Welcome back to This Week in Apps That theinformationsuperhighway series that rounds up the latest operating system news, the applications they support, and the money that goes through it all.
The app industry is hotter than ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $ 120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People now spend three hours and 40 minutes a day using apps, which rivals television. Apps aren't just a way of spending idle time – they're big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had an overall valuation of $ 544 billion, 6.5 times higher than non-mobile companies.
In this series we will help you stay up to date with the latest news from the world of apps, which are delivered weekly.
iOS 14 Home Screen Customization Craze
The release of iOS 14 included one of the biggest updates to the iPhone's user interface in years. Apps can now be stored off-screen in the new app library, organizing them for you, instead of forcing you to categorize apps into different folders yourself. And Apple Widgets for the home screen are finally possible – a development that made Android users giggle at how “behind” their iPhone colleagues have been lagging behind all along.
However, as with iOS apps, due to Apple's design limitations and rules for widgets, there is a standard that all widgets must meet in order to be approved. As a result, widgets have a consistent look and feel thanks to size restrictions and other design guidelines. Nor can they be stretched indefinitely or moved across the entire screen.
Apple originally envisioned widgets as a way for existing iOS apps to have a greater presence on users' home screens while also providing important information like news, weather, or stock updates. Instead, a handful of iOS developers created apps that let users design widgets themselves – by choosing colors, fonts, sizes, backgrounds, and the information the widget would display.
In the meantime, TikTok users and other Gen Z users have been teaching each other how to use the Apple Shortcuts app to create custom icons for their apps. These tutorials were trending before iOS 14 was released, but the addition of the app library and widgets has finally allowed users to customize their entire home screen. This led to a more enthusiastic adoption of the symbol customization technique.
Users shared their creations on the Twitter hashtag # iOS14homescreen – a showcase of creativity where home screens finally looked fully themed, with custom icons, widgets, decorative photos, matching wallpapers, and much more. The results have been fantastic.
And right at the top of the App Store there are now three essential tools for this new era: Widgetsmith, Color Widgets and Photo Widget still take the top three places in the table of free apps.
Users are now also asking Apple to change how app shortcuts are opened. Currently, an app shortcut starts the Apple shortcut app first, which then opens the target app. With the popularity of custom icons, users want this intermediate step to be cut out.
Apple is well aware of the customization craze that has been going on in the App Store editorial functions since the release of iOS 14 for iOS 14 design changes, recommended widgets to try out, creative tools, and more. In addition, apps were presented in the upper area of the App Store that benefit from the trend, e.g. B. Apps with great widgets like Fantastical or booming apps like Pinterest that recently broke their daily download record.
App makers compete against Apple and Google together
A number of top app makers have come together to fight Apple's control of the App Store and, to a lesser extent, Google's control of the Play Store – an issue that has seen increased government scrutiny in recent months was subjected. Today, 13 app publishers including Epic Games, Deezer, Basecamp, Tile, Spotify and others have launched the Coalition for App Fairness.
The new organization formalizes the already ongoing efforts of companies to either force app store vendors to change their policies or ultimately push app stores into regulation.
On the coalition's website, the group describes its key issues, including anti-competitive practices such as the 30% commission structure of the app stores and the inability to distribute software to billions of Apple devices through means other than the app store, the group sees this as an affront against personal freedom.
Google allows apps to be sideloaded, so it's not so much of a target in that regard. Indeed, given the stricter guidelines, much of the coalition's focus has to do with Apple's business.
The group has also published a list of 10 “App Store Principles” to be implemented across the industry. These include the ability to distribute apps outside of app stores, protection from using their own data for competition, timely access to developer documentation, the right to communicate with users through the app for legitimate business purposes, and no requirements for use the app's payment systems of the business, no obligation to pay unfair fees and more.
The website also aims to attract new members to join the coalition. App makers similarly oppressed by Apple's practices can fill out a form to apply.
Apple responded to the hardball tactic with a deluge of new material and data to highlight the benefits of its App Store platform. The company announced on Thursday that the number of rejections it has pushed through is quite small compared to the number of filings. It said it rejected 150,000 apps in 2020 but is seeing 100,000 submissions a week. It also removed more than 60 million user reviews believed to be spam.
The company found that its developer program has over 28 million developers worldwide whose apps have seen over 50 billion promotions. This means when a user sees an app that Apple promoted on the App Store, in email, on social media, or in other general advertising.
However, the backlash has also forced Apple to make some of its previously quite secret programs more transparent. For example, Apple has now published a page explaining how its video partner program works – a program that was previously only described in background conversations with reporters who then passed the information on to readers. The page shows the requirements of the program and that over 130 premium subscription video entertainment providers have joined since then. If the guidelines are followed, these providers can only pay Apple a commission of 15% instead of 20%.
