'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.' Some developers take this phrase quite literally and blatantly copy apps and post them on the App Store. In a bid to fix the issue, Apple is now taking down these cloned apps with tougher App Store guidelines.
Following Apple's Developer Conference this year there have been a lot of changes to the App Store Review Guidelines. This year the big issue that surrounded the Conference was the rule 4.2.6 which states that "Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service can be rejected."
Apple always had a clause in their guidelines "do not clone." This is to prevent developers from replicating other developers apps or even literally copying their app and posting it on the App Store. There are several guidelines surrounding "templatized" apps too. A few of them deal with problems associated with apps that try to capitalize on the popularity of new games (like the Flappy Bird) which go viral in a moment.
The problem here is that when one such app is released, thousand others will try to replicate it and try to cash in on their popularity and earn as much revenue as possible before being removed. So Apple has decided to go out and clean the App Store. The new guideline states that "apps created from a commercialised template or app generation service will be rejected," which is aimed to reduce the mass produced apps that bloat App Store.
According to TechCrunch that first spotted the new guidelines, "the new rules which are tougher and more explicit in order to back up those removals has been reportedly used to clean up hundreds of thousands of apps including clone apps, apps that aren't 64-bit compatible and even apps that have been unused for a long period."
It is important to note that Apple is not trying to curb the tools that allow you to customize or publish your apps, as long as they are original in content and not cloned. Apple first announced its plans to remove "problematic and abandoned apps" last year, removing almost 50,000 applications.
This year, the company continues its cleaning efforts and looks to put a specific focus on clone and spam applications ahead of the all-new App Store design going public later this year.