Published On: Wed, Dec 16th, 2020

This Week in Apps: Apple’s large event, lidar comes to iPhone, Android gets a new IDE

Welcome behind to This Week in Apps, the TechCrunch array that recaps a latest OS news, a applications they support and a income that flows by it all.

The app attention is as prohibited as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 mins per day regulating apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t only a approach to pass idle hours — they’re a vast business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x aloft than those though a mobile focus.

App stores saw record 204 billion app downloads in 2019, consumer spend of $120 billion

In this series, we assistance we keep adult with a latest news from a star of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

Apple introduces 4 new iPhones (and more)

Apple hosted a iPhone eventuality this week, where it introduced a new iPhone 12… and a iPhone 12 mini, a iPhone 12 Pro and a iPhone 12 Pro Max — effectively plugging all a holes in a market. With a recover of a 4 new iPhones, app developers will have a operation of inclination to build for, from tiny to really vast — a 12 Pro Max, for example, introduces a iPhone’s biggest-ever shade and a tip resolution, during scarcely 3.5M pixels.

It also, of course, includes critical camera improvements, from a redesign of a three-lens complement to including a new deeper telephoto camera, now a 65 mm-equivalent instead of 52 mm, as on prior models. There’s also an softened wide-angle lens, incomparable sensor, a further of sensor-level picture stabilization and a revamped Night Mode. Photographers will conclude a new Apple ProRAW format, as well. (More on that here).

Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro camera upgrades whet concentration on critical photographers

The iPhone 12 mini, meanwhile, aims to offer a patron bottom that prefers a smaller phone, like a iPhone SE, though though sacrificing functionality.

All a inclination share some pivotal features, including 5G connectivity, a new MagSafe connector for wireless charging and snap-on captivating accessories, OLED displays and a A14 chip. They also have a some-more classical look, with true edges that concede for additional antennas, providing next-gen wireless connectivity.

Apple’s iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max: what’s a difference?

One of a bigger differences, however, between a Pro models and a unchanging iPhone 12 is a further of a LiDAR Scanner, that is also found in a latest iPad Pro. The scanner measures how prolonged it takes for light to strech an intent and simulate back. The new depth-sensing record has vast implications for AR, as it allows protracted existence objects to correlate with objects in a genuine world. AR apps will be some-more user-friendly, too, as they won’t need to initial indicate a room to place a AR intent in a genuine world. It can be placed instantly.

Apple is leveraging a sensor for a iPhone 12 Pro camera to offer adult to 6x faster concentration in low-light conditions. Developers, meanwhile, can precedence lidar for use cases like AR-enabled games that work in a genuine world, amicable media (like Snapchat’s new lidar-powered Lens), home pattern and alleviation apps involving room scans, spatial blueprint formulation (like JigSpace), improved AR offered practice and more.

Snapchat among initial to precedence iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR Scanner for AR

The association also announced an affordable chronicle of a HomePod intelligent speaker, a $99 HomePod Mini. The object works best for those entirely sealed inside a Apple universe, as it will tide a handful of song services, though not one of a many renouned — Spotify. However, Apple also introduced a nifty underline for a HomePod devices, Intercom, that lets we send announcements opposite a speakers. While Apple and Google have charity a identical underline for their intelligent speakers, Intercom also works opposite other Apple devices, including iPhone, iPod, AirPods and even CarPlay. (What, no Mac?)

If Apple isn’t too late to constraint intelligent orator marketplace share, a new orator could see some-more users adopting intelligent home inclination they can voice control by a HomePod Mini.

During a event, Apple also subtly snubbed a nose during Epic’s Fortnite with a proclamation that
League of Legends: Wild Rift would be entrance to iPhone 12 to take advantage of a new 5G capabilities and A14 Bionic chip.

Apple reveals a $99 HomePod Mini


  • Lidar comes to iPhone 12 Pro. Developers can now build AR practice that correlate with real-world objects, and AR apps can now now place AR objects in a genuine star though scanning a room. The refurbish will meant a outrageous boost in a usability of AR apps though is singular to a Pro indication of iPhone for now. Snapchat is already regulating it.
  • Apple developers can now make their apps accessible for pre-order even earlier — adult to 180 days before recover on a App Store.
  • Android Studio 4.1 launches. The new, fast chronicle of a IDE for building Android apps introduces improved TensorFlow Lite support and a new database inspector. The group also bound a whopping 2,370 bugs during this recover cycle and sealed 275 open issues.
  • Google introduces a Android for Cars library. The library, now in open beta, gives developers collection to design, rise and exam new navigation, parking or charging apps for Android Auto. The Google Play Store will be enabled for edition beta apps in a “coming months.”
  • Google stops offered music. The association no longer sells marks and albums on a Play Store, changeable all a concentration to YouTube Music. The latter also only launched on Apple Watch this week.

