On the 1st January 2018, Apple changed their rules relating to the provision of apps for schools (and other sectors). This adversely affects any customer of app developers, who essentially use similar code for each app they create.
The effect on schools is that where previously they had their own app in the IOS app store, developers are being asked to drive customers towards a generic app, known as a Container app, wherein the parent enters a passcode unique to each school before they can see their school's app. Clearly where cost is a the main consideration for a school getting an app, many have already gone down the container app route. However a significant attraction for many schools is the knowledge that their school has visibility in the app store, not just for the ease of downloading but also to assure parents that the school is part of the 21st Century technologies for communication.
Yesterday I answered a call from a school whose app developer was asking them for an additional £125 per year for the privelige of maintaining their app in the app store PLUS a one off fee for redevelopment of £1000.
Without putting too fine a point on it, this in my opinion is pure extortion. The school was mid way through a three year agreement and it looks like the company is varying their terms and conditions and not allowing the school to vary their terms and conditions. Obviously I am not in full possession of the facts in this case, and could offer the school no legal advice as to their position.
What I can say is that for our existing school customers we can resubmit to Apple for an additional £100 per annum and that for new customers our prices now include this Apple cost in all our pricing.
In addition unlike other app developers we offer push notifications to individuals as well as groups or whole school, we also have the ability to secure content so that it can only be seen by selected groups (i.e. staff or specific year groups.) this functionality is included in our basic app price.
If your school is being asked to turn from an app in the app store to a container app and you are out of contract please feel free to call Peter at AppsforSchools on 01625 572922 to discuss.