Tag: app store

Apple’s App store’s days of glory have passed

It was only a matter of time, but Apple’s App Store is no longer the mobile market leader it once was.

For years Jobs’ Mob has bragged that it has the most apps and makes the most money from its app store making it important that developers make sure their code is represented.  However analytics firm App Annie said that all that is slowing down.

The App Store will fall second to the amount of revenue generated by Android app distributors, predicts. In 2017, the App Store will generate $40 billion in revenue, which is not bad, but is being outclassed by Android app stores run by Google and other parties which will generate $41 billion.

The gap will widen in 2021, with Android app stores generating $78 billion in revenue and Apple’s App Store fall to $60 billion.

The surge in revenue for Android comes from a growing number of consumers in China who are buying Android phones and are willing to pay for apps. In 2021, App Annie expects there to be eight Android smartphone users to every single iPhone user in China.

 

Apple’s App store is the kiss of death for sales

For a long-time, developers have been forced to bend over backwards to satisfy the fruity cargo-cult Apple’s controls so that they can be granted entry to its App store.

While developers admit that Apple is a nightmare to work for, the belief is that they can be sure of getting money back by being involved in the store.

However, developers are starting to question the wisdom of their Apple involvement and are discovering that pulling apps from Apple’s store do them no harm at all.

Techcrunch spoke to Dash creator Bogdan Popescu who thought he was in trouble when Apple pulled his Dash app off of the App Store. In the 100 day period since the move, Dash maintained and even increased revenue and found that its users didn’t care which platform they were using.

More than 84 per cent of the customers simply moved over to the independent app license from the App Store license and Popescu found that he did not have to deal with Apple anymore. He had full control over his business and did not have any App Store installation/updating/purchasing issues.

Paul Kafasis tried something similar. When he pulled his Appl a year ago he found that the 50 per cent of sales which went through the App Store turned into direct sales through his website.

“It appears that nearly everyone who would have purchased Piezo via the Mac App Store opted to purchase directly once that was the only option,” he said.

It appears that the Mac App Store was not driving sales to developers it was driving sales away from our own site, and into the Mac App Store.

Maintaining the app for the app store is costly and much of his revenue went to paying the App Store a commission. Moving to a direct model was much better than trying to obey Apple’s channel rules.

Basically, developers are discovering that having more than one sales channel is also massively important.

Many developers are considering setting up a system where they exist on the App store but charge more for the product. Smarter customer will go to the website where they can get it cheaper, but the lazier types will effectively end up paying Apple’s tax.

Poison app peddled in Apple’s “safe” store

poison-appleApple is proud of the fact it polices its App store more carefully than Eastern Europe managed during the cold war. However it turns out that at least one got over the Berlin Wall.

An app called 开心日常英语 (“Happy Daily English”), which has been offered for download via Apple’s official App Store is offering users in mainland China a way to install modified versions of iOS apps on non-jailbroken devices. The app was available for download in the App Store for over three and a half months, but has now been removed.

What is interesting is that the people who created the app fooled Apple reviewers into allowing potentially malicious apps into the App Store by using an enterprise certificate.

The app was not flagged as potentially dangerous by Apple’s strict code reviewers, most likely because the app was made to look like a simple app for learning English. It only showed its true face only for those located in China.

It was coded in the Lua which allowed developers to update the app remotely and repeatedly without triggering Apple’s app review process.

To be fair the researchers haven’t discovered any actual malicious functionality in the app but given what it does it should never have gotten onto the Apple store. There are more than 50 enterprise signed versions of the app being distributed in the wild through alternative channels.

Dubbed ZergHelper it allows the installation of modified versions of iOS apps, abuses enterprises certificate and personal certificates to sign and distribute apps, asks users to input an Apple ID and uses it to log in to an Apple server to perform operations in background, and offers valid Apple IDs to users who don’t have one or don’t want to user their own.

The programmers used a cut down version of Apple’s iTunes client for Windows to login, purchase and download apps. It also implemented some functionalities of Apple’s Xcode IDE to automatically generate free personal development certificates from Apple’s server to sign apps in the iOS devices.

What this means for Apple is that the attacker has analysed Apple’s proprietary protocols and abused the new developer program introduced eight months ago.”

It has not stolen account information, and collected only some device info for statistical purposes.

ZergHelper’s main functionality is to provide another App Store that includes pirated and cracked iOS apps and games.

Apple finds more malware in its App store

bugAfter lecturing the world about how its autocratic controls protect users from malware, Apple has been forced to pull apps from its app store because of… er… malware.

Jobs’ Mob has admitted that it had removed “a few” applications from its App Store, expressing its concern that the security of some users’ personal data could be compromised in certain circumstances.

The company said the apps threatened users’ security by installing certificates that can expose data to monitoring by third parties. The company did not specify the precise number of apps at issue and its standard defence against any major issue is that “it only effects as small number of users” even when it is most of the user base.