Google updates Android Studio with improved TensorFlow Lite support and a new database inspector


  • Shopping apps forecast. U.S. consumers were approaching to spend 60M hours in Android offered apps during Prime Day week, (which only wrapped) according to one foresee from App Annie.
  • Prime Day downloads grow. Sensor Tower estimates tellurian installs of a Amazon app grew 23% year-over-year, to 684K, as Prime Day neared. Installs on Wednesday were adult 33% to 750K. However, U.S. installs were down by 22% 10/13-10/14. Apptopia remarkable that app sessions, however, were adult 27% year-over-year.
  • Shopping, Food Drink app launches adult some-more than 50% year-over-year. Shopping apps grew 52% while Food Drink apps grew 60%, due to COVID-19 impacts, according to Sensor Tower.
  • Subscriptions. U.S. consumers spend $20.78 per month on app subscriptions, Adjust investigate says.
  • TikTok sale impact on ad industry. 73% of marketers pronounced a TikTok sale in a U.S. would impact their 2021 promotion plans. 41% also believed a understanding could concede Walmart to pass Amazon in e-commerce.
  • Amazon expands AR investigation to a boxes. The tradesman launched a new AR focus that works with QR codes on a company’s shipping boxes to emanate “interactive, shareable” AR experiences, like a pumpkin that comes to life.

Amazon launches an AR app that works with new QR codes on a boxes


  • Robinhood pronounced a “limited number” of a users’ accounts were hacked. The use itself was not hacked, though around 2,000 business had accounts compromised by cybercriminals who initial compromised users’ personal emails outward a trade app.

Other News

  • Zoom’s new events height brings apps to video conferencing calls.
  • Messenger refurbish brings new features, including cross-app communication with Instagram. The app gets fun facilities like discuss themes, tradition reactions and, soon, selfie stickers and disappear mode. But a bigger news is a (potentially anti-competitive) merging of Facebook’s discuss platforms.
  • Life360 leverages TikTok teens’ complaints to start a discourse and invent a new feature, “Bubbles,” that allows teenagers (or anyone) to share a universal plcae instead of an accurate one. The underline gives teenagers a bit some-more leisure to ramble and make choices though so many parental oversight. Parents, meanwhile, can still be certain their teen is OK, as facilities like puncture SOS and pile-up alerts sojourn functional.
  • Must-read: The MacStories iOS and iPadOS 14 Review. Federico Viticci offers a 23-page low dive into a latest chronicle of Apple’s mobile handling system.

Family-tracking app Life360 launches ‘Bubbles,’ a location-sharing underline desirous by teenagers on TikTok

    • Future raises $24M Series B for a $150/mo examination coaching app amid at-home aptness boom. The app pairs users with real-life aptness coaching for personal training during home. The turn was led by Trustbridge Partners with Caffeinated Capital and Series A investors Kleiner Perkins participating.
    • River raises $10.4M for a app charity news, events and other happenings from around a web, trimming from news stories from tip publishers to sports to even important tweets. The app presents a information in a real-time stream, browsed vertically. There’s also a “For You” page, identical to TikTok.
    • Roblox confidentially filed with a SEC to go public. This cross-platform gaming height has boomed during coronavirus lockdowns. According to reports, a inventory could double Robox’s $4B valuation.
    • Robo Adviser Wealthsimple raises $87M. The appropriation for a investing app with comparisons to Robinhood was led by Menlo Park-based Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), valuing a business during $1B.
    • Fitness height Playbook raises $9.3M. The association offers collection for personal trainers who wish to make their possess videos, that consumers afterwards crop in Playbook’s mobile app. Backers embody, Michael Ovitz, Abstract, Algae Ventures, Porsche Ventures and FJ Labs.
    • Live streaming app Moment House raises $1.5M seed. The startup aims to reconstruct live events in a digital format. LA area investors invested, including Scooter Braun, Troy Carter, Kygo’s Palm Tree Crew and Jared Leto. Patreon arch executive Jack Conte and Sequoia Capital partner Jess Lee also participated.
    • Twilio acquires Segment for $3.2B to assistance developers build data-fueled apps.
    • E-learning height Kahoot raises $215M from SoftBank. The Norwegian startup claims to have hosted 1.3 billion “participating players” in a final 12 months. The company’s gamified e-learning height is used both in schools and in craving environments.

Playbook, a aptness height that puts creators first, raises $9.3 million


Mycons is a new app that creates it easier for users, including non-designers, to emanate and buy tradition icons for their iOS home shade makeovers. In a app’s “Icon Studio,” users can emanate icons by swapping out a background, selecting a pitch and fixation it on a idol accordingly. You can also emanate a whole set of icons in a collection export. If we don’t feel like conceptualizing your own, we can opt to squeeze premade packs instead.

The app is a giveaway download with a one-time, in-app squeeze to clear a entirely functionality of a idol designer. The idol packs, that embody opposite variations and relating wallpaper, operation from $7.99-$9.99.

Spotify’s new iOS 14 widget

Image Credits: TechCrunch screenshot of Spotify widget

It’s here! The widget a series of people have waited for given a launch of a new chronicle of iOS has arrived. 

Spotify launches an automatically updating iOS 14 widget

The widget, that arrives in a latest chronicle of a Spotify iOS app, comes in dual sizes. The smaller widget will arrangement only your many recently listened to item, while a medium-sized widget will instead uncover a 5 many new equipment — 4 in a plane quarrel and a many new during a top. In that case, we can indeed daub on a tiny thumbnail for that of a 5 we wish to now tide to be taken directly to that page in a Spotify app. The widget also automatically updates a credentials tone to compare a thumbnail photo.

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