Current members are Amazon Prime Video, Binge, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Claro, C More, DAZN, Disney +, Globo, HBO Max, Joyn, Molotow, MUBI, myCanal, STARZ and Viaplay.
The chaos in the TikTok deal continues
No, seriously, what's up with the TikTok deal? (We feel you, Walmart.)
The deal Trump was about to approve resolved some, but not all, concerns by making Oracle a trusted technology partner responsible for hosting U.S. user data and ensuring that other security requirements are met. However, issues of how the TikTok algorithm could be used to influence US users or censorship content were not addressed.
The ban has been extended for a week on promising progress and announcements suggesting that the parties agreed on the terms.
But this week China stepped in, saying it won't approve a TikTok sale. In China Daily, an official English-language newspaper for the Chinese Communist Party, an editorial slammed the deal whereby Oracle and Walmart would effectively take over TikTok in the US as a "bullying and blackmailing" unit.
At the same time, TikTok is pursuing legal means to prevent its ban in the US.
TikTok filed a motion to prevent the Commerce Department from enforcing the Trump administration's ban, which would otherwise begin this weekend. The move came shortly after WeChat users were given an injunction in federal court last week that prevented the app from being banned. The TikTok filing asked the court to hold a hearing before the rules go into effect on September 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Unlike the WeChat case, however, TikTok is urging the court to end the ban, not its users.
A federal judge said Thursday that the Trump administration must either delay the US app store ban or file its legal response to defend the decision by 2:30 p.m. Friday. The Justice Department filed an objection on Friday, stating that storing US user data outside of the country posed a "significant" risk. The judge must still decide on the injunction – that is, whether the ban should come into force on Sunday as planned.
Stay tuned to theinformationsuperhighway for the latest on this never-ending saga.
- Google will increasingly push for apps to reduce the number of in-app purchases. According to Bloomberg, Google will be pushing for a cut in transactions on Android by enforcing the requirements for apps to use the Google billing service, reports Bloomberg.
- The new Google Play Console will be released on November 2, 2020. Over 350,000 developers are using the new Play Console today. The beta version will end on November 2nd. This means that when you log in you will be taken to the updated user experience. The console offers reorganized navigation, speed and performance improvements, personalized messages, a new overview page for publications, acquisition reports and much more.
- Apple temporarily waived App Store fees for Facebook online events. Facebook launched paid online events last month to help companies affected by the pandemic. At this point, however, Apple wouldn't waive its own fees. The company has now changed its mind and will waive fees through December 31st. However, this does not apply to game developers.
- Apple and Facebook are fighting over messaging. But not everything is okay between the two technology giants on other fronts. After Apple repealed its rules on standard apps for surfing email and the web, Facebook is pushing the company to make Messenger a standard messaging app too.
- iOS 14.0.1 and iPadOS 14.0.1 released. The update fixes the bug that caused the web browser and email apps to be reset to Apple's default settings after a restart, as well as other fixes.
- IOS 14 adoption exceeds 25% within five days of launch. According to Mixpanel, iOS 14 (including iPadOS 14) hit 25% of active devices on Monday, September 21. At the time of writing, it was 30.7%.
- Apple's Swift is coming to Windows. The programming language is available for the first time on Windows six years after its debut on Apple platforms.
- Schoolwork 2.1 beta released. The updated iPad app for teachers and students is now in beta. Apps that use the latest ClassKit will be more visible to teachers in schoolwork.
- Amazon announces a gaming streaming service, Luna. As a competitor to Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia, Luna enables players to stream titles over the mobile web from PC, Mac and iOS. It will launch over 50 titles including a Sonic game and Remedy Entertainment & # 39; s Control. Ubisoft titles are available by subscription. The twitching integration will be a major selling point.
- Microsoft launches Xbox Remote Play Streaming on Android. This is not xCloud, but a renaming of what was previously called Console Streaming. The games are transferred directly from your Xbox One console to your Android device thanks to Microsoft's new Xbox app for Android.
- UK launches COVID-19 exposure reporting app for England and Wales. Northern Ireland and Scotland had already launched official apps. All apps use Bluetooth radios from smartphones to generate warnings of a possible threat from COVID-19.
- Samsung TV + is coming to cell phones. The free, ad-supported streaming service is making the leap to Samsung devices.
- Adobe introduces the new "Liquid Mode" in the Adobe Acrobat Reader app for iOS and Android. The feature uses Adobe's AI engine, Sensei, to parse a PDF and automatically recreate it for mobile devices. Adobe is currently working on an API that will enable similar functionality for non-Adobe apps in the future.
