October was a really busy month. Apple, Google, and Samsung held events to introduce new products, and both the Play Store and the App Store have some new things brewing. Facebook is still facing problems concerning safety, iOS updates, and power outages, and Windows drew digital ire over its new emojis.
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Don’t worry, we kept up to date with all the news, check them out just below!
ALL THE APP STORE NEWS
In-App events are here! Announced during WWDC 2021, they were first supposed to be available at the launch of iOS 15 but got delayed. Starting October 27th, in-app events can finally appear on the App Store (after having passed apple review of course).
Apple also shared the specs for creative assets for this feature and some guidelines such as not using text or logo in your visual asset, avoiding CTA in the title, and using proper grammar.
The launch of iOS 15 last month also allowed Apple users to rate the company’s pre-installed apps. We can finally see what iPhone users really think of them!
Among the 28 pre-installed apps, the average rating was 3.4 stars. With the lowest rated app being Translate with an average of 2.2 stars.
Moreover, App Analytics also has some new metrics available. You can now view new transaction metrics like redownloads, total downloads, proceeds, pre-orders, and updates. And, you can choose to display each metric by territory, source type, device, and more.
On another note, Apple made it easier to report scams on the App Store. Before iOS 15, if you wanted to do so, you needed to scroll all the way down to the bottom of either the Apps or Games tab, then be sent to a web browser where you needed to log in again, before being presented with different options that could redirect you to the Apple Support contact page or let you ask for a refund. You also couldn’t report a scam unless you’d already fallen for it. You can now report a problem directly on the app listing page.
And last but not least, Apple is updating its App Store rules. They removed a section of the 3.1.3 guideline which means that now, developers will be able to collect user information and use it to communicate with them outside of their app. And maybe tell them about payment options alternatives.
These changes have been made to comply with the ruling of the class-action lawsuit from US developers. We have yet to see what transformations Apple will implement following the decision of the Epic trial (the deadline is December) and the Japan Fair Trade Commission ruling (in early 2022 according to Apple).
ALL THE PLAY STORE NEWS
Google also implemented some changes to the Play Store. The most notable one is the fact that they reduced their Google Play service fee for subscriptions from 30% to 15%. Usually, the payment reduction only happened after 12 months of a recurring subscription, it will now be 15% from day one, starting on January 1st, 2022.
Ebooks and on-demand music streaming services will be eligible for an even lower service fee of 10%.
On another note, developers can now start to fill the safety section of your listing page. The “Data safety” form will soon be available to everyone in the Google Play Console. This segment lets users know what kind of data is collected and shared by an app, whether it’s encrypted, can be deleted, and if the app follows the Families policy. All apps must have their data safety section approved before April 2022.
A NEW AD FORMAT FOR TWITTER
Good news for Twitter Advertisers everywhere! Twitter’s Revenue Product Lead, Bruce Falck, introduced the current testing of ads in between replies to tweets. This means that soon, you could see ads appearing in the middle of Twitter conversations.
INSTAGRAM ANALYTICS GETS AN UPGRADE
Instagram marketers can rejoice! The social network updated its Insights elements for business and creator profiles. The new metrics now available to Instagram allow creators and businesses to :
- see the total number of accountsthat interacted with your content in a given time period,
- access demographic dataof the users engaging with you: if they follow you, the age range, gender, and top cities and countries,
- a new insight into your reached audience: demographic data on the users you’ve reached with your posts in a given time period (cities, countries, age range, gender)
ANDROID 12 IS AVAILABLE ON PIXEL DEVICES
Android 12 is now available for Pixel 3 and beyond. With this new OS, Google lets you personalize almost everything (lock screen, notifications, settings, widgets, and even apps). The Material You feature even uses color extraction algorithm to match the color of your widgets to your wallpaper.
Moreover, users can decide to keep their precise location private, since most apps only need an approximate location to work. They can also see when an app is using their mic or camera, or even make “scrolling screenshots”.
Android 12 will also automatically revoke permissions from apps after several months of lack of use.
There is no information yet on when it will be released on other devices.
IT’S (KIND OF) THE END FOR IGTV
The long video format of Instagram is no more. Introduced in June 2018 in the hopes of becoming a YouTube-like app, it used to send Instagram users to the IGTV app to be able to watch longer videos.
The IGTV format will disappear from Instagram’s main app, with regular videos being allowed to last 60 minutes. The IGTV app will now be rebranded as Instagram TV and stand on its own.
APPLE IS IN LEGAL TROUBLE OVER THE GLOBE
The European Commission is set to charge Apple with anti-competitive practices. The charges, which are being finalized according to a report from Reuters, refer to the NFC chip inside iPhones and Apple Pay. They are worried Apple “unfairly locked out competing contactless payment services by restricting the use of the NFC chip inside iPhones”. Apple could be forced to open its mobile payment system to competitors.
In the meantime, the Dutch antitrust authority declared Apple’s in-app purchases rules as anti-competitive. According to them, the obligation to use Apple’s in-app purchase system is unfairly monopolistic. The investigation was launched after complaints from dating app developers (Match Group amongst them). The ruling has not yet been made public and is undergoing legal review.
