iOS 15 public beta arrives, Android App Bundles to exchange APKs, app client spend hits new report – TechCrunch

Welcome again to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch sequence that recaps the newest in cellular OS information, cellular functions and the general app financial system.

The app business continues to develop, with a report 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in international client spend in 2020. Shoppers final 12 months additionally spent 3.5 trillion minutes utilizing apps on Android gadgets alone. And within the U.S., app utilization surged forward of the time spent watching stay TV. At present, the common American watches 3.7 hours of stay TV per day, however now spends 4 hours per day on their cellular gadgets.

Apps aren’t only a option to cross idle hours — they’re additionally a giant enterprise. In 2019, mobile-first firms had a mixed $544 billion valuation, 6.5x increased than these with no cellular focus. In 2020, buyers poured $73 billion in capital into cellular firms — a determine that’s up 27% year-over-year

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Android App Bundles are actually going to be required

This week Google introduced it would require new apps to be revealed utilizing the Android App Bundle as of August 2021. The corporate first launched the Android App Bundle customary, which replaces the APK, in Could 2018 as a part of its trendy growth push. Since then, the vast majority of the highest 1,000 apps and video games have converted to AABs together with these from firms like Adobe, Duolingo. Gameloft, Netflix, reBus, Wet, and Twitter. Right this moment, there are over 1 million apps utilizing AAB in manufacturing.

AABs remedy some issues with the growing old APK customary, notably round bigger apps and video games. With AABs, builders don’t must create an APK that accommodates the whole lot for each kind of Android gadget. They provide a option to rapidly and extra effectively obtain the belongings wanted for a specific gadget, they usually achieve this in a method that focuses on getting the consumer or participant to the app or sport’s content material as quick as potential.

However not everybody agrees the change is for the higher. Those that make the most of APK Internet hosting websites like APKMirror or APKPure to obtain and share apps fear that the shift to AAB is a option to power customers to make use of the Play Retailer as an alternative of options. In the meantime, Epic Video games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney — who’s taking up tech giants over their alleged app retailer monopolies with each lawsuits and lobbying — identified that the transfer away from the extra open APK customary is about locking customers into Google Play.

Shopper Spending on apps hits report $64.9B within the first half of the 12 months

Shopper spending in cellular apps hit a report $64.9 billion through the first half of 2021, in accordance with preliminary information from app retailer intelligence agency Sensor Tower. This determine represents a 24.8% enhance in spending seen throughout each the App Retailer and Google Play, in contrast with the year-ago interval. However whereas business consultants imagine the accelerated shift to cellular fueled by the pandemic is a pattern that may proceed, it’s price noting that — regardless of the brand new report — the expansion fee for client spending has barely slowed, and the obtain progress slowed extra dramatically.

From the primary half of 2019 to the primary half of 2020, client spending on cellular apps grew 28.4% from $40.5 billion to $52 billion, for comparability — slower than the 24.8% seen within the present interval.

Platforms: Apple

✨ Apple launched the general public betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8. Though builders already had entry to early builds, this week was the primary time the general public might get their palms on Apple’s newest software program earlier than its official launch this fall. One of many greatest adjustments in iOS 15 is the addition of “Focus” modes that give customers extra management over when and who can hassle them with calls, texts and notifications throughout completely different contexts — like work, driving, sleeping, and extra. Customers will even achieve entry to SharePlay interactivity on FaceTime, iMessage enhancements, the power to FaceTime with Android mates through net hyperlinks, spatial audio, Dwell Textual content (which unlocks information out of your pictures), app privateness stories, and upgrades to most of Apple’s core apps, and extra.

Platforms: Google

✨Google is implementing stronger safety measures on Google Play developer accounts in an try to crack down on spam and different malicious apps. Beforehand, the corporate required solely an electronic mail and cellphone quantity to create a Google Play developer account. Now it would require an account kind (private or group), a contact title and bodily handle, and it’ll require builders to confirm their electronic mail and cellphone quantity. Google says the adjustments will enable it to raised talk with builders and can assist to “be sure that each account is created by an actual individual with actual contact particulars.” It’s additionally now mandating that customers of Google Play Console register utilizing Google’s 2-Step Verification.

