By Douglas Busvine
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s antitrust watchdog is following closely a legal row over Apple’s App Store payment terms, saying on Wednesday it could in principle open a national inquiry.
Apple dropped Epic Games after a dispute in which the ‘Fortnite’ creator alleged that the iPhone maker’s in-app payment terms constitute a monopoly.
“This has most certainly attracted our interest,” said Andreas Mundt, head of the Federal Cartel Office. “We are at the beginning, but we are looking at this very closely.”
Apple, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, ditched Epic after it implemented a feature to let iPhone users make in-app purchases directly, rather than with Apple’s system, which charges a 30% fee.
Mundt told an online briefing that Apple’s App Store and the Play Store that serves smartphones running on Google’s Android operating system represented an “interesting habitat because they are the only two worldwide”.
Although the Bonn-based authority does have the power to impose fines, it typically undertakes administrative probes into big technology firms to establish whether they are abusing their market dominance and then seeks a change in the way they work.
It reached an agreement last year with Amazon after investigating terms for merchants using the e-commerce platform. Facebook is appealing an order to curb its collection of user data.
Competition regulation in the European Union is handled both by its Brussels-based Commission, which is examining a complaint brought by streaming service Spotify against Apple, and in parallel at national level.
A new investigation, sparked by complaints that Amazon had prioritised some shipments early in the coronavirus pandemic, should be completed “quite quickly”, Mundt said.
The main focus was now on whether Amazon is operating a system of price control and rates merchants based on pricing, he said. Amazon says merchants set their own prices and its systems are designed to act against price gouging.
(The story corrects Facebook context in 7th paragraph)
(Editing by Alexander Smith)
Minor Google Pay app redesign rolling out now – MobileSyrup
Google has launched a minor redesign of the Google Pay app that’s a step backwards compared to other recently updated Google apps.
The new design stashes all the sections in a side menu, which is odd since apps like Google Photos recently moved towards displaying everything in a bottom bar to get rid of the side menu. The old version of Google Pay, which you can look at here, used the bottom bar method effectively, so it’s unclear why Google choose to change it.
For the most part, the new design is pretty non-offensive. It combines your passes and loyalty cards like PC Optimum or insurance cards with your selected payment method on the main screen. While this might make this feature a little more convenient, it’s still not a good update.
With the new Android 11 power menu that surfaces your contactless payment card options, you already have quick access to your credit and debit cards. Not to mention, it would make more sense for this menu to show your loyalty cards as well so they could easily get scanned at checkout. It’s just weird that Google decided to update the app with all these functions when it’s put so much work into Android 11 to make it, so users don’t need to open the actual Google Pay app often.
This new update puts the Google Pay app more or less on par with Apple’s Wallet app, but without the quick access shortcut that the Cupertino tech giant has in the iOS Control Center. That said, you could argue that the ‘View All’ option buried within a three-dot menu in the new power button menu is this shortcut on Android. However, the fact that it’s hidden in a menu makes it a little more of a hassle than a floating action button styled button.
In the end, I don’t have anything against the new main screen layout, but I don’t understand why Google didn’t leave the bottom bar with some of the more complex options.
Here's what to check out on the new Apple Watch 6 | Venture – Daily Hive
Apple officially unveiled its latest products and software this week, and it included the new Apple Watch 6.
While those looking for the new iPhone announcement may have to wait a little longer, for now, the watch offers new features and designs for Apple fans.
But Apple didn’t just introduce one watch, but two. Besides the Apple Watch Series 6, described as the most advanced watch we’ve ever built and adds breakthrough wellness technology,” the new Apple Watch SE was also announced.
It is the tech company’s first-time user-friendly option, available at a lower cost than the Series 6.
With the big release day upon us, here’s what to check out on the Apple Watch Series 6.
