Total Number of App Store Apps Shrank in 2017 Thanks to Apple’s Quality Crackdown

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The number of apps available in the App Store shrank for the first time ever in 2017, according to data shared today by App Store analytics company Appfigures (via TechCrunch).

At the end of 2017, there were 2.1 million iOS apps available in the App Store, compared to 2.2 million apps at the beginning of the year.


Starting in September of 2016, Apple told developers it would be removing old, outdated apps that had not been updated with compatibility for more recent devices or no longer complied with current review guidelines.

Apple also created new App Store guidelines limiting apps created from commercialized templates or app generation services, and officially banned virus scanning apps, plus it cracked down on clone and spam apps, all of which contributed to the company’s App Store cleanup efforts.

Changes in iOS 11 may have had the biggest impact on the available number of apps in the App Store, though. With iOS 11, Apple stopped supporting 32-bit apps, which the company began phasing out in 2013. 32-bit apps do not open on devices running iOS 11, nor can older 32-bit apps be found in the App Store.

Since 2015, Apple has required all apps and app updates to use 64-bit architecture, so apps that became defunct with iOS 11 had not been updated in at least two years.

Appfigures says that the decrease in apps can also be attributed to a dip in the number of new apps submitted by developers in 2017. Just 755,000 new apps were added to the App Store in 2017, down 29 percent from the previous year. This too could be attributed to Apple’s more restrictive App Store policies cutting down on low-quality apps.


While the number of App Store apps has declined due to Apple’s efforts to make sure apps in the App Store are prioritizing quality, Google Play growth has accelerated. In 2017, Google Play reached 3.6 million available apps, a growth of 30 percent. Android developers released 1.5 million new apps in 2017, up 17 percent.

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‘Hitman’ games have brighter future thanks to Warner Bros. deal

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The Hitman game franchise has seen some tumultuous times lately: Square Enix tried to offload its developer, IO Interactive, prompting the studio to buy its independence. While that gave IO more control, it also left the company more vulnerable if s…
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App Store shrank for first time in 2017 thanks to crackdowns on spam, clones and more

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The App Store shrank for the first time in 2017, according to a new report from Appfigures. The report found the App Store lost 5 percent of its total apps over the course of the year, dropping from 2.2 million published iOS apps in the beginning of the year to 2.1 million by year-end.

Google Play, meanwhile, grew in 2017 — it was up 30 percent to more than 3.6 million apps.

Appfigures speculated the changes had to do with a combination of factors, including stricter enforcement of Apple’s review guidelines, along with a technical change requiring app developers to update their apps to the 64-bit architecture.

Apple had also promised back in 2016 that it would clean up its iOS App Store by removing outdated, abandoned apps, including those that no longer met current guidelines or didn’t function as intended. That cleanup may have well stretched into 2017, as app store intelligence firms only started seeing the effects in late 2016. For example, there was a spike in app removals back in October 2016.

Then in 2017, Apple went after clones and spam apps on the App Store. Combined with those apps that weren’t 64-bit compatible and those that hadn’t been downloaded in years, the removals reached into the hundreds of thousands over a 12-month period. Apple later went after template-based apps, too, before dialing back its policies over concerns it was impacting small businesses’ ability to compete on the App Store.

To see the App Store shrink, given these clear-outs, isn’t necessarily surprising. However, Appfigures found that removals of existing apps weren’t the only cause. iOS developers weren’t releasing as many apps as they had during the growth years, it also claims.

Android developers launched 17 percent more apps in 2017 to reach 1.5 million total new releases. But iOS developers launched just 755,00 new apps — a 29 percent drop and the largest drop since 2008.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean developers weren’t creating as many iOS apps — it could mean that Apple’s review team has gotten tougher about how many apps it allows in. Thanks to the spam and clone app crackdown, fewer apps of questionable quality are being approved these days.

In addition, some portion of the new Android app releases during the year were iOS apps being ported to the Google Play platform. More than twice as many apps came to Android in 2017 than Android apps coming to iOS, the report said.

The full report also developed into the numbers of cross-platform apps (450,000 are on both stores), the most popular non-native tools (Cordova and Unity), the rise in native development, the countries shipping the most apps (U.S. followed by China) and the Play Store’s growth.

It can be viewed here.

 

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VR exhibit allows the blind to ‘see’ art thanks to special gloves

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Forget massive headsets. An art exhibit in Prague is helping blind and visually impaired users to touch artwork in virtual reality thanks to special gloves. The Touching Masterpieces exhibit offers visitors a series of 3D models of famous statues to “view” via haptic feedback in the gloves. The exhibit debuted last week at the National Gallery of Prague, where several users were allowed to test it: The project began with the work of Neurodigital Technologies, a Spanish VR startup working in tandem with the Leontinka Foundation for the blind and visually impaired, Geometry Prague, and the National Gallery. Neurodigital began…

This story continues at The Next Web
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Canadian startups are attracting more international workers thanks to Trump’s immigration policies

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U.S. workers are flocking to Canada for other reasons.

