Welcome back to this Week in Apps, Freemobapk’s weekly series that recaps featuring news on mobile operating systems news, mobile apps, and the general app economy.
According to the latest State of Mobile report from Data.ai (formerly App Annie), to make matters worse for the app economy in 2023, consumer spending fell by 2% to $167 billion in 2022. However, by 2022, there would have been 255 billion downloads, an increase of 11% annually. Users are logging more hours than ever before on mobile applications. 9 percent of all time spent on mobile devices will be on Android by 2022, with a total of 4.1 trillion hours spent.
This Week in apps brings you the latest in the world of apps, including news, updates, introductory offers, mergers and acquisitions, and more, giving you the opportunity to stay current in this fast-growing industry.
Temu’s Continued Rise
Pinduoduo, a Chinese e-commerce company, has had a lot of success with its shopping app Temu, which has been the most downloaded app in the United States for quite some time. When it was released in September, the mobile shopping app quickly raised to the top of the US App Store’s app rankings and has been there ever since. On December 29, 2022, it topped the charts on Google Play. Temu returned to the top of the iOS App Store ranking on January 3, and it has been there since.
Temu offers factory partner deals, offers a variety of items including quick fashions, and encourages users to share the app with friends to get free items. A total of 5 million times were downloaded in the United States in January, up 19% from the 4.2 million times downloaded between December 10 and 31. It was downloaded over 18 million times in the US alone, for a grand total of 19 million downloads throughout the App Store and Google Play.
Temu is now ahead of his competitor Shein in daily orders. According to the agency, Temu will arrive daily installs in the US are around 43,000, while Shane estimates around 62,000 in October. In November, Temu’s average daily installs increased from 185,000 while Shein’s grew to 70,000, Temu had an average of 187,000 installations last month, whereas Shein only had roughly 62,000.
The app would seem to be seeking a growth strategy that is similar to that of TikTok, which has made notable investments in marketing in order to enlist users. According to the Meta Ads Library, this month alone Temu placed nearly 8,900 ads on the Meta platform. The advertisements feature incredible deals on Temu items, such as jewellery for $5, clothes for $4, and shoes for $13. It looks like this ad encourages you to install TEMU. However, if you dig into app reviews, you’ll find complaints similar to Wish’s, including wrong listings, damaged and late shipments, wrong orders, and a lack of customer service. No matter how much money is spent, Temu will continue to choose Wish over TikTok until the problems that led to Wish’s collapse are resolved.
Shopping with a Walmart Chatbot is No Good
A new text-based shopping option is now available at Walmart. Last month, Walmart launched a “Text to Shop” service that lets mobile shoppers on iOS and Android devices to text Walmart the items they want to buy at a local store or Walmart.com, or things may be recorded quickly and simply for shipping, delivery, or pickup. But based on our testing, the chat experience doesn’t feel quite right now. While chatbots have the potential to streamline the buying process through text, they still have some ways to go before they reach their full potential.
We tried out the feature on Apple’s Messages app for the iPhone and were disappointed with the results. The bot responds twice, offers several options for common questions like “eggs”, each time asking if the item should be picked up or delivered, gives the wrong answer, and spoke nonsense when confused – like when it returned options for “la Croix organic eggs.” For the time being, please continue using the Walmart app.
Apple’s Reality Pro Specifications
Are Apple’s AR/VR Headsets the Next Big App Platform? That’s according to Bloomberg, which has revealed information on Apple’s impending $3,000 Reality Pro headset, which is expected to be introduced later this year. The headset attempts to create a 3D version of Apple’s operating system and includes features such as FaceTime video conferencing (with avatars), immersive video viewing, virtual reality gaming, and use of Apple apps, including Safari web browser, Photos, Email, Messages, Calendar, App TV+, Apple Music, Podcasts and App Store according to the report.
The interface is described as having a grid of app icons and widgets, with Siri ready for use when typing is required. But the specifics of how people engage with the components on the screen are fascinating. It seems like the gadget contains both external and internal sensors to assess the user’s hands and eyes. This allows users to view items displayed on the screen and then pinch their thumb and forefinger together to activate a task, without the need for an additional hand controller like competing headsets, Bloomberg said. It could also have its own robotic crown like the Apple Watch to switch between AR and VR, and its iOS-like UI.
