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Why Google Play courtroom loss could hurt Apple, too


iPhone owners are pickier about apps than Android users
A bad day in court for Google Play could end up being a loss for the App Store.
Image: Cult of Mac

Epic Games convinced a federal jury that the Google Play store for Android applications is an illegal monopoly. The decision might have wide repercussions.

Apple won its court battle with the game-developer over the same issue, but Google’s loss could nevertheless eventually affect the iOS App Store.

iPhone owners are pickier about apps than Android users


iPhone owners are pickier about apps than Android users
iPhone users have higher standards for third-party software than Android users.
Image: Cult of Mac

Third-party iPhone apps scored significantly lower than their Android counterparts, according to an analysis of user reviews of 4,400 top mobile apps.

This does not necessarily mean that Android offers better third-party software, though. iPhone users simply expect more from their apps.

“The data shows iOS users are more critical of mobile apps than Android users are,” said David Kravets, senior content marketing manager for unitQ, the company that did the research, in an interview with Cult of Mac.

And after going through nearly 122 million reviews, unitQ analysts say there’s “lots of room for improvement” in mobile software.

Google lets Android devs test third-party payment options (unlike Apple)


Google tests third-party payments on Android
Spotify will be first to offer its own billing method.
Image: Google

Google on Thursday confirmed that it will give “a small number of participating developers” the ability to implement third-party payment methods in their Android apps as part of a pilot program called User Choice Billing.

Spotify, first to take advantage of the change, will offer Google Play’s billing system as well as its own. The move puts even more pressure on Apple, which has been fighting hard to block third-party payment systems on iOS.

Yet another bill calls for Apple to allow third-party app payments


2021 App Store Awards
Illinois wants new legislation against Apple and Google.
Image: Apple

Illinois is the latest U.S. state to file a bill that could force Apple and Google to accept third-party payment systems inside apps.

The “Freedom to Subscribe Directly Act,” supported by Hey app developer Basecamp, wants to prohibit both companies from requiring developers to use the App Store and Google Play to sell software and subscriptions.

Epic CEO calls for single App Store for all, says ‘Apple must be stopped’


Epic Games vs. the App Store
Tim Sweeney is not a fan of the App Store.
Photo: Epic Games

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney renewed his attack on the App Store, telling a conference in South Korea that “Apple must be stopped.”

Sweeney, who spoke Tuesday at the Global Conference for Mobile Application Ecosystem Fairness, accused Apple of complying with “oppressive foreign laws.” He also called for “a single store that works with all platforms.”

Fleeceware apps scam $400 million out of unsuspecting users


Fleeceware tricks people into paying enourmous subscription fees.
Don’t get fleeced.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Skitterphoto/Pexels CC

Applications that trick users into paying huge subscription fees raked in over $400 million from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, according to research done by Avast.

The so-called “fleeceware” takes advantage of a weakness in both app stores: deleting an application tied to a subscription doesn’t cancel the subscription.

App Store subscriptions boom in 2020, dwarfing Google Play


App Store image
App Store continues to rake in money.
Photo: James Yarema/Unsplash CC

Subscription apps are thriving right now, and nowhere more so than on iOS. According to a new report from app analytics platform Sensor Tower, worldwide spending on the top 100 subscription apps on the App Store generated $10.3 billion in 2020.

That’s a massive 32% increase from the $7.8 billion spent in 2019. It’s also close to four times what Android apps in the Google Play store pulled in in 2020. (They earned just $2.7 billion.)

App Store pulled in a massive $19 billion in Q3, nearly double Google Play


App Store graphic
The App Store is a massive economic engine in its own right.
Photo: Apple

Despite far fewer installs than the Google Play app store, Apple’s iOS App Store raked in $19 billion to Google’s $10.3 billion in the third quarter of 2020, according to a new report by Sensor Tower.

Overall spending grew 32 percent in the quarter across both platforms. Meanwhile, overall installs increased 23.3 percent to a total of 36.5 billion. These record-breaking numbers likely had a lot to do with the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down large parts of the economy, but caused a spike in interest for developers while people were stuck home.

Korean developers want Apple and Google investigated over app store fees


App Store graphic
Do Apple and Google have too much control over developers?
Photo: Apple

South Korea may be joining the countries scrutinizing tech giants’ ownership of app stores.

Local startups have submitted a petition to the Korea Communications Commission, requesting an investigation into Apple and Google regarding whether the tech giants are violating laws by charging 30% commission on app purchases.

Fortnite offers discounts on in-app purchases made directly to Epic Games [Updated]


Fortnite discounts are here to stay.
The Fortnite Mega Drop brings permanent discounts to in-app purchases. But not for everyone.
Photo: Epic Games

Epic Games launched the Fortnite Mega Drop on Thursday. This offers up to 20% discounts on in-app purchases made on iPhone, iPad or Android, as long as these are direct payments — not ones that go through the App Store or Google Play.

And V-Bucks or real-money purchases made on Mac, PC and other platforms are also discounted by up to 20%.

Update: Apple responded by expelling Fortnite from the App Store.

App Store revenue continues to dwarf Google Play’s in 2020


The App Store was a cash-printing giant in the first half of 2020.
Photo: Apple

Total App Store spending surged to a massive $32.8 billion in the first half of 2020, combining money spent on premium downloads, subscriptions, and in-app purchases, a recent blog post from app analytics firm Sensor Tower suggests.