First things first, probably the most exciting portion of Tuesday’s unveiling was the Blood Oxygen app on the watch. While wearing the Apple Watch, the user simply has to hold their wrist flat and still, with the display facing up. Within 15 seconds, your oxygen saturation is measured, and this — according to Apple — indicates how well your lugs and circulatory system are delivering oxygenated blood to your body. But note, the app does say “Blood Oxygen measurements are not intended for medical use.”
And in case you’re wondering, most people have a 95-100% blood oxygen level.
The EGC app is only available on the Apple Watch Series 6, and generates an electrocardiogram, or ECG, right on your wrist. What the app does is it records the timing and strength of the electric signals that make heart beats, and it does it in 30 seconds. You can see the process as it takes place, then the app will indicate of your heart is beating in a normal pattern.
Like the Blood Oxygen app, note that Apple says the watch “cannot check for signs of a heart attack.”
Yes, this is a thing, because it’s the COVID-19 era.
The new Apple Watch as a built-in sensor that can tell when you’ve started washing your hands. If the notifications and timer are activated, it will start a 20-second timer, which is health officials’ recommended time to spend on washing your hands.
You can also set a reminder to wash your hands when you get home.
Also very applicable to the COVID-19 era, and beyond, is the new Sleep function on watchOS 7. Built in the watch, this allows you to track your sleep, set your goals, and alarms, all on your wrist. The alarm function buzzes lightly before gently waking you up, and as you sleep, the watch display is dimmed.
New colours and bands
For those looking to personalize their watches, Apple has released new colours including Blue and (PRODUCT)RED Aluminum, as well as Graphite and Gold
Stainless Steel. Besides the watch itself, there is a new band in town… literally.
The “Solo Loop” bands were introduced this week, and you need to check this out if you are using the claspy ones. The “Solo Loop” is a smooth, super comfortable watch that stretches to fit the wrist, and it comes in nine different sizes.
Always-On Retina display
Compared to the Series 5 watch, the new Always-on Retina display is 2.5 times brighter when your wrist is down, which also helps to see while outside on a sunny day, for example.
According to Apple, the new S6 System-in-Package (SiP) is their most powerful one yet, and for those who have had other watches it shows. The new Series 6 is up to 20% faster than the Series 5.
As for what else is coming this year, Apple has announced Fitness+, which will be available late 2020. They say it’s an experience built around the Apple Watch, and will offer workouts to help users stay active.
As well, Family Setup will be available, which will allow an adult to pair their watch with their child’s.
Both are available as of September 18.
Are high churn rates depressing earnings for app developers? – TechCrunch
Improve your retention rates, but don’t do it for the 85/15 split
Ever since Apple opened up subscription monetization to more apps in 2016 — and enticed developers with an 85/15 split on revenue from customers that remain subscribed for more than a year — subscription monetization and retention has felt like the Holy Grail for app developers. So much so that Google quickly followed suit in what appeared to be an example of healthy competition for developers in the mobile OS duopoly.
But how does that split actually work out for most apps? Turns out, the 85/15 split — which Apple is keen to mention anytime developers complain about the App Store rev share — doesn’t have a meaningful impact for most developers. Because churn.
No matter how great an app is, subscribers are going to churn. Sometimes it’s because of a credit card expiring or some other billing issue. And sometimes it’s more of a pause, and the user comes back after a few months. But the majority of churn comes from subscribers who, for whatever reason, decide that the app just isn’t worth paying for anymore. If a subscriber churns before the one-year mark, the developer never sees that 85% split. And even if the user resubscribes, Apple and Google reset the clock if a subscription has lapsed for more than 60 days. Rather convenient… for Apple and Google.
Top mobile apps like Netflix and Spotify report churn rates in the low single digits, but they are the outliers. According to our data, the median churn rate for subscription apps is around 13% for monthly subscriptions and around 50% for annual. Monthly subscription churn is generally a bit higher in the first few months, then it tapers off. But an average churn of 13% leaves just 20% of subscribers crossing that magical 85/15 threshold.
In practice, what this means is that, for all the hype around the 85/15 split, very few developers are going to see a meaningful increase in revenue:
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