The Week in Mobile: September 2-7, 2018

iOS apps to require privacy policy soon, rumors for next week’s “iPhone XS” announcement, YouTube and Netflix the most throttled apps 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 to Soon Require Every iOS App Have a Privacy Policy

Starting next month, Apple says iOS apps will need to be more transparent about what they do with users’ personal information. The company announced this week that every app (even those in testing) will be required to have a privacy policy as of October 3, 2018. With these policies, developers will need to explain what data their app is collecting, how it is gathered, and the ways it iss being used. They must also spell-out their data retention policies, and explain how users can opt-out or delete their personal data. Apple said current apps lacking a policy will not be removed from the store when the rules go into effect. However, they will need a privacy policy in order to push future updates after that date.

Apple Fixes Frustrating ‘Please Update’ bug in iOS 12 Beta

Apple has now fixed a major bug that left beta testers frustrated with the release of iOS 12 Public Beta 9. The issue first came to light last week, after developers and users began to complain about pop-up messages alerting them to a new iOS update available for download, when in fact, one was not. Users could dismiss the window, but the same alert would appear sporadically (or for some, every time they opened their device). While it’s standard for beta versions of software to contain glitches and bugs, iOS 12 has been notably stable up to this point. Apple has now resolved the issue with the release of Public Beta 10, which is now available for download.

The new iPhones will be called iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

On the heels of Apple’s iPhone announcement event next week, we now know the official name of the company’s new flagship devices. For the first time since 2015, Apple’s new lineup of iPhones will get an “S” update. Put simply, it means the iPhone X will now be upgraded to the iPhone XS. The larger 6.5-inch model will be called the iPhone XS Max — thus breaking a tradition of labeling bigger devices “Plus” (which dates back to 2014). Given the name, it stand to reason the iPhone XS will more of an upgrade, rather than a substantial redesign.

Apple isn’t the only one making it big announcements around smartphones this week, though. Eager to join in on the action, Razer has now announced development of a second generation of the mobile device it released last year. Details were scarce, but the company is expected to continue its heavy focus on mobile gaming and computing. Meanwhile, Samsung teased a foldable smartphone launch slated for later this year. According to a new report, the company plans to announce the device at Samsung’s developer conference in November. The bendable smartphone is said to be in-development under the Galaxy Note lineup.

U.S. Carriers Slowing Mobile Video Apps Following Demise of Net Neutrality

A new study finds that U.S. telecoms have increased the amount of throttling on mobile customers watching video this year. According to the report, video services like Netflix and YouTube have been the most throttled mobile apps since net neutrality was repealed, and new rules went into effect in June. Under the guise of “network management,” U.S. carriers have taken advantage of the change to limit data speeds for customers. This includes a recent controversy in which Verizon was discovered to be throttling data networks for emergency firefighters battling record wildfires in Northern California. In order to protect users and government services alike, the state of California has now passed the nation’s strongest laws around net neutrality.

Instagram is Developing a Standalone App for Shopping

Instagram is looking to stake its claim in the ecommerce world with a standalone app for shopping. The new app (which may be called IG Shopping) is still in development, but would allow users to browse and purchase goods from the brands they follow, directly within the app. Over the past few years, Instagram has been rolling out several shopping features to better compete with ecommerce platforms such as Shopify. Some 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business, so a standalone app would allow these brands to leverage those social followings for additional revenue opportunities. Instagram declined to comment on when — if ever — users might see the standalone app launch.

Is the Next Trend in Mobile Smartphones Slide-out Cameras?

There is a new smartphone trend brewing across the seas, but it isn’t Apple or Samsung leading the charge. Over the last several months, Chinese smartphone makers have been increasing experimentation with slide-out camera mechanisms. Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Huawei may not be huge brands in the U.S. or Europe (right now) but they are the top manufacturers for China’s 1.47 billion population. All of them now offer devices with some sort of slide-out camera function, although the implementation across smartphones are different. Some devices utilize motorized modules, while others rely on manual mechanisms. Ultimately though, slide-out cameras could be a welcome alternative to frequently lamented top-notch smartphone designs — at least until cameras can be completely embedded underneath the screen.