Additionally, Apple is presumably working on software that will allow users (such as those who don’t know how to code) to develop their own AR apps for its impending combined reality headsets.
Of course, there are still a lot of unsolved questions about what the headset does, even if it feels like “Apple” tries to get VR right. But the price of the device will make it a premium product for now, and it introduces a low economy activity, which could limit its improvements.
• The new update to iOS 16.3 contains important security features, such as the growth of the new advanced privacy features of iCloud to markets beyond the US. The update also adds an Apple ID security key and makes changes in the emergency call system, which now requires users to hold the side button with the volume up or down button and then release it in order to prevent accidental emergency calls. This update also solved a CarPlay error and many more.
• Apple says the iPhone 5S also obtained the iOS 12.5.7 security update, which solves a frailty that can be actively manipulated.
• Google has announced the discontinuation of Optimize and Optimize 360, two tools that allow marketers to run A/B testing to improve the user experience of their website or app.
After September 30, 2023, this tool will no longer be available. However, Google has made it clear that Firebase A/B testing, which is powered by Optimize and used for testing app interactions, will proceed to be assisted in the future and will not be affected by this change.
• Notifications are going to approach the latest Android API level is turning up. Initially, Google had alerted developers before November 1, 2022, but to provide developers more time, it was stretched to January 31, 2023. The change was announced last year, when Google also announced November 2022 plans for existing apps that do not meet the target API level within two years. For the latest major Android releases, it won’t be available for new users to find or install. The device is running a higher version of the Android operating system than the target API level of the application.
• Pokémon GO maker Niantic is once again trying to replicate the success of its flagship AR product, this time releasing NBA All-World, an AR game for iOS and Android. Basketball-themed minigames and NBA player avatars like Jordan Poole, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins are included in the game.
• Select versions of multiplayer are no longer available to players for fewer than 18 years, the company declared. (Although the game has been deleted from mobile stores, users who still have the game installed will still be willing to play it.) The FTC punished the game maker with $520 million for COPPA violation and stiffing the market. The company declared it will no longer enable users of version 13.40 on iOS, Mac, and Google Play to use V-Bucks.
• Netflix and Bumble are cooperating on a new dating app discover that lets users watch famous TV shows.
The dating app wants to introduce a weekly question-and-answer game on Netflix that users can play with other players to split the ice.
• YouTube Music has invented a new beta testing program called “Listening Room”, which encourages users to try out new features. The program almost loads quickly.
• Clubhouse has introduced a new feature called “Instant Invite” which allows users to invite their friends to join the house rooms and lounge discussions with a one-click invite link. The company wishes to decrease this resistance with the feature for the app.
• Facebook Messenger exerted its testing of end-to-end encryption. The app also gives users with helpful features such as chat emojis, themes, recticons, group avatars, preview links and activity status while in end-to-end encrypted chats. Thousands of people will be alerted in the coming months when the E2EE option becomes accessible.
• WhatsApp introduced a beta version of its mac app with native Apple Silicon support. Mac users with Apple’s precompiled chip and macOS 11 or later will be able to try Big Sur, and Intel Macs will also be available to use Catalyst via this app.
• Instagram introduced a new profile picture feature that allows users to create a profile picture and avatar by providing an interface that will easily switch between the two.
• Meta is exploring using artificial intelligence tools to reduce its advertising reliance on user data after Apple’s ATT privacy changes impacted its advertising business, reports the WSJ. Artificial intelligence tools have enhanced reel views by 20%.
• RevenueCat began publishing an extensive report on data mining on the subscription economy released on insights from over 12,000 subscription apps. These reports provide attainable and invisible insights into aspects such as pricing, preservation, conversion, advancement, strategy, and more. The whole thing is value a look here.
• Major US banks are again getting prepared for mobile wallets to start competing with Apple Pay and PayPal, the Wall Street Journal reported. The wallet was established by Early Warning Services, which is also beyond the Zelle. The Banks attempted and failed to get a similar effort (CurrentC) of the ground in past years.