Samsung and Google previewed their wearable platform forward of the following Galaxy Watch launch. The 2 firms agreed to companion on wearables in an effort to higher compete in opposition to Apple Watch. At Cell World Congress, Samsung confirmed off the primary gadget to function the One UI Watch consumer expertise and the brand new unified platform in-built partnership with Google.


Instagram provides a brand new function that may enable companies within the U.S. to designate themselves as being Black-owned companies utilizing badges that seem on their profiles and on their product purchasing pages. It might even be highlighted in locations just like the Store tab, to assist extra potential clients uncover the enterprise.

Walmart partnered with cellular couponing app Ibotta on a multi-year deal that may provide cash-back rewards to Walmart clients that will probably be utilized on to clients’ Walmart accounts, the place they can be utilized for future purchases. The gives will probably be made accessible on and contained in the Walmart cellular app.

Following Apple and Google’s lead, Shopify dropped App Retailer commissions. Nonetheless, it’s dropping its lower to 0% for the primary million, after which will solely take a 15% fee on “marginal” income above that $1 million. The change might enhance strain on different app shops to make additional changes to their fashions sooner or later.

Augmented Actuality

Rakuten Viber has partnered with Snap to carry augmented actuality Lenses from Snapchat to its personal Viber calling and messaging app. The over 30 Lenses will probably be constructed utilizing Snap’s artistic instruments, together with Bitmoji, Digital camera Package, and Artistic Package and can provide AR-enabled messaging and pictures to Viber’s customers. The deal is one other instance of how Snap is rising its licensing enterprise for its AR and inventive instruments alongside the event of its personal social app.

Google’s Arts & Tradition app created a brand new function known as Artwork Filter that permits everybody to study vital items of artwork from world wide and put themselves inside well-known work utilizing AR. Google talked this week about its work with MediaPipe to make the most of their face mesh and 3D face rework tech to create customized results for every of the artifacts chosen.


Venmo launched a brand new function that permits customers so as to add a “good and providers” tag to funds despatched to non-public accounts to distinguish them from private transactions. The system is supposed to guard patrons and sellers, Venmo says. Consumers on these transactions will probably be eligible for Venmo’s Buy Safety Program, however sellers are unable with the brand new charges related to the change as Venmo will now deduct 1.9% of the transaction plus 10 cents from the cash despatched to the vendor.

Intuit-owned finance and budgeting app Mint added the power to trace cryptocurrency investments throughout quite a lot of supported exchanges, together with Binance, BlockFi, Coinbase/Coinbase Professional, Gemini, Kraken, PayPal, and Robinhood. In consequence, the app shot to No. 12 general on the U.S. App Retailer on Wednesday and have become the No. 1 app within the Finance class, although it has since dropped in rating.


TikTok is increasing its max video size to three minutes, up from 60 seconds, after testing this function publicly for a lot of months with a choose group of creators. The function will enable for extra long-form video content material, doubtlessly making TikTok much more of a menace to YouTube.

Pinterest bans weight reduction adverts on its platform, turning into the primary main social platform to take this type of motion. The corporate says social media performs a task in selling dangerous magnificence requirements, and adverts that glorify weight reduction contribute to an increase in disordered consuming behaviors somewhat than wholesome habits.

Instagram is creating its personal model of Twitter’s Tremendous Comply with with “Unique Tales.” Instagram confirmed that the screenshots of an “Unique Tales” function not too long ago circulated throughout social media are from an inner prototype that’s now in growth, however not but being publicly examined. The function would enable creators to supply Tales that solely members (doubtless paying subscribers) would have the ability to see. These would seem on their profile in several colours and would show a message that their Story was just for members when others tried to view them. They may be saved as Highlights, and may’t be screenshot, in accordance with the leaks.

TikTok’s newest transparency report revealed the corporate eliminated 11,149,514 accounts in Q1 2021 for violating neighborhood pointers or phrases of service, which is fewer than 1% of whole accounts. Of these removals, 7,263,952 had been accounts belonging to youngsters underneath 13.

