The landscape for digital storefronts is changing quite a bit. That is thanks, at least in part, to a lot of outside voices demanding those changes. Apple, for its part, remains reluctant to make any sweeping changes that don't ultimately benefit the company. But, it has made some changes, and there appear to be even more in the works. Meanwhile, Google has had to make some changes to its Play Store, too, and today marks the arrival of yet another.
Changes, they are a-coming. Apple's not too pleased with it, and Google might be arguing behind the scenes, but when the legal decisions arrive there's not much else they can do. That's the situation in South Korea, where the government ruled that both companies need to allow alternative App Store payments.
While Apple champions all sorts of things, including individual privacy, user security, being a positive element for the environment, and no software backdoors which could give government agencies too much access. The reality is, if it wants to work in certain markets, then it must abide by local laws, regulations, and even demands. Which can lead to some noteworthy changes.
Last week, we reported that the South Korean government was looking to vote on the Telecommunications Business Act, a bill that includes an amendment that aims to force Apple and Google to make some sweeping changes to their digital storefronts. In South Korea the bill is known in short-hand as the "anti-Google bill," but obviously a lot of the focus is more on Apple's App Store. Generally speaking, though, the South Korean government believes this bill should help reign in any company with a monopolistic, or dominant, market position.
There are a lot of apps out there. Whether you're browsing through Apple's App Store or Google Play, you can find an app for just about anything. In comparison, preinstalled apps aren't as numerous. But apparently they take up the lion's share of attention anyway.
There are fees associated with using not only Apple's App Store, but also Google's option, Google Play. But some folks want to see those fees abolished, and state legislatures in the United States are part of the process. This time around it's Minnesota.
Right now, side-loading apps is not the preferred method for installing apps on iPhones and iPads. At least, not by Apple. The company cites user security as a primary reason for that. However, the Senate in North Dakota may force Apple's hand on the matter.
Christmas Day was a boon for not just Apple, but Google as well, as device owners spent quite a bit of money in both company's digital storefronts.
Version 2.4.0 of Apple Music for Android has been released with additional features for music video playback and stability improvements.
There is no debate that a large contingent on the internet has been holding out for less Pokémon Go news in 2017, but it is equally clear that this sentiment will not be echoed by the people at Niantic. No matter the side of the fence you are on, the fact that Pokemon Go is hands down one of the most successful apps in the history of the App Store (breaking first-week download and revenue records) is a big deal, and the augmented reality laced game will continue to rake in millions of users and dollars in the year ahead. It’s not all rosy though, as the daily player count is continuously pointing south and engagement data crumbling.
As much as this is Niantic’s battle to fight, Apple too has a vested interest in the preservation of Pokemon Go’s winning streak and will want to benefit financially from the game throughout the current fiscal year. The question both business entities therefore are going to have to find answers to is what’s next for Pokémon Go strategically, and what is Apple’s role in facilitating Niantic’s continued success with the app? Not so much content wise but rather in terms of product strategy, I have sized up a few moves that Niantic, The Pokémon Company and Apple could have up their sleeves over the next 12 months.
Google earlier this week announced a major overhaul of the its magazine and news reader, Play Newsstand. The new version of the iPhone and iPad app sports a new app icon and provides a refreshed user interface alongside a few new “smart” features.
These include a personalized news briefing, a “For You” stream of personalized stories, support for rich media in articles, tab-based navigation and other perks.
Google on Monday announced overhauled Play Music apps with smarter, AI-powered recommendations based on user location, activity and time of day are now available for iOS, Android and on the web. In addition, the app can optionally save your most recent songs and a few recommended tracks for offline listening, even if you forget to download them yourself. The revamped Play Music app is available on the App Store for free.
Not to be outdone by Google, rival Amazon this morning announced that its recently launched music-streaming service, dubbed Music Unlimited, is now available in the United Kingdom and expanding later today to Germany and Austria.