On the other side of the world, in Asia, a Korean lawmaker stated that Apple owes South Korea $46M in undeclared benefits following a 3-year-old verdict that found the company guilty of anti-trust behavior. In China, an antitrust case against the Cupertino firm, led by a Chinese consumer, will proceed to the country’s Supreme Court. The defendant, Jin Xin, is demanding Apple to stop charging its 30% commission on purchases in the Chinese App Store.
FACEBOOK BECOMES META
The rumor started a few days before the official announcement when The Verge shared that Facebook is looking into a name change. The social media platform (dubbed the blue app by employees) will keep its name, only the company will be renamed. The new name, Meta, is directly linked to Mark Zuckerberg’s new passion project: The Metaverse.
Of course, the internet took the news and ran with it so you actually can vote on Facebook’s new name pretty much anywhere on Twitter and even on Buzzfeed.
TWITCH WAS HACKED
The entirety of Twitch was hacked. From the website to streamers’ payout and information about an unreleased steam competitor, everything was made public by hackers on October 6. Several streamers whose revenue leaked confirmed the numbers.
The hacker behind it said they wanted to disrupt the space because “their community is a disgusting toxic cesspool.”
FACEBOOK TESTS ADDING CONTEXT TO ADS
Facebook is currently testing a new tool that would add some context (like the location or the follower count) to the ads shared on the platform. These pieces of information would appear just under the add as you can see in this tweet:
TWITTER WANTS HEALTHIER CONVERSATIONS
Well-known for the heated conversations taking place on its platform, Twitter is now testing prompts (on both Android and iOS) warning users if a conversation is likely to get heated.
While it’s an interesting premise, it can be complicated to figure out which conversations can get off the rail on Twitter. Case in point:
APPLOVIN BUYS MOPUB FROM TWITTER
Twitter had acquired MoPub in 2013, according to Twitter’s CFO, the sale (for approximately $1billion in cash) will allow them to “concentrate more of our efforts on the massive potential for ads on our website and in our apps”.
On AppLovin’s side, they hope the acquisition will help them maximize revenue growth for publishers and offer an extended reach to advertisers.
LINKEDIN QUITS THE CHINESE MARKET
LinkedIn was one of the last American social networks left in China. Between all the regulatory changes coming to the country announced in the past weeks, and the issues Microsoft (which owns LinkedIn) also encountered regarding its decision to block certain US journalists’ profiles in China, it was time to leave.
Instead of agreeing to the Chinese government’s demands (which were to limit access to individual profiles that were deemed unacceptable by Chinese officials), Microsoft decided to pull LinkedIn out of the Chinese market entirely.
SNAPCHAT LOSES BIG BECAUSE OF ATT
The third quarter’s results were a big blow to Snapchat’s revenue. The company’s stock fell 22% after the publication of its quarterly earnings. According to Evan Spiegel, the CEO, Apple’s ATT measures have deeply impacted their business: “While we anticipated some degree of business disruption, the new Apple-provided measurement solution did not scale as we had expected, making it more difficult for our advertising partners to measure and manage their ad campaigns for iOS”.
With iOS users mostly opting out of tracking and searching for more privacy, it’s no surprise that some of the tech giants would also have to face setbacks. All in all, Snapchat’s CEO seemed optimistic about Apple’s ATT, arguing that it is “really important for the long term health of the ecosystem and something we fully support.”
THE FACEBOOK FILES SAGA CONTINUES
On October 5th, Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, testified in front of the American Congress. She shared internal Facebook reports and argued the poor treatment of users by a company that puts “astronomical profits before people”, claiming that the social network is harming children and destabilizing democracies.
For once, lawmakers from both sides seemed to agree on the need for new regulations. Even on the other side of the pond, members of the European Parliament have called for an investigation of Facebook over Haugen’s documents.
Haugen also appeared in front of the UK parliament on the 25th of October, a few days after Sophie Zhang, another former Facebook employee who accused the company of failing to combat election interference in several countries.
WINDOWS DIDN’T KEEP ITS PROMISE
Windows 11 users were quite disappointed to see that the promised 3D emojis didn’t quite look like what Window advertised. Earlier this year, Windows unleashed a teaser of its emojis’ new look bringing back the beloved Clippy to replace the paperclip emoji. The announcement drew a lot of attention online, most of it praising the new 3D design.
However, when the emojis were indeed released this month, they didn’t look quite right.
Long story short, Windows didn’t deliver on its good-looking 3D emojis, drawing internet outrage. Not sure Clippy’s coming back can make up for it, emojis are a big deal.
THE VERGE’S 2021 TECH TRUST SURVEY IS HERE!
The Verger finally released its 2021 tech trust survey! There’s a lot of interesting tidbits of information in there so take a look to see what users actually think of the tech giants.
For example, people seem to be leaning more towards a heavier control of tech companies if they ever were to grow too big and powerful. We’ll see what happens with that with the Facebook Files/Papers situation.
On another note, Amazon is apparently the most trusted platform while Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter are struggling in the trust department.