The Week in Mobile: October 18-24, 2015


Apple rolls out its first major iOS 9 update, Facebook launches “Immersive” Ads, The New York Times dives headfirst into virtual reality 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.

Apple Rolls Out First Major Update for iOS 9

Apple released iOS 9.1, the first major update since the 9.0 launch. The new version comes with a number of new features and improvements, including updates to Live Photo and a move to the new emoji standard, as well as compatibility updates for the next generation of Apple TV and the new iPad Pro. iOS 9.1 also patches the two vulnerabilities exploited to create the first public jailbreak for iOS 9 devices.

Just before launching 9.1, Apple updated its App Store Distribution page with information regarding iOS 9’s adoption rate. The company reports that 61 percent of all iOS devices are already running on iOS 9, which represents a slight increase from earlier in the month in which 57 percent of users were running the new OS.

Apple and Google’s Competing Visions Create App-Web Divide

With two very different—yet competing—business models, Apple and Google have created an app-web divide with many publishers caught in the middle, according to New York Times Reporters Katie Benner and Conor Dougherty. Apple is focused on the app experience that helps drive their device sales, while Google favors the mobile web because of the revenue the company receives from web search ads. Meanwhile, publishers (and developers) are left to juggle both worlds in order to cater to users.

While the web is an important tool for content discovery and capturing new readers, apps can better serve and engage loyal followers. Each platform plays a role, however; it appears that apps are winning the battle. According to Goldman Sachs, Americans spend nearly 60 percent of online time in a mobile app with just 9 percent of time on the mobile web. Yet many publishers may be forced to make a choice due to resource limitations. Needless to say, the ongoing skirmishes are being closely watched because of the worry that Apple or Google “…can change on a dime and pull the rug out from under you.”

Facebook Launches “Immersive” Ads

There has been a lot of buzz about Facebook’s recent Instant Articles launch, but that’s not the only content capable of loading inside the social network’s flagship app. The company has also been working on “Immersive” or “Instant” ads. Similar to Instant Articles, the ads are located on Facebook’s mobile feed and open a rich marketing experience immediately after a user taps on the ad. The ads support animations, carousels, product catalogs and tilt-to-view images that would typically require long load times. Ads will be served more quickly and seamlessly to users and will also allow Facebook to keep users engaged for longer periods of time by decreasing opportunities to redirect to another site or app.

The New York Times Dives Head-first into Virtual Reality

The New York Times announced a collaborative virtual reality project with Google in which the publication will send more than one million Google Cardboard VR viewers to subscribers. The give-away will take place just before the release of The New York Times’ first virtual reality film, called “The Displaced.” The movie, about children made refugees by war, will give viewers using Cardboard a 360-degree, real-life perspective. “The Displaced” will be the first in a series of VR films presented by The New York Times. Additionally, the publication plans to release a VR app on November 5.

Twitter’s New CEO Apologizes to Developers for Past Behavior

Twitter’s new CEO, Jack Dorsey, apologized last week for the company’s past behavior toward third-party developers. Several years ago, Twitter made a number of changes to its API, which made development of traditional Twitter client apps much more difficult. Now, the company is looking to make amends and improve communication with developers.


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