Trump and Parler reportedly mentioned a deal that might transfer the majority of Trump’s social media presence to the right-wing Twitter different, in accordance with New York Journal. The deal would have seen Trump taking 40% of Parler’s revenues had it gone by way of. Parler was okay with the rev share, however wouldn’t ban Trump’s critics from the app, which scuttled the deal, the report mentioned.

Instagram is testing a function that might enable anybody to have the ability to share a hyperlink instantly of their Tales by way of a linking sticker, which might work the identical method the swipe-up hyperlinks at present do. The corporate mentioned the check is seeking to perceive how many individuals would use hyperlinks, if accessible.

Twitter supplied customers an opportunity to obtain considered one of seven free NFTs this week, which had been minted on Rarible in editions of 20, making for 140 NFTs (get it?) in whole. The NFTs had been supplied to those that replied to a put up from the corporate’s primary Twitter account, and will sign Twitter’s plans to put money into making NFTs extra part of its platform sooner or later.


AT&T joined T-Cell in switching its clients to make use of the Android Messages app as their default cellular messages app for each SMS and RCS providers, making Verizon the one U.S. provider that has not made a partnership take care of Google. RCS has loads of benefits over SMS, together with no character limits, the power to ship bigger information, typing indicators, higher group chat, Wi-Fi help and end-to-end encryption for one-on-one group chats. This makes it a extra compelling different to Apple’s iMessage, nevertheless it requires provider adoption.

Audio chat involves the office as Slack this week launched a brand new audio software known as Slack Huddles that permits customers to have real-time conversations with colleagues in Slack’s app as an alternative of typing. The corporate additionally supplied extra particulars about an upcoming function that permits customers to depart video messages and it confirmed off an upgraded worker listing. The video messages software is being piloted whereas the listing is at present accessible to a restricted variety of Enterprise + and Enterprise Grid clients.

The U.Ok. issued steerage to messaging apps working within the nation to not use end-to-end encryption on youngsters’s accounts, asking firms to contemplate the dangers that e2e poses to youthful customers, because it makes it tougher to establish unlawful and dangerous content material that takes place on non-public channels. A authorities spokesperson burdened that there’s a option to implement sturdy encryption in a method that’s in step with public security. Privateness activists disagree with this stance.

Telegram rolled out group video calls to its cellular and desktop apps after initially promising the function was coming again in April 2020. The corporate says group video calls are restricted to as much as 30 folks nevertheless it plans to extend that restrict sooner or later.

WhatsApp is testing a redesigned voice message function that may present quick waveforms when the consumer is recording the message. After recording, the consumer can cease and take heed to their message earlier than sending it, too.


Relationship app Bumble is planning to open its first cafe in New York later this month. The launch was initially deliberate for 2019, however was delayed because of the pandemic. The brand new venue, Bumble Brew, is being enabled by a partnership between the relationship app maker and Italian restaurant Pasquale Jones. Decked out in Bumble’s yellow, the brand new cafe will open subsequent to the restaurant, to supply a spot for daters to satisfy for both espresso, cocktails or a meal.

Streaming & Leisure

Netflix customers on Android gadgets will now have the ability to begin streaming titles which have solely partially downloaded, which might assist in the state of affairs the place you’ve forgotten to obtain your favourite reveals earlier than boarding a aircraft. Earlier than, till the obtain accomplished, you couldn’t watch any portion of the video in any respect.

Chinese language TikTok rival Kuaishou and Tencent acquired the short-form rights to the upcoming Tokyo and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics from state broadcaster CCTV. This makes the app the primary short-form and livestreaming platform globally to turn out to be an official broadcaster of the Olympics.

Amazon Music Limitless is giving subscribers as much as six months of Disney+ free of charge (or three for current subscribers). Disney’s isn’t the primary to bundle a streaming take care of music. Hulu and Spotify had as soon as accomplished the identical.

Spotify launched its Spotify Viewers Community advert market to advertisers and Megaphone publishers in Australia, Canada and the U.Ok., following its U.S. launch in February. {The marketplace} lets advertisers purchase audio adverts on and off the Spotify platform.


