Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the TechCrunch series that rounds up the latest operating system news, the apps 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.
Apps and the options
This week's tight, exciting US election had a number of impacts on the app market.
The apps Americans wanted to use to watch the elections on their iPhone reflected the divisions in the nation. Instead of a more neutral news source like a broadcast network, the two main apps were CNN and Fox News – cable news channels that tilt left and right, respectively.
The day after election day, the Fox News app was ranked # 2 among the best free iPhone apps in the US App Store. This is the highest rank that has ever existed. The second highest rank achieved was 9th on November 9, 2016.
Meanwhile, the CNN app ranked third – its highest rank since ranked second on January 20, 2017, the date of Trump's inauguration. This was also the third highest rank ever. (The app previously reached number 1 on November 9, 2016).
As of November 5, CNN kept a top spot at # 4, but Fox News slipped to # 14.
Other messaging apps haven't been as successful and barely cracked the top 50 at best
Android users showed less interest in the election, with Fox News only reaching number 12 on November 5 and CNN reaching number 16.
In lighter news from that stressful week, Calm's meditation app made headlines for its hilarious ad campaign sponsoring CNN's coverage of the presidential election. The app was displayed on the screen during CNN's “Key Race Alert”. The move seemed to benefit the app in terms of downloads and rankings.
When it comes to social media apps, companies have had to act quickly to curb the rapid spread of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and other harmful content. Facebook and Instagram ran notifications to let users know that the votes were still being counted after Trump falsely claimed he won.
Facebook also removed conspiracy groups and hashtags associated with election misinformation, as did TikTok. In the case of Facebook, a hashtag block is not a complete removal. If you search for a blocked phrase, it will still return the content, even if most of it comes from news organizations reporting on the trend. However, blocked terms do not return anything on TikTok. TikTok has also taken more determined action to completely remove videos that spread misinformation about elections.
However, for those in the misinformation market, it is still pretty easy to find TikTok as many other hashtags and terms in which misinformation is shared were left untouched.
However, YouTube took a more controversial stance on how to deal with misinformation. The platform this week revealed how complicit it is in spreading false and dangerous information when it refused to remove a video falsely claiming Trump won the election and undermined Americans' confidence in democratic elections. YouTube believes demonization and warning messages are the solution. However, by keeping this content online, users are preserved. And then those people are actually looking at ads elsewhere so that YouTube can benefit.
The company has drawn the line on at least one Steve Bannon video calling for violence against Anthony Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wray, and for their deaths.
According to Sensor Tower, combined iOS and Android installs of the leading social media apps in the United States, including TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, were down from installs from the week on November 3-5 8% from October 27th to 29th.
The right-wing social app Parler ranked 1,023 on November 2 under iOS. On November 5th, it had risen to number 241. As of Friday, she was 29th.
Apple is releasing a major update for iOS 14
Apple released iOS 14.2 this week, which, in addition to the usual bug fixes and security updates, offers a number of new features.
The update is significant for consumers and brings 117 new emojis.
The new emoji include an optimized version of the "Face with Medical Mask" that changes the face so that the eyes smile. Other notable additions include the transgender flag, pinched fingers, people hugging, smiling face with tears, a man bottle feeding a baby, and a wider group of people wearing tuxedos and people who wear a veil. There is also a gendered alternative to Santa and Mrs. Claus, which offers a gender-neutral option for a person in a Santa hat.
The updated iOS also offers eight new wallpapers in light and dark versions. new AirPlay controls; the ability to connect HomePod to Apple TV for stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos audio; Support for iPhone 12 leather case with MagSafe; optimized charging of the battery for AirPods; Notifications about the audio level of the headphones; and more.
One of the more interesting new features, however, is an accessibility upgrade for blind users that takes advantage of lidar support in the iPhone 12, 12 Pro Max, and iPad Pro.
The person detection function uses lidar to detect how close people are to the device owner and to enable blind users to better navigate the world.
Get ready for Apple's new "App Privacy" labels
Apple this week announced a deadline of December 8, 2020 for app developers to submit their app's privacy information to the App Store. This information is needed when submitting new apps and app updates, and gives consumers a better understanding of how apps access their data.
On each app's product page after the deadline, users can see what data an app is collecting and how that data is used to track it, according to Apple. This includes not only data that the app developers collect themselves, but also data that is transferred from the device for later use by the developer or a third party provider. That means app developers need to disclose how data is passed to analytics tools, ad networks, and other SDKs from third-party and third-party providers.
