The Week in Mobile: November 5-11, 2017

iPhone X already more popular than iPhone 8, most Apple devices now running iOS 11, Niantic developing Harry Potter AR game 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.

iPhone X Sees Higher Adoption Than iPhone 8 in First Week

Despite lingering rumors of limited availability, the iPhone X has already toppled its sibling the iPhone 8 in consumer adoption. A new report indicates the highly anticipated device nabbed 0.93 percent of the overall market share for iPhones in its first weekend of sales. That may not seem like much, but it is more than the 0.7 share the iPhone 8 garnered in its first weekend. Take these early numbers with a grain of salt, but they may provide some hints about how popular the iPhone X will become.

Meanwhile, as users finally got their hands on the iPhone X last week, Apple has indicated the device may be prone to screen burn-in issues. Burn-in occurs when an image lingers on the display even after the user has navigated to a new screen. In a support document, the company says the device could be affected by “burn-in” and other “visual changes” that have been documented in smartphones featuring OLED displays. Google is facing the same issue with its OLED screens on its Pixel 2 XL smartphone, which is manufactured by LG. Just days after the Pixel 2 XL release, users were reporting instances of screen burn-in. Apple says it was aware of these problems with OLED screens, and has engineered its displays to minimize the effects of this issue.

Majority of Apple Devices Now Run on iOS 11

Apple announced that as of last week, 52 percent of iPhones and iPads have now installed iOS 11. Additionally, 38 percent of devices are still running iOS 10, while about 10 percent are relying on an earlier version of the mobile operating system. Adoption appears to be slightly slower than that of iOS 10 last year, which some have speculated could be related to the later release of the iPhone X in November. Others have noted that iOS 10 also launched with a new set of emojis, whereas iOS 11 didn’t not update its emojis collection until its first major update.

The next update of iOS 11 promises some big changes, especially for developers. In the iOS 11.2 beta 2 release notes, Apple describes a forthcoming option allowing developers to offer discounts on in-app subscriptions. Previously, developers only had two subscription options to extend to users: single-use free trials or full-price subscriptions. Now they will be able to find a middle ground with discounted subscriptions, so long as the user has autopay enabled. Alongside a change to subscription fees last year, the new move continues Apple’s trend of implementing policies that encourage developers to sell fixed subscriptions through the App Store.

And, good news, iOS 11.1.1 is available and fixes the autocorrect “i” issue that was plaguing many users.

Snapchat Promises Major Redesign That Could Feature Algorithmic Feed

Following a quarter of disappointing earnings and stagnant growth, Snapchat is planning for its biggest redesign since launching. Snapchat only added about 4.5 million users of the last three months, and lost nearly $40 million on unsold Spectacles smartglasses. CEO Evan Spiegel admitted the company wrongly anticipated demand for the smartglasses, and also that the Snapchat app might be difficult to understand for new users, which prompted the need for a major update before the end of the year. While Spiegel did not specify exactly what the overhaul will look like, he hinted that the app could adopt an algorithmic feed similar to what we see with Facebook. This is a major departure from Snapchat’s current design philosophy, which has always prioritized chronological ordering of content. Spiegel also said that the app will still open to the camera, and that users can expect to see the changes hit on December 4th.

Apple Pay Cash Now Available with iOS 11.2 Update Preview

Apple’s answer to person-to-person payment apps like Venmo and Square Cash is finally here. Apple Pay Cash did not launch alongside iOS 11 in September, but users can finally test the feature using the latest preview build of the mobile operating system. Rather than build a separate app, Apple has the benefit of incorporating its new payment feature directly into Messages, Siri and the Contacts app. Users will even be able to tap mentions of dollars amount in Messenger to instantly start a new transaction using the debit or credit card associated with their Apple Pay account. Using a credit card will have a 3% surcharge.

The first time someone sends you money, the service will provide you with a virtual Apple Pay Cash card. In order to cash out, you’ll need to be an Apple Pay user, but from there you can either use the funds on the virtual card for Apple purchases or transfer them to your bank account. The feature is now available with iOS 11.2 beta 2, and will likely be pushed out to everyone when the update is officially released in the coming weeks.

Creators of Pokémon Go to Release Harry Potter AR Game

The developers behind the hit mobile game Pokémon Go are said to be building a new augmented reality experience around the magical world of Harry Potter. With the help of Warner Bros., Niantic is creating Harry Potter: Wizards Unite: a new AR-focused game that will let fans of the series play as “aspiring wizards and witches.” In a press release, the two companies said that players will explore neighborhoods and cities to “learn and cast spells, discover mysterious artifacts, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters.” As expected, the experience doesn’t sound all that different from what Niantic released with Pokémon Go last year. While a launch date has yet to be officially announced, reports indicate fans can expect to get their hands on the new game sometime in 2018.

Essential Phone is the Easiest Way to Broadcast 360-Degree Video on Facebook

The Essential Phone can now broadcast live, 360-degree video directly from its camera app thanks to a new software update. Using the company’s Essential 360 Camera and the new patch, users will be able to live stream 360-degree video on Facebook without any additional software. Just snap on the camera accessory using the magnetic port on the back of the phone, which will enable the 360 mode in Essential’s camera app. Users then simply tap to go live, and login to Facebook and allow permissions for the camera to begin streaming. Essential is touting this method as the easiest way to live stream 360-degree video on the social media platform, and it will be interesting to see how many users take advantage as the video mode gains popularity.