Celebrating 10 years of Apple’s App Store, Snapchat taps Amazon for camera search utility, blockchain smartphones to debut this fall 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 — all to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.
Apple Debuts the App Store: 10 Years Later
Last week, Apple celebrated the 10th anniversary of the App Store, which revolutionized the app market and laid the groundwork for the mobile experience we have today. But it almost didn’t happen. Originally, Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs was against the idea of running third-party software on the iPhone, and wanted developers to focus on building web-based apps. He eventually changed his mind, and in March of 2008, Apple introduced an iPhone SDK with the early framework for third-party developers to build apps. A couple months later, the App Store debuted with some 500 third-party apps, and in less than a week, the company announced more than 10 million downloads.
Since then, the App Store has undergone dozens changes to make it easier for developers to share their apps with the world. Apple reports that users have now downloaded apps more than 170 billion times, and spent some $130 billion on app-related purchases. There are now more than 2.2 million apps available within the App Store.
Battery Draining Issue and More Bugs Plague iOS 11.4.1 Update
The anniversary celebration for the App Store may be cut short, as Apple must now attend to some serious bugs that creeped-up alongside its latest software update. Users have reported issues of excessive battery drain after updating their iPhone to iOS 11.4.1. The company has yet to comment on what might be the culprit, and Apple’s battery health feature (still in beta) hasn’t shed any light on the issue for users either.
Apple must also address a new security weakness introduced while trying to prevent third-parties from being able to unlock iPhones. The new feature is supposed to render devices immune to third-party software after being locked for an hour, but can be bypassed by plugging a USB device into the Lightning port. The issue is likely just an oversight by Apple, and isn’t the only one in recent memory. No word yet on when the company plans to address the issues.
Snapchat and Amazon Join Forces for Upcoming Camera Search Feature
Snapchat and Amazon are reportedly teaming-up to deliver a visual product search feature. Hidden within the code of Snapchat’s Android app is an unreleased visual search function. Codenamed “Eagle,” this camera tool will allow users to “press and hold to identify an object, song, barcode, and more” by sharing data to Amazon, Shazam and other partners. Once an object or barcode has been scanned, users can then check out all the related results on Amazon. The potential partnership evolves Snapchat’s camera beyond social media into an actual shopping companion, akin to that of Pinterest Lens. Snapchat or Amazon have yet to confirm the feature, or a potential launch date.
Blockchain Smartphones Are Coming this Fall
The race to the the world’s first blockchain smartphone is underway. HTC and (lesser known) Sirin Labs both confirmed last week the release of blockchain-enabled devices in Q3 of this year. The previously leaked Exodus smartphone from HTC claims to be the “world’s first major blockchain phone,” boasting a partnership with CryptoKitties and Bitmark for decentralized apps. Meanwhile, Sirin Labs has announced it’s own blockchain smartphone: the Finney, which is apparently endorsed by football (a.k.a. soccer) superstar Lionel Messi. Details are scarce for both devices, but a decentralized smartphone offering could appeal to the burgeoning cryptocurrency market. Even payment services are now getting some skin the mobile cryptocurrency game, as Opera added an Ethereum wallet to its Android mobile browser last week.
Google Pay Adds Peer-to-Peer Payments and Mobile Ticketing
Earlier this year, Google announced consolidation of its payments tools into the “Google Pay” service. Last week, the company finally made good on some of those promises. Users can now access peer-to-peer payments on Google Pay to pay or request money from family or friends. Formerly, this function was only available through Google Pay Send, which means that app is not likely to be around much longer. Google Pay has also added a new “Passes” tab where users can save mobile tickets, boarding passes and more. Ticketmaster and Southwest are onboard already, with Google announcing that more companies like Eventbrite are set to become available soon. With the move, it’s clear that Google is aiming to make Google Pay the one-stop-shop for payment and mobile wallet services for Android users.