With this consumer-friendly change in privacy, Apple customers know how developers track and / or share their personal information, health information, financial information, location, contact information, user content, browser and search history, purchases, app usage, diagnostics, and data, and more.
While it's hard to argue that this is a change for the better in terms of consumer benefits. Apple's reasons, however, may not just be about serving the customer base.
By shutting down the ad analytics industry with the impending crippling of IDFA and making it clearer which apps are tracking user data, Apple is putting its own ad technology in a more affordable position. The SKAdNetwork framework benefits enormously from these changes and gives Apple a place at the table in the multi-billion dollar advertising industry. So let's stop pretending that it concerns how much Apple cares about its users. This is business.
Fortnite finds a way to bypass the App Store ban. The game, banned from the App Store by Apple in the battle for fees, may offer another way to reach the iPhone user base through Nvidia's GeForce cloud gaming service running on the mobile web.
WhatsApp launches a payment service in India. Facebook's own messaging app started testing the service in 2018 but struggled to get government approval. The UPI-based service presents a challenge to Google and Walmart who are currently dominating the Indian mobile payments market.
WhatsApp adds disappearing messages. The new short-lived messages disappear after seven days and are made available for iOS and Android. It also made it easier for users to delete large files and manage storage.
Apple announces a new event. The expectation is that this one will be Mac focused.
Apple warns investors that reduced App Store revenue would hurt financial results. The warning comes amid mounting regulatory pressures on the App Store, which today requires developers to distribute through its platform to reach iOS users and requires IAPs through Apple Pay.
PUBG Mobile is planning a way to return to the Indian marketFollowing a ban on cybersecurity concerns over its ties to Chinese giant Tencent. The company is looking for a local publisher.
Facebook and Instagram added notifications during the narrow US election this week to alert users that the votes are still being counted. The move follows Trump's spreading of conspiracies that elections were rigged and his lies say he won before all the votes were counted.
Apps in the news
Spotify is expanding its Apple Watch app with standalone streaming support. That means users can leave their iPhone behind and stream directly from their watch over WiFi or cellphone.
Facebook is testing “dark mode” on Android. The new option for dark mode was previously tested on the desktop.
Triller appoints Daniel Gillick as Global Head of Partnerships. The managing director was previously senior manager for music content and industry relations at Triller rival TikTok.
TikTok has signed a new, longer-term agreement with Sony Music. The deal allows the app to continue to offer music by Sony artists in their app.
TikTok tests iOS 14 “app clips.The test was discovered in beta and would allow users to preview it in full screen with a download prompt.
NBC News has launched an iOS 14 widget to view election news and results on your home screen.
Pokémon GO will reach $ 1 billion in 2020;; According to Sensor Tower, lifetime sales are over $ 4 billion.
Tencent claims it has 100 million users of the Honor of Kings mobile game every day. The game is consistently one of the most successful games in the world.
The Match Group reported the Tinder subscribers Growth despite a pandemic where people are supposed to be socially distant. Tinder had 6.6 million subscribers in the quarter compared to 6.2 million in the previous quarter. Tinder sales increased 15%, but ARPU decreased 1%.
Start of delivery goPuff, With its app, you can order convenience store items and alcohol for same-day delivery. Acquires BevMo alcoholic beverage chain for $ 350 million.
TikTok parent company ByteDance plans to raise $ 2 billion before going public on the Hong Kong StockExchange.
Kuaishou technology, the world's second largest short-term video app and TikTok rival, registered for an IPO in Hong Kong.
The European Challenger banking app Vivid Money brings in $ 17.6 million. The bank offers a metal debit card that is controlled by an app, as well as other technical functions.
The Roku Channel App
With the recently released app, anyone, including non-Roku users, can stream Roku's catalog of free live and premium movie and TV content on their iOS or Android device. The app also has 115+ live channels including live news, weather, sports, food & living, reality TV, sci-fi, real crime, kid entertainment and Spanish-language content.
The collagen atlas
Would you like to recover from a week full of stress and anxiety? The Apple arcade game The Collage Atlas can help. This unique hand-drawn game from developer John William Evelyn is a work of art in which players are invited to travel through a dream world with pen and ink, accompanied by a soundtrack that is shaped by your gameplay. The title, which has been in development for more than four years, is more something to experience than something to be more actively “played” – and that may be exactly what is needed right now.