• Match Group Dating App has updated its leadership team. Among the changes was the addition of former vice president of Brand at Snap, Will Wu, who is now the company’s CTO in a newly created role.
• The Pocket Read-it-later app, procured by Mozilla in 2017, has increased the mobile reading experience with new features. One addition adds more settings and recommendation to the Home tab. It also makes keeps changing to the “My Lists” tab, such as Save, and expanded its capabilities through filtering and editing tools. The feature was first initiated on Android.
• Popular wearable Oura Ring has updated its mobile app with another usable, the Apple Watch. The companion app can display information about skills, activity, sleep score, heart rate, body temperature, ringtone, and battery level, just like the iPhone counterpart.
• Samsung users have been warned to replace the Galaxy apps on their devices, as vulnerability has been found that would permit hackers to install any app from the store on their handset without their understanding.
• Uber Eat has added a new feature that goes to show users how much personal data they share with transportation providers when they order on the app. Uber already has the same feature called “View as Driver”.
Lawsuits, Policies, and the Government
- France’s data protection authority CNIL punished super-casual game developer Voodoo 3 million Euros for violating French data protection policies. The fine was released over Voodoo’s use of the IDFV or Vendor ID is made on iOS devices without user permission.
- The FTC reversed the consent order, alleging that credit service provider Credit Karma used a faulty model to pre-authorize credit card offerings by consumers.
- FBI and DoJ exploring Snapchat’s role in delivering fentanyl-laced pills as part of the forgery drug investigation.
- After two years of secret negotiations with CFIUS over ByteDance’s relationship with the Chinese government, TikTok changed its dealings with US officials in the wake of government bans, the New York Times reported. The video apps currently used for promotion are aggressive and lobbyist, and even more aggressive in public spaces, the report says.
Funding and Mergers and Acquisitions
• Strava, an activity monitoring and social community forum with over 100,000 members over the world has obtained European 3D mapping company Fatmap for an unspecified sum. Strava will ultimately merge Fatmap’s core forum into its own app, but for now it stays a different product.
• Voice AI Company Sound Hound reared $25 million from investors after putting off 40% of its workforce. A part of the proceeds will be used to hire Severance employees.
Ivory Goes Live
Tapbots, the makers of the popular third-party Twitter app Tweetbot that was recently killed by Twitter’s API changes, revealed the company’s latest new product this Week. To fill Tweetbot’s void, the company is building its next client app Mastodon, Ivory accessible as an Early Access start release on the App Store.
The company says the tag titled “Early Access” will be released to reveal the features that were originally wanted from Tapbots. But after Tapbots filled a small number of TestFlight test slots, the launch put Ivory in the hands of more people on the App Store.
For long-time Tweetbot users, Ivory provides an acquainted experience. The company is no longer acting as a customer of the Twitter network but using the Mastodon open-source platform. As user-friendly as Twitter, but deceptive, Mastodon has been receiving interest for months after Elon Musk took over Twitter.
It comes with dozens of features, from support for basic start-up functions to themed apps, changing icons, and sharp bells and whistles.
The application also supports many accounts and can display local and shared opportunities, recent posts, post insights, notifications, and much more. There are also Mastodon-related options not available on Twitter, such as the ability to add content notifications to your posts, as well as common features such as GIF posts and voting.
Other thoughtful improvements to appeal to more advanced users include hashtag tracking, a mute filter that supports regular expressions, and a time filter to show or hide posts that meets certain criteria you put in your posts. This could appeal to Mastodon older users, as well as, who may posts shared by Mastodon newcomers who are bringing Twitter’s culture to the platform which could lead to inappropriate messages warning their spam clocks.
Pestle, the well-designed iOS recipe app, received a major update on January 28. The app adds several features for advanced users, including “smart folders” that automatically create folders that organize recipes by the user-set criteria, capabilities to import standard, PDF and images. This is enables users to import recipes saved in other formats, and folders to condense the tedious task of getting prepared recipes.
For example, it is possible to create a smart folder that automatically adds a recipe saved with certain items, or you can create a dessert folder with additional rules. The app itself is free to install, but the subscription is $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year (or $39.99 for lifetime) for pro users.