“Apple is deeply committed to protecting customer privacy and security. We are working closely with these developers to quickly get their apps back on the App Store, while ensuring customer privacy and security is not at risk.”

Apps with so-called root certificates route user data to servers where it can be analyzed. That opens the door for network providers to view encrypted traffic, leaving users vulnerable to data breaches.

One of the apps removed was Been Choice, which has attracted attention for its ability to block advertising in apps.

An Apple spokeswoman said the company would release a support page to help users remove the apps in question from their devices.

For years Apple fanboys have mocked Android users because the Google Play store was “full of malware.” They claimed that Apple’s ruthless censorship of apps to suit the needs and desires of the right-wing Bible belt was protecting them from malware.

Apple to crunch Candy Crush

The fruity cargo cult Apple is set to ban popular games like Candy Crush from its iTunes store even though fanboys are starting to spurn the service like a rabid dog.

Revamped policies in the iOS 8 App Store reveal that Candy Crush and other apps that reward you for social sharing could soon be booted.

Apps that provide users incentives for sharing on social networks aren’t the only ones to violate Apple’s latest terms and conditions for developers – those that provide in-game credit for watching videos are also under fire, along with apps that promote other apps.

Already Apple has started rejecting apps including those old games which had been updated. Apple is telling developers that games are violating guidelines around in-game credits for watching videos and promoting apps other than one’s own. Other developers have received rejection notices for using social sharing.

However with the iTunes store use declining, we are surprised Apple is keen to see the death of its App store too.

This sort of app monetisation plan is really popular and Apple’s policies will have a huge effect on developers. Platforms like Tapjoy, which lets you download an app instead of making an in-game payment, will clearly be affected as well.

Jobs’ Mob hopes to clean the App Store of the apps made just to earn cash, but it is clear that legit titles could be squashed. 

Apple sued by Russian Railways

Apple is facing yet another trademark infringement lawsuit, but this time it’s not coming from another tech company, but Russian Railways.

The national railway company alleges that a third-party app sold in the App Store is using its logo and it’s seeking $65,000 in compensation. The app, dubbed Railways Tariff, lets users track cargo delivery and schedules across Russia.

According to Russia Today, the company is “determined” to protect its intellectual property. However, it is unclear exactly why Russian Railways believes it should be compensated, as the app is actually used to help people who use its services and plenty of similar apps display company logos on a regular basis.

However, let’s not forget that Swiss Railways accused Apple of nicking its clock design in iOS 6 last year. The complaint was reportedly settled out of court, with Apple paying the Swiss $21 million for using its Cuckoo clock face.

Apple also settled a lawsuit by a Chinese company last year, and it agreed to pay $60 million for the legal rights to use the iPad trademark in China. This wasn’t exactly a dispute as such, or trademark trolling – the Chinese company just got lucky, since it registered the iPad trademark years before Apple came up with its first tablet. 

Someone at Russian Railways probably thought they could cash in as well, but given the nature of the complaint and the fact that Apple’s legal team is second to none, there’s a good chance that particular individual could get a one way ticket to Siberia instead.

Apple ousted in Amazon Appstore court claim

A court has ruled partly against Apple, finding that Amazon is not guilty of false advertising over the term ‘AppStore’.

Judge Phyllis Hamilton, Oakland, California, allowed Amazon to go for a partial summary judgment. There are other claims that will still go into court, including Apple’s allegations that Amazon was involved in trademark infringement, Reuters reports. 

Apple was furious when Amazon began advertising its own Appstore, which Cupertino declared was its property. The argument was that anything too close to Apple’s “APP STORE” could intentionally mislead people and lure developers to Amazon’s mobile software service rather than its own.

It is just one of many cases the litigious company has launched against its competition since late CEO Steve Jobs insisted that the company would wage “thermonuclear war” on the Android platform.

Amazon previously pointed out that current Apple CEO Tim Cook, as well as Steve Jobs, had both used the term to describe markets on other platforms – suggesting that the term had become generic even for the company’s top brass.

Judge Hamilton has now officially ruled that Amazon using the term ‘Appstore’ is not false advertising.

According to Hamilton, Apple “failed to establish that Amazon made any false statement (express or implied) of fact that actually deceived or had the tendency to deceive a substantial segment of its audience”.

The rest of the dispute will go to the Northern District of California court this August.

Apps cost more on Android

Industry watchers at Canalys have found that the 100 top developers on Android’s Market are charging customers 2.5 times the price of the iPhone’s iOS equivalent.

In its App Interrogator survey, Canalys found that to buy the top 100 Android apps in the US would cost $374.37, or an average of $3.74 per app. By comparison, the top 100 paid for iPhone apps cost $147.00, or $1.47 per app. One reason for this could be that the Android Market caters for a range of devices, including tablets, compared to the iPhone.

Canalys noted that there wasn’t much of a match for apps appearing in both charts. Only 19 in the US could be found in both top 100 lists. When they do appear on both stores, they are priced similarly, unless they’re undergoing an iOS promotion.

