to overwhelming support from other entities. The attorney's general for 34 states and Washington D.C. filed an amicus brief on behalf of Epic.

The states’ amicus brief mainly focuses on Apple's contract with developers saying that the court erred in deciding that section one of the Sherman Act does not apply to a unilateral contract. State attorneys argue that Apple's conduct, not the contract, is the problem. They are imploring the court to take the case back up and redo the analysis of Apple's conduct in regards to antitrust law in the United States.

Despite this overwhelming support, Apple is optimistic that Epic will lose the appeal and continues to maintain that they “will ensure the App Store is a safe place for consumers” and an opportunity for developers.

New Apple Search Ads Creatives

Along with the rollout of the new App Store submission experience last week came changes to Apple Search Ads. New Custom Product Pages are set to take the place of Creative Sets when designing custom ads in ASA. This will allow iOS developers to promote their apps on the App Store directly using Custom Product Pages with Apple Search Ads.

Developers can create multiple versions of their product page with Custom Product Pages which will extend to being able to create multiple versions of an ad in Apple Search Ads. This means users will see variations of the same Apple Search Ad that features different screenshots, videos, or promo text. This should allow developers to specifically target their campaigns to different demographics on the App Store.

Copycat Apps on the App Store

It's no secret that both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store can get flooded with copycat apps. One app that has been in the news lately is Wordle. Wordle is a browser-only game that has skyrocketed in popularity, thus spawning a deluge of Wordle clone apps on both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.

Recently, a console game called Unpacking – a casual Zen puzzle game about unpacking boxes – has been cloned across the App Stores. Apple was fairly quick to respond and take down the clone apps, although they persist on the Google Play Store.

One of the most famous apps that became the victim of countless clones is 2048. The mobile hit 2048 borrowed the foundation of their puzzle game from the browser game Threes. Following the viral success of 2048, hundreds of freemium clones appeared across the App Stores.

Apple has it clearly stated in their App Store Review Guidelines that a new app submission may not copy another app. Understandably, a few clones might slip past the manual reviewers, but Apple was fairly quick to remediate the problem. Google does not have a manual review process and is more relaxed with its guidelines, so many of these copycat apps are still live on the Google Play Store.

Apple Supports Unlisted Apps

Apple recently announced that the App Store will support unlisted apps. Unlisted apps will not be discoverable through search or browse and may only be found via a direct link.

Unlisted apps are primarily geared for the types of apps that aren't suited for public distribution. Apple states that these unlisted apps will be for organizations, special events, research studies, or tools and resources for workplaces. Apple also confirmed that unlisted apps will be supported in all countries where the App Store is available.

To publish an unlisted app, developers can submit a request form to Apple. If approved, an already existing app’s distribution method will change to unlisted and will only be available to those who have access to the link. Apple stated that unlisted apps may not work in a test flight type of capacity and that only fully finished apps will be permitted.

Takeaways

  • Dozens of U.S. States declared support for Epic Games in their appeal of the Epic Games v. Apple court case
  • Apple's Custom Product Pages have replaced creative sets in Apple Search Ads
  • Clone games still plague the App Store, but Apple is cutting them out quicker than Google
  • Apple now supports unlisted apps on the App Store which can only be accessed via a direct link