Not only is that an enormous amount of cash, but it’s also close to double the estimated gross revenue spent in the Google Play store, despite the bigger market share enjoyed by Android. User spending on Google Play reportedly hit $17.3 billion in the first half of the year.

A brand-new Tetris game is already out on iOS


That didn't take long.
Photo: The Tetris Company

A brand-new Tetris game today landed on iOS — just a day after EA confirmed it is retiring its own lineup of Tetris titles.

The game promises to deliver the traditional Tetris gameplay experience millions of fans around the world already know and love. But this is not the Tetris Royale title that was announced last year.

Christmas Day app spending tops $250 million dollars for first time ever


App Store icon
Business is booming for the App Store.
Photo: PhotoAtelier/Flickr

Christmas Day turned out to be one of the biggest moneymaking days ever for Apple and Google as far as app sales go.

SensorTower published its latest report of holiday app sales revealing that overall spending on the App Store and Google Play topped $277 million on Christmas Day. Thanks to consumers who had just been gifted new devices and gift cards, spending rose 11% compared to last year, and games were the biggest winner.

40 million Android users have downloaded Apple Music


Streaming services like Apple Music dominate the US music market
Apple Music is popular across the board.
Photo: Apple

You’d think that most of the subscribers to Apple Music would be firmly locked into the Apple ecosystem. That may be true, but new figures suggest that there are quite a few listeners on Android as well.

Figures shared by Sensor Tower‘s Store Intelligence platform suggest that 40 million Android users have installed the Apple Music app from Google Play. Not only that, but the analytics firm believes that the “current quarter will be the service’s best yet for new users on the platform.”

Apple Music finally adds support for Android tablets


Streaming services like Apple Music dominate the US music market
Streaming services like Apple Music dominate the US music market
Photo: Apple

Apple Music is finally compatible with Android tablets, more than three years after it launched on Android phones. Apple started beta testing the larger interface last month, and now it’s rolling out to everyone in the latest Play Store update.

App Store made almost twice as much as Google Play in 2018


App Store
Apple apps no longer dominate App Store search results.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The App Store raked in almost twice as much revenue as Google Play in 2018, despite significantly fewer downloads.

Google’s marketplace did enjoy a 27.3 percent rise in gross app revenue year-over-year — a larger rise than Apple’s — but iOS remains the most lucrative platform for developers by far.

Fortnite leak confirms Android users’ worst fears


Fortnite Wingman Starter Pack
Yes, you'll need a Samsung to play Fortnite for Android.
Photo: Epic Games

Fortnite Battle Royale will be exclusive to Samsung devices when it finally comes to Android, a new leak has confirmed.

The upcoming Galaxy Note 9 or a second Samsung device will be required to play the game initially. Even if you happen to obtain the Fortnite package for Android, it won’t run on your handset until Samsung’s exclusive deal comes to an end.

It’s not yet clear exactly how long that will last.

Apple App Store revenue almost double that of Google Play


iPhone App Store
Apple's redesign of the App Store with iOS 11 probably helped increase software downloads and revenue.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

In the battle of the mobile software stores, Apple has a huge lead. Consumers spending in the iOS App Store during the first half of this year was almost double that of rival Google Play.

But there’s good news for both companies, as each experienced solid year-over-year growth. 

Movies Anywhere puts your movies everywhere [50 Essential iOS Apps #29]


Movies Anywhere my movies
Movies Anywhere syncs your movies across online services.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Movies AnywhereOwning digital movies used to be a pain in the neck. Movies bought on iTunes were trapped on Apple devices, Google Play movies on Google’s service, and Amazon purchases in Prime Video. At the same time digital copies included with DVD and Blu-rays were often stuck in services like Vudu, Flixter, or UltraViolet. With Movies Anywhere, you can finally sync most of your movies across various services, putting your movies everywhere you want to watch.

Ark: Survival Evolved lands on Android and iOS


Ark: Survival Evolved
Will your survive?
Photo: Studio Wildcard

Ark: Survival Evolved is now available on Android and iOS.

The popular survival game from Studio Wildcard is completely free-to-play and in-app purchases aren’t necessary. The only thing you need to worry about is staying alive in a world dominated by dinosaurs.

Starbucks is beating Apple, Google and Samsung at mobile payments


Apple Pay finally overtakes Starbucks in mobile payments
Starbucks is doing a great job of persuading customers to use its mobile app.
Photo: Nicky Colman/Flickr

Apple and Google may be two of the biggest companies in the tech industry, but they’re both losing to Starbucks when it comes to one important metric.

No, we’re not talking about numbers of coffees made per year, but rather the success of their respective mobile payment services. According to a new report, the Starbucks mobile payments app is currently outperforming Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay to cement its place as the most successful mobile payments app.

Spotify’s new app is a Pandora copycat


Spotify Stations
Stations are coming to Spotify.
Photo: Spotify

Spotify is testing a new tool to up the competition with Apple Music by stealing a key feature from one of the oldest companies in the streaming game: Pandora.

Stations, a new stand-alone app from Spotify, launched on the Google Play Store in Australia this week allowing users to listen to curated stations without any type of manual controls.

App Store and Google Play raked in $60 billion last year


iOS 11
iOS 11 made big changes to the App Store.
Photo: Apple

2017 was a great year to be an app developer, based on new data that show smartphone users spent more money than ever on apps last year.

According to a new report from Sensor Tower, customers spent $58.6 billion on apps and games in 2017 on the App Store and Google Play. And iOS developers took away the most cash.