- Fintech Apps Top 1.2B will be installed worldwide in the second quarter (Report).
- Time spent on education apps increased by 90% year-on-year in the week of September 6, 2020 compared to last year worldwide. The numbers were calculated online via App Annie on Android devices. In the US, time spent increased by 30%.
- Home screen customization apps are at the top of the App Store. The top 20 iOS home screen customization apps achieved at least 13.7 million installs and more than $ 1 million in consumer spend in the seven days following iOS 14's release. Pinterest also broke its daily download record when users searched for new inspiration.
- Telepath launches a "friendly" social networking app. The aim is to promote quality conversations and to prevent harassment and false news. Easier said than done in today's internet.
- Kind gives security researchers tips on scam apps with 2.4 million downloads. The scam involved apps posing as entertainment, wallpapers, or music download apps for young users. Some showed intrusive ads even when the app was not active. Others charged users and generated over $ 500,000 in revenue. The apps were available for iOS and Android.
- Epic rejects Apple's attempts to downgrade its business. Apple tried to claim that interest in Fortnite dropped 70% from October 2019 to July 2020. Epic said daily active players grew 39% during that data. Both sides are arguing over Apple's right to commission Epic's business in an ongoing lawsuit.
- Apple acquires Scout FM. Apple has bought a startup called Scout FM that makes listening to podcasts a more traditional radio experience by taking advantage of the user's listening history to know what type of programming they enjoy. Contract terms are unknown.
- Epic Games acquires SuperAwesome. Epic acquired the Kidtech pioneer, whose digital engagement tools are used by 500 million children per month in thousands of apps, including those from Lego, NBCU and Hasbro. Terms and conditions were not disclosed.
- The IRL app brings in $ 16 million. Event Discovery Network IRL raised $ 16 million in Series B funding after aligning its social calendar with virtual events during the pandemic. The move made the app, now with 5.5 million MAUs, accessible to a wider audience.
- GoodRx IPO raises more than $ 1 billion. GoodRx, an app that enables users to compare store prices for prescription drugs, sold approximately 34.6 million shares at the IPO price to raise $ 1.14 billion out of $ 12.67 billion and increase the stock by 50%.
- Robinhood raises $ 660 million. Robinhood's stock trading app raised $ 660 million in an extension of its Series G round announced last month when D1 Capital Partners invested $ 200 million. Robinhood is now valued at $ 11.7 billion.
- Class for Zoom brings in $ 16 million. ClassEDU's Class for Zoom was developed to make online teaching more attractive. The company was founded by former Blackboard CEO and former PrecisionHawk CEO Michael Chasen.
- The Mobile Premier League brings in $ 90 million. Indian mobile gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) raised $ 90 million when the company wanted to expand its esports and gaming platform outside of India.
- Rappi raises over $ 300 million. The Colombian delivery app Rappi raised over $ 300 million in one round from T. Rowe Price Associates and others.
How could you not customize your iOS 14 home screen this week? The introduction of the new mobile operating system has brought a whole new category of apps – widget design tools. Aside from these apps, there are others that can help you create a whole new look and feel for your home screen. These can be creative tools, those for inspiration, or those for creating custom symbols. Do you want a weekend project? These apps below can get you working:
- Pinterest:: Look for ideas and inspiration to keep you motivated. Download wallpapers and other photos that you might want to use with your icons.
- Widgetsmith: Current # 1 app lets you create all kinds of custom widgets in different colors and sizes.
- Color widgets:: Latest app # 2 has a customizable widget that can display the date, time, day of the week and battery percentage at the top of your home screen.
- Photo widget: simple:: Another top app that lets you choose a single photo to place on your home screen.
- Motivation – Daily Quotes:: A top 30 app allows you to pin some daily inspirational quotes to your home screen.
- Launcher and Start Center Pro:: These two apps contain tools for creating custom icons.
- PicsArt:: For the more creative types, PicsArt is great for getting photos and designing backgrounds and icons, either from scratch or by remixing what you've already created.
- Canva:: The DIY design tool added a collection of iOS home screen templates.
- TuneTrack:: If you want a Spotify widget, this app is the best option right now as there is no official widget available.
- Fonts:: Why pause on the home screen? Customize your keyboard theme to match your new design.
- Fantastic: Now includes a dozen date, weather, calendar, events, and more widgets.
- Etsy: Can't you tinker Designers turn to Etsy to sell packs of icons and widget covers that allow you to create a beautiful home screen without doing all of the creative work yourself.