Microsoft’s Xbox division introduced the growth of its Designed for Xbox cellular gaming equipment to iOS alongside the launch of the Xbox Cloud Gaming beta turning into accessible to Xbox Recreation Move Final members on Home windows 10 PCs and Apple telephones and tablets through the online browser at

As a part of the equipment program growth, the Spine cellular controller joined the Designed for Xbox household with the Spine One for Xbox, which helps all iPhones operating iOS 13 or later. It additionally added OtterBox Energy Swap Controller Batteries, a battery pack suitable with Xbox consoles, Android and iPhone gadgets.

Well being & Health

Google introduced this week an replace to its Passes API which is able to enable builders to construct performance into their web sites and apps to export COVID-19 check and vaccination data to a digital format that may be saved both within the Google Pay app or instantly on the customers homescreen as a shortcut. The API will solely be open to builders at healthcare organizations, authorities businesses, and different organizations licensed by public well being authorities, initially within the U.S.


App Annie spots indicators of a pandemic restoration in its Q2 2021 report, noting particularly a rebound in journey apps. The agency discovered that month-to-month hours spent in Journey and Navigations apps are on an upward pattern in markets just like the U.S. and the U.Ok., the place the rollout of vaccinations has been sturdy. South Korea is seeing an excellent higher restoration, as time spent in journey apps has surpassed pre-pandemic ranges. Journey apps in Brazil, France and India, nevertheless, haven’t but reached pre-pandemic ranges.


Alphabet’s Wing launched a free app within the U.S. known as OpenSky geared toward each business and leisure drone pilots. The app reveals pilots the place it’s okay to fly utilizing color-coded maps with greens, yellows and reds. It additionally permits pilots to submit requests to fly in managed airspaces and obtain close to real-time authorizations. This function works in a whole bunch of airspaces. The app had beforehand been accessible in Australia solely.


Fb is launching an academic app known as Sabee in Nigeria, which is the primary of the corporate’s new efforts to extra instantly goal the nation, and finally, the African continent, with new cellular merchandise. The app is being revealed by the corporate’s NPE Crew, an inner R&D incubator, which had targeted on new social experiences till now.

Safety & Privateness

Twitter users now have the option to make use of safety keys as their solely type of two-factor authentication (2FA), which the corporate notes is the simplest option to maintain your Twitter account safe. Twitter has supplied the choice to make use of safety keys as considered one of its 2FA choices since 2018. Nonetheless, this preliminary help solely labored for, not the cellular app, and required customers to have one other type of 2FA enabled, too.

💰 Tapcart, a “Shopify for cellular apps,” raises $50 million Collection B led by Left Lane Capital. The corporate gives a drag-and-drop builder that permits anybody to create a cellular app for his or her current Shopify retailer and talk with clients through push. Shopify was among the many collaborating buyers.

💰 BreezoMeter, an iPhone app that measures air high quality, raises a $30 million Collection C led by Fortissimo Capital, bringing its whole increase thus far to $45 million. The corporate makes use of AI and machine studying to assemble and perceive information from a number of sources, together with greater than 47,000 sensors worldwide.

💰Istanbul-based Dream Video games raised $155 million Collection at a $1 billion valuation in a spherical co-led by Index Ventures and Makers Fund. The cellular puzzle sport developer is finest recognized for Royal Match, which has 6M MAUs and $20M/month in income.

💰Apple and Snap companion Jigspace, “the Canva for 3D,” raised $4.7 million Collection A in a spherical led by Rampersand. The free JigSpace app lets anybody mix presets and templates of 3D-modeled objects to create their very own “Jigs” (fashions). The app has over 4 million customers on the App Retailer.

💰South Korea edtech app maker Mathpresso raised $50 million in Collection C funding from GGV Capital, Yellowdog, Goodwater Capital, and KDB. The service is utilized by over 9.8M customers

📈 Robinhood information for its IPO. Earlier within the week, Robinhood agreed to pay $70 million in fines and restitution as a part of its settlement with the Monetary Business Regulatory Authority over offering clients with “false or deceptive data. The SEC, nevertheless, remains to be investigating the buying and selling halt associated to GameStop and different meme shares. Robinhood has 18M accounts and $80B in belongings. It should commerce underneath “HOOD” on the Nasdaq.