Senior analyst Tim Shepherd believes the report proves Android users act differently to iPhone users, which is, in part, to Android appearing “less consumer friendly”.

Apps or games that become a hit on the iPhone do not necessarily break the top spots with Android, the research says. As far as pricing goes, Shepherd thinks Apple has the edge – although its store is “mature”, the App Store is still a “very closely controlled retail environment”, which means companies must compete more to win business. 

“Price competitiveness is crucial in Apple’s store,” Shepherd said, “where the vast majority of top paid apps cost just $0.99, in a way that is not the case in the Android Market.” Games like Monopoly go for $5 on Android but can be bought for as little as $0.99 on Apple devices.

82 of the top 100 paid apps Canalys looked at were priced at just $0.99, however, in-app purchases are making up some of the difference. Shepherd thinks that particular feature also gives Apple developers an advantage, because the ecosystem isn’t as established over on Android.

Employers to hire more Android developers over iOS in 2012

Despite iOS apps getting a boost thanks to the iPhone 4S, Android app development is increasing at such a pace that it’s expected to lead by the end of the year.

While Android-based devices such as the Galaxy S2 are considered to be at least a match for Apple’s hardware, the selection of available apps has been criticised by comparison.  This is certain to change. Job posting website Freelancer.co.uk shows that Google’s operating system is enticing ever more numbers of programmers.

Coming through a relatively slow third quarter, Android jobs shot up by 33 percent to 2,454 by the end of the year.

This is compared to iOS jobs, which increased by 18 percent to reach 3,682.  According to Freelancer’s figures, this means that by the end of this year Android should be roughly neck and neck with iPhone in terms of new app developments. For the iPad, there were also increases with a jump of 22 percent to 1,692.

It seems that Google has been doing its best to catch up with the App Store recently, and has been lending a helping hand to get developers producing apps for the Android Market.  Android currently has around 400,000 apps available, and is clearly doing its utmost to catch up with Apple. Still, Apple’s faithful will argue much of the market is bloatware. But it won’t be forever.

Android’s advantage is in the numbers – with Google keen to have Android running on any device that’s capable, the userbase is enormous. Not to mention the comparably open nature of its platform when put next to Apple’s walled garden of delights.

Other mobile platforms were predictably left way behind. Blackberry app jobs barely moved, with only a two percent increase, while Amazon’s Kindle rose 27 percent though with “insignificant volumes”.  Windows Phone jobs barely shifted.

GetJar's CEO: Apple hasn't a leg to stand on

Apple is using its dominance and endless cash to bully smaller companies into bowing down to its demands, the CEO for GetJar has said.

Speaking to TechEye, Ilja Lars has said that Apple’s threat strategy is because it doesn’t have any legal arguments. However, many smaller players feel they must bow down to  demands from the all incumbent company as they are “afraid of the legal costs associated with protecting themselves.”

His backlash against Jobs’ Mob comes as GetJar found a cease and desist popped through the letter box. As it has with others, Apple is demanding GetJar stops using “app store” for its services. It suggested GetJar should use “mobile download service” or an “application download service” instead.

Apple is currently at war with Amazon over its “Appstore for Android“, however, a judge recently refused to issue an injunction blocking Amazon from using the term, which has led Lars to gather that there is no legal backing behind the threats.

He said GetJar’s not going to take any guff.

 “Apple is employing a threat strategy because it doesn’t have any legal arguments, as formally it does not own the trademark. What’s worse is,” he tells TechEye,  “this strategy works, as smaller players who are afraid of the legal costs associated with protecting themselves blink!”

” It is becoming a terrible common industry practice by the larger players. We are not going to take that.” 

“We are not going to comply with Apple’s request. The court’s ruling on Apple vs Amazon in October on the same issue will establish a precedent, so I doubt Apple will make any move on us before that. And I really hope the court’s ruling will be fair and sensible.

 “I hope that this whole experience provide a lesson in logic for Apple: “App” is a common term, short for application as per Wikipedia’s definition. “Store” is a common term for a place where things are sold. English is not my native language, but from what I know, “app store” will then mean the place that sells apps. Just like a toy store.”

And GetJar has an army ready if Apple goes to war, with its faithful developers demonstrating their support.

“Developers heavily support GetJar. The Facebook page that we launched before the weekend already has 700 fans,” said Lars.

He quoted one supporting comment, which read: “I have an 1980s Acorn Archimedes computer in a cupboard somewhere. On Acorn’s operating system, the equivalent of a “Programs” folder was called… “Apps”. So how Apple can even try to claim ownership of that word in the context of software, or even the phrase “App Store” is beyond me.”

In a public announcement, chief marketing office Patrick Mork at GetJar said that the company had been around “long before Steve and co.” He said that the company is not going “to take it’

“Steve Jobs isn’t our dad,” he said.