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Facebook claims Apple rejected transparency message about its App Store fee – MobileSyrup



Facebook says Apple refused to waive its 30 percent cut of revenue for a new online events feature the company launched to help small businesses during the pandemic. The social media company also claims it tried to offer a transparency notice so users could see where their money would go, but Apple blocked that too.

The news comes amid rising tensions between app developers and Apple over its App Store guidelines and the 30 percent cut the company takes from sales. Apps on the App Store must use Apple’s in-app payment system for purchases and subscriptions handled through the iOS app, which Apple then takes a 30 percent cut of (or for subscriptions, 15 percent after the first year). Apple also uses its App Store rules to block other payment methods, and has been accused of bullying app developers into using the system.

Facebook told Reuters that Apple used an App Store rule that prevents developers from showing “irrelevant” information to users. That likely means App Store guideline 2.3.10, which instructs developers not to “include irrelevant information, including but not limited to information about Apple or the development process.”

Facebook asked Apple to waive the fee, then tried to be transparent with users about where their money went

“Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes. Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30% tax but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience,” Facebook told Reuters in a statement.

Facebook’s tool aimed to help small businesses and online influencers by letting them host paid online events through the social media platform. The events were a way to offset lost revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic. Facebook told Reuters that it asked Apple to waive the 30 percent fee charged for in-app purchases so that it could pass on all event revenue to business owners. Facebook says Apple declined.

Instead, the social network tried to offer a notice in the app that let users know Apple took a cut of the money and it didn’t all go to the event host or business. It says Apple rejected the use of a transparency notice. Reuters reports the message wasn’t present on the new events feature.

Reuters also found that Facebook didn’t display a message in its Android app about Google not collecting the app store fee for online ticket sales.

Facebook joins others in a fight with Apple over App Store guidelines

Facebook’s criticism of Apple over the online events fee comes as the social network claims the upcoming iOS 14 software update from the company will “severely impact” its ability to serve ads. iOS 14 will ask users to opt-in to sharing their Identification for Advertisers (IDFA), which can help advertisers tell if their ads are effective. Facebook uses IDFA as part of Audience Network, an advertising network it offers to developers. On the surface, the gut reaction to this from most people is likely “excellent.” Unfortunately, as with most things, the real impact is more nuanced and important than people realize.

The Verge details the underlying problems with this in an excellent piece you can read here. In short, the change won’t impact Facebook’s ad business, which relies on more valuable data gathered from its apps than the IDFA. Instead, it will impact publishers’ ability to monetize through Audience Network on iOS, dropping revenue by as much as 50 percent.

Although Apple’s change in iOS 14 does improve user privacy, it only does so at the fringe. Plus, Apple conveniently exempts itself from the change by targeting ads at users with data it collects from their phone instead of by using the IDFA.

These two squabbles with Facebook, coupled with the numerous other fights between Apple and app developers reveals the true issues at play. As I’ve said before, none of this is explicitly about the 30 percent cut Apple takes — several other companies take a 30 percent cut as well. When you look at the ongoing legal battle between Fortnite-maker Epic Games and Apple, the recent scuffle between the company and WordPress, the news publishers who sought a deal similar to what Apple gave Amazon, a pattern emerges. Apple appears to use the App Store and its control over iOS to bully developers into doing what it wants and to uphold a monopoly over the platform. There’s also a pattern of applying rules unfairly across different groups. However, the Facebook incidents show that Apple’s policies extend far beyond the walled garden of the App Store — they can have devastating impact on other businesses.

Source: Reuters

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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.

The new side menu, and what happens when you tap on a payment card and the new home screen (in that order).

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.

Via: 9to5Google

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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.

Blood Oxygen

Courtesy of Apple

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.

ECG app

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.”

Hand washing

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

Apple Watch Series 6 Aluminum Red/ Apple

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

Always-on Retina display/ Courtesy of Apple

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.

Better performance

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.

The Apple Watch SE starts at $369 in Canada. As for the Apple Watch Series 6, it starts at $529.

Both are available as of September 18.

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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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