💰 Girls’s social networking app Peanut launches a microfund known as StartHER to start investing in early, pre-seed stage startups led by ladies or different traditionally excluded teams.

🤝 Social media app LYKA, targeted on Southeast Asia, inked a take care of music-streaming know-how firm Tuned World to combine an immersive music-streaming service instantly inside its app. The partnership will enable LYKA to offer on-demand streaming of music, video, and podcasts to the app’s customers.

📈 Chinese language m-commerce app Dingdong made a small achieve throughout this week’s IPO, with shares that closed at $23.52, up 2 cents from its provide value, on its first day of buying and selling. The app permits clients to purchase contemporary produce, meat, seafood and different each day requirements.

💰 Vietnamese funding app Infina raised $2 million in seed funding for its Robinhood-like app launched in January 2021, which now has some 500,000 buying and selling accounts.

🤝 Gaming chat app Discord acquired AR startup Ubiquity6, which had raised $37.5 million in funding from high buyers together with Benchmark, First Spherical, Kleiner Perkins and Google’s Gradient Ventures. The startup had not too long ago deserted a few of its initiatives, indicating it might have been struggling to seek out traction. Deal phrases weren’t disclosed.

📈 Edtech unicorn Duolingo filed to go public following 129% income progress in 2020. The 400-person firm had $161.7 million in income in 2020 and had not too long ago turned worthwhile.

💰 Household app Life360 introduced a $2.1 million funding spherical from celebs and influencers who will now assist to advise the corporate on new options and assist with product advertising and marketing. The spherical was led by Bryant Stibel, the agency co-founded by the late Kobe Bryant and enterprise companion Jeff Stibel. Different buyers included Vanessa Bryant, Joanna and Chip Gaines, Tony Hawk, Chris and Jada Paul, TikTok influencer Billy Perry, and Nicole and Michael Phelps. Life360 at present trades on the ASX.

💰Age of Studying, the creator of childhood schooling app ABCmouse, raised $300 million in a brand new spherical of funding led by TPG. The brand new funding greater than doubled the corporate’s valuation to $3 billion. The corporate says it would use the funds to speed up worldwide growth and the event of its subsequent technology of apps.

💰Train and company wellness app Gympass raised $220 million in Collection E funding. The Brazil-based app noticed a report 4 million month-to-month check-ins throughout its community of greater than 50,000 international companions in Could.

💰Digital greeting card app Givingli raised $3 million in seed funding in a spherical led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six. The app goals to modernize the digital greeting card enterprise for Gen Z customers and monetizes by way of a $3.99 per 30 days premium subscription and reward card gross sales. Snap additionally invested within the spherical after earlier partnering with the startup on a Snap Mini app.

💰Buzzer, a stay sports activities app, raised $20 million in Collection A funding from quite a lot of sports activities and leisure backers, together with Michael Jordan, Naomi Osaka, Patrick Mahomes and others.


Picture Credit: Brickit

The brand new Brickit cellular app is a Lego fan’s dream and a powerful use of laptop imaginative and prescient know-how. The app is ready to rapidly analyze a pile of Legos to establish which bricks you’ve got in your assortment. It then serves up some initiatives the place you’ve got all, or at the very least most of, the bricks you have to construct. The method could be very quick, too — the app is smart of a whole bunch of bricks in your pile inside simply seconds. Brickit doesn’t come from Lego instantly, nevertheless, which limits a few of its capabilities by way of integrating with Lego’s bigger library of directions. However, in time, it would doubtless generate some information on the Lego collections customers have at dwelling which might make it an fascinating acquisition goal for Lego, along with the tech itself.

Three Weeks with iOS and iPadOS 15: Foundational Updates by Federico Viticci for iMore. An excellent in-depth assessment and evaluation of what’s new with Apple’s newest software program replace.



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