The Week in Mobile: April 30 – May 6, 2017

Facebook and Apple report earnings, the SmartWatch space heats up, App Store spending on the rise and more
Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Facebook, Apple Report Quarterly Earnings

Facebook had another strong quarter as the company soared past Wall Street’s estimates to start the year. The world’s largest social media company reported revenue of $8.03 billion, well ahead of analyst predictions of $7.83 billion. Revealing that it now has 1.94 billion users, the company is just short of the two billion monthly active user milestone. At the current rate, Facebook should hit two billion users sometime in the next quarter. Mobile is now the source of 85 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue (a one percent increase from the previous quarter) and accounted for a whopping $6.7 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, Apple fell just short of earning expectations for Q1. iPhone sales cooled off for the first three months of 2017 as the company just missed the projected revenue mark set by analysts. Apple reported revenue of $52.9 billion, while Wall Street was looking for the company to surpass $53 billion in revenue. The company also announced that it has sold 50.8 million iphones, just shy of the expected 51.4 million. Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts “the pause” in purchases of the iPhone is the result of “earlier and much more frequent reports of future iPhones,” which dissuades consumers from purchasing the current version prior to the next major release.

App Store Crushes Year-Over-Year Revenue

The bright spot in Apple’s earnings was the revenue generated from the App Store. According to Apple’s announcement, the App Store set an all-time quarterly record as revenue skyrocketed 40 percent year-over-year. Earnings from the App Store are lumped into the “Apple Services” category, which also includes products such as Apple Music, Apple Pay, iTunes and iCloud. Overall, the company said that Apple Services brought in $7 billion in revenue, more than $1 billion better than the same quarter last year.

The news is great for iOS developers, as the new data suggests that iOS users in the U.S. are becoming more interested in spending money on apps and in-app purchases. Mobile games continue to reign supreme, but other categories like entertainment also made excellent year-over-year growth thanks in part to popular content streaming apps such as HBO GO, Netflix and Hulu.

Google Changes Adsense Policy for Mobile

Google has introduced a change to its Adsense policy that will likely result in more obtrusive ad content while surfing the web on mobile devices. In an announcement earlier this week, Google said that previous restrictions on ads that appear at the top of a web page will be removed. Google warns publishers to stay “vigilant” to safeguard against advertisements pushing content down in a such a way that may lead to accidental clicks on the ads.

Apple Watch Takes the Crown as Smartwatch Competition Heats Up

The Apple Watch continues to pick-up steam as the device outsold every other wearable on the market last quarter. Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors last week that the company’s smartwatch sales have nearly doubled year-over-year. However, exact figures have yet to be revealed. Although it lost the top spot to Apple—wellness device maker FitBit also revealed better than expected first quarter results—announcing earnings above its own forecast as the company’s shares shot up by 7.2 percent on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Microsoft looks to bounce back from the poor performance of its Band 2 device by introducing a new wearable. The company plans to put its own spin on a market dominated by consumer features by directing its currently unnamed entry at business professionals. Microsoft says the watch will run with a Windows 10 core, and will be like operating a first-generation Surface from your wrist.

WhatsApp Stories surpasses Snapchat in Daily Users

WhatsApp’s version of Snapchat stories has now hit more than 175 million daily users just a mere three months after its release, according to Facebook. First with Instagram—and now with Whatsapp—the social media company’s attempt to rival (and clone) Snapchat features seems to be working. Last month, Facebook revealed that Instagram’s Stories had accrued more than 200 million active users, which means both Instagram and WhatsApp now have more daily users than Snapchat itself. Snapchat only boasts about 161 million daily users, according to a statement the company released in February. Facebook has faced scrutiny over why it would deploy Snapchat-like features across all of its core products, rather than just Instagram and Facebook. But given the wide popularity of WhatsApp internationally, the features allows Facebook to tap into markets Snapchat has yet to gain a foothold.

Twitter Expands Livestream Services with 12 New Partnerships

Twitter is making big moves to become your go-to place for watching television programs via livestream. Just one day after revealing a collaboration with Bloomberg to stream around-the-clock business news, the social media company announced 11 additional partnerships with video content providers. The new partnerships cover everything from news and sports to music and live entertainment, and will include major television and Internet players such as Buzzfeed, The Verge, Bloomberg and the Player’s Tribune. Twitter first shared its plan to push more livestream content to users during a shareholder’s meeting earlier this year, hoping the move will do more to help the company generate ad-selling opportunities.