Apple Vape – What is the score?

For some time now there has been a certain amount of uncertainty and speculation as to what is happening within Apple’s HQ, regarding Vape and Vape related products within their remit.

As many in the Vape industry know, it began in early 2016 when Apple pulled and halted all new Vape additions and submissions to its App Store. This raised the primary question of why? There are a few reasons to speculate on.

1: FDA – It is thought that the new FDA regulations, and their governance on the Vape industry, has put pressure on major companies to comply and add additional restrictions on Vape content, products and hardware providers. However this seems unlikely, given that there are apps that deal with insanely unhealthy topics in the realms of alcohol and nutrition. Also, we found that even ‘information only’ apps within the Vape industry are also being restricted and no longer eligible for submission. We contacted Apple and asked them for clarity, as their formal guidelines did not reflect this change in policy. After 3 flaky administrative responses, we were told that the new guidelines would be updated within 3-6 months and that Apple reserved the right to alter and review apps and topics they felt ‘was in the best interests of their wider consumer market’. Hmmmm.

2: Uncertainty – Not only is the US still trying to find a solid formula to the health and benefits of Vape (despite being proven and backed up medically), but also within the EU and here in the UK. It seems to be a case of the hierarchical ‘old boys’ calling shots on an industry they still don’t fully understand, or rather an industry they don’t fully know how to tax when compared to the tax revenues generated by the Tobacco juggernaut. There is also heavy speculation that the Tobacco providers are researching the Vape industry and how they can (most likely) lever it. Until this is agreed, Vape will continue to sit in this period of regulatory uncertainty.

3: Monopoly – This is most likely the key reason. After all, Apple are not stupid, they do their research and see how quickly the Vape industry has developed, certainly in the past 3 years, and given that it sits directly in the remit of lifestyle (with the added corporate onus of assisting people to stop smoking) then this is an area that Apple will branch into. The hypothetical images in this post are probably, surprisingly accurate, as to how Apple will integrate their products into the Vape and open markets. However if this is the case, then it is a bit of a cheeky move, pre-emptively quashing all competition to run a monopoly on whatever hardware they may choose to release. After all, Google / Android have no restrictions nor is there any evidence yet that they pan to implement similar restrictions.

Apple do have a habit of continually isolating many of their dedicated markets, look what happened with the creative video market. But ultimately time will tell, and all the Vape hardware and Eliquid providers can do is stay conformed, check your compliance, keep on top of your customer experience game, and there will be no reason for survivability to be an issue.

 

Stewart Lawley

Editor, VJuice

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