More than half of Canadian startups have seen a rise in international tech applicants — most of whom are from the U.S.— since the beginning of 2017, according to a new survey. Some companies even saw international applications quadruple.

Toronto-based tech innovation hub MaRS conducted the survey among 55 high-growth Canadian startups with U.S. exposure and an annual revenue of more than $ 1 million. About 82 percent of companies that saw an increase in international interest had applicants from the U.S., followed by India and China.

These companies cited visa and immigration policies, which have become stricter (PDF) and less certain under Trump, as the main reason for growth in international hires. That means engineers from India and China are flocking to Canada in higher numbers than before. U.S. workers are applying as well but for different reasons, including political uncertainty in the U.S. Canada has also made it easier to work there by enacting a program, Global Skills Strategy visa, that expedites international visas.

Engineers were the most common job for which Canadian startups hired international applicants.

Tech job platform Hired found last year that U.S. tech companies are asking to interview fewer international candidates. It looks as though domestic candidates could soon become scarcer as well.

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Gun deaths could become easier to study thanks to the new spending bill

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now have the government’s permission to resume gun violence research, in writing: the massive omnibus spending bill that President Donald Trump signed today clarifies that a 22-year-old ban on using federal funds to advocate or promote gun control doesn’t actually ban research.

While the bill is a step in the right direction, researchers will only believe that the landscape of gun violence research is actually changing when they see money for it in the CDC’s budget. “It’s not bad news — it’s good news,” says Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University. “But I’m skeptical that it’s going to really turn things around without some money being made…

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Wileyfox back from the brink thanks to STK licensing deal, new phones on the way

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Plucky British OEM Wileyfox has had a bit of a whirlwind three years since it released its first budget devices back in 2015. The phones ran Cyanogen OS, but the startup that made the hardware ultimately didn’t fare much better than the operating system itself, as Wileyfox entered administration last month in a bid to resolve a severe debt crisis. It was unclear if that would signal the end for the company, but apparently not entirely.

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Wileyfox back from the brink thanks to STK licensing deal, new phones on the way was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google’s and Facebook’s share of the U.S. ad market could decline for the first time, thanks to Amazon and Snapchat

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But don’t worry. Digital advertising is still a duopoly.

Google and Facebook — the world’s biggest online ad companies — could see their share of U.S. digital advertising decline for the first time, thanks to slowing growth and competition from the likes of Amazon and Snap.

Google’s share is expected to decline from 38.6 percent last year to 37.2 percent in 2018, according to digital measurement firm eMarketer, while Facebook could shrink slightly from 19.9 to 19.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s ad business is expected to grow to nearly 3 percent of the market in that same period from 2 percent last year, for a total of $ 2.9 billion in ad revenue for 2018. Snap’s share of the ad market is expected to grow from 0.6 percent last year to 1 percent this year. Both Amazon and Snap ad shares are expected to grow through 2020.

Of course, these competitors are still tiny compared with Google and Facebook, whose absolute ad revenue is still growing. Google’s U.S. ad revenue is expected to rise $ 5 billion this year to $ 39.9 billion, while Facebook could rise $ 3 billion this year to $ 21 billion, according to eMarketer. Total U.S. digital ad sales will rise 19 percent this year to $ 107 billion.

Globally, Google has been seeing a decline in its ad share since eMarketer began measuring in 2011. Facebook, however, is still seeing ad share growth worldwide, rising to 17.9 percent of the world’s digital ad market in 2018, up from 17.2 percent last year.


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iPhone Owner Has Their iPhone Locked for 47 Years Thanks to Their Toddler

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One of the security measures installed in iOS is a time-based failsafe, which kicks in when an incorrect passcode is entered. Continue reading
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Vulkan is coming to macOS and iOS, but no thanks to Apple

No, not that Vulcan (note, that’s spelled with a “c”). This one.

Vulkan—the open, cross-platform GPU API from the Khronos Group, the industry body that also develops OpenGL—is available on Windows, Linux, Android, the Nintendo Switch, and cloud systems, but it has one sizeable gap: none of Apple’s platforms support it. macOS has old, and slow, OpenGL drivers, and iOS supports OpenGL ES, the OpenGL subset designed for embedded systems. Apple has thus far shown no interest in offering the modern Vulkan API and instead has pushed its own proprietary API, Metal.

Today, that gap is being substantially filled, with the open source, royalty-free release of MoltenVK—a runtime for macOS and iOS that offers an almost complete subset of the Vulkan API implemented using Metal. Released under the Apache 2 license, MoltenVK will enable developers to build their Vulkan applications for Apple’s platforms, allowing for a single codebase to span Windows, Linux, Android, macOS, iOS, and more.

Valve is an early adopter of MoltenVK. The company has been testing MoltenVK for the macOS version of Dota 2, and indications are extremely promising: the Vulkan-on-Metal version of the game has frame rates as much as 50 percent higher than the version using Apple’s OpenGL stack. Apple’s OpenGL drivers have long been criticized, both for their poor performance and for Apple’s refusal to support the latest versions of the specification. The Dota 2 experience suggests that developers can reap big dividends by bypassing them.

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apple – Ars Technica