Category: iOS apps

May 29, 2019 Off

Apple’s new App Store website takes aim at antitrust, anti-competitive claims

By Jill T Frey

Just ahead of WWDC, Apple has launched a new App Store website in the hopes of better defending itself against recent antitrust and anti-competitive accusations. The website details how Apple runs its App Store, including how apps are curated and reviewed, and what business models are available to developers. It also features a section entitled “A Store that welcomes competition,” where Apple makes the case for a marketplace where its own apps live alongside those from third-party developers.

For example, it showcases how Apple’s own Messages app competes with Messenger, Slack, Snapchat and Viber; Apple’s Mail competes with Gmail, Outlook, Spark and Yahoo Mail; Maps competes with Google Maps, Citymapper, MAPS.ME and Waze; and so on.

Spotify, naturally, is listed among the competitors for both Apple’s Music and Podcasts apps.

That’s not a surprise, given that Spotify has recently been making the case that Apple operates an anti-competitive environment. … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

Indie travel app Lambus makes group trip planning easier

By Jill T Frey

There are plenty of travel apps for researching flights and hotels or generally organizing your trips, but indie German developer Hans Knöechel struggled to find one that could gather all his travel-related information in one place, in addition to allowing a group of friends to collaborate on the trip-planning process. So he built one for himself: Lambus, an app that lets you organize your travel documents, manage expenses, plus collaborate and chat with fellow co-travelers about the trip being planned.

Previously a senior software engineer at Appcelerator in San Jose, Knöechel came up with the idea for Lambus after being on the road a lot himself, and finding existing travel apps lacking.

“When traveling, you either use a manual folder with dozens of pages for all your information — or countless apps to display travel expenses, booking confirmations and waypoint planning. Alternatives like Google Trips, Sygic and Roadtrippers were … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

Vignette is a handy new app that keeps your iOS contact photos up to date

By Jill T Frey

If there’s a special place in your heart for single-purpose utilities that solve a nagging problem, then you’re going to want to skip your daily Starbucks coffee and instead buy yourself a copy of the new iOS contacts utility Vignette. The new app is focused on doing one thing well: finding photos for your contacts by scouring social media profiles and updating them.

Many people don’t bother to add a photo when entering in an iOS contact for the first time — it’s often an afterthought at best. And because the iOS Contacts app directs you to your own photo library to find an image when editing a contact, adding a photo tends to be something people only do for close friends and family. (After all, most people don’t carry photos of co-workers, clients or business colleagues on their iPhone.)

But that means when you use Apple’s Phone app … Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

TikTok tops the iOS App Store for the fifth quarter in a row

By Jill T Frey

Despite a $5.7 million FTC fine and changes to restrict its use by those younger than 13 years old, TikTok retained its No. 1 position as the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store for the fifth consecutive quarter, according to a new report from Sensor Tower. The app saw more than 33 million App Store downloads during Q1, and was followed by YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger to round out the top five.

The No. 16 top app, Twitter, also had a good quarter, the report noted.

With 11.7 million App Store downloads, it saw its biggest quarter in terms of downloads since Q1 2015 — and a year-over-year increase of 3.6%. Of course, these figures won’t necessarily translate to an increase in active users, as installs aren’t a direct correlation to usage.

But while TikTok was again topping the App Store, it wasn’t the most downloaded app … Read the rest

May 13, 2019 Off

Supreme Court rules against Apple, allows an App Store antitrust case to proceed

By Jill T Frey

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Apple on Monday on a case involving whether or not a group of iPhone users will be allowed to bring an antitrust lawsuit against the company regarding its App Store practices. The iPhone owners allege that Apple’s 30% commission on App Store sales is passed along to users, representing an unlawful and unfair use of Apple’s monopoly power.

Apple had moved to have the case dismissed, arguing that consumers were buying their apps from the developers — not from Apple. And it was the developers who were setting the prices. The court disagreed, saying that Apple contracts with the third-party developers to sell the 2 million apps that are live today on its App Store, keeping its 30% commission on every sale along the way.

In addition, the court ruled in favor of the iPhone owners’ lawsuit proceeding for several other reasons. It … Read the rest

May 3, 2019 Off

Spotify’s leanback instant listening app Stations hits iOS

By Jill T Frey

Spotify has launched its instant listening app Stations on iOS, but only in Australia for the time being. The release comes nearly a year and a half after the Stations app first arrived on the market, initially for Android users in Australia. Dubbed an “experiment,” the app allows users to jump right into streaming instead of having to curate their own playlists or stations, or save favorite music to their library.

Unlike Spotify’s flagship application, the Stations app presents users with a minimalist interface where available playlists are displayed with an oversized font. You can scroll up and down between the playlists to select one, instead of typing in a search box or searching through voice commands.

When launching Stations, music begins playing automatically — a feature that had some calling it a “Pandora copycat” at the time of launch, given that instant music playback is something that Spotify’s … Read the rest

April 23, 2019 Off

Tim Cook wants you to put down your iPhone

By Jill T Frey

Tim Cook thinks people should get off their iPhones and decrease their engagement with apps. The Apple CEO, speaking at the TIME 100 Summit today, was discussing the addictive nature of our mobile devices and Apple’s role in the matter when he made these comments. He said the company hadn’t intended for people to be constantly using their iPhones, and noted he himself has silenced his push notifications in recent months.

“Apple never wanted to maximize user time. We’ve never been about that,” Cook explained.

It’s certainly an interesting claim, given that Apple designed a platform that allowed app developers to constantly ping their users with the most inane notifications — from getting a new follower on a social app to a sale in a shopping app to a new level added to a game and so much more.

The very idea behind the notification platform, opt-in as it may … Read the rest