Published On: Sun, Jun 20th, 2021

This Week in Apps: WWDC 21 highlights, Instagram Creator Week recap, Android 12 beta 2 arrives

Welcome behind to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps a latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and a altogether app economy.

The app attention continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in tellurian consumer spend in 2020. Consumers final year also spent 3.5 trillion mins regulating apps on Android inclination alone. And in a U.S., app use surged forward of a time spent examination live TV. Currently, a normal American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, though now spends 4 hours per day on their mobile devices.

Apps aren’t usually a approach to pass idle hours — they’re also a large business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x aloft than those though a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in collateral into mobile companies — a figure that’s adult 27% year-over-year.

This week, a array will take a dive into a pivotal announcements impacting app developers from WWDC 21.

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Image Credits: Apple

Apple’s WWDC went practical again this year, though it didn’t delayed down a gait of announcements. This week, Apple introduced a line-up of new developer collection and frameworks, changes to iOS that will impact how consumers use their inclination and new manners for edition on a App Store, among other things. We don’t have a bandwidth to puncture into any dev refurbish — and truly, there are improved places to learn about, say, a new concurrency capabilities of Swift 5.5 or what’s new with SwiftUI.

But after a few days of estimate all new, here’s what’s jumping out as a bigger takeaways and updates.

Xcode Cloud

Apple’s growth IDE, Xcode 13, now includes Xcode Cloud, a built-in continual formation and smoothness use hosted on Apple’s cloud infrastructure. Apple says a service, birthed out of a 2018 Buddybuild acquisition, will assistance to speed adult a gait of growth by mixing cloud-based collection for building apps along with collection to run programmed tests in parallel, broach apps to testers around TestFlight and perspective tester feedback by a web-based App Store Connect dashboard. Beyond a evident improvements to a growth routine (which developers are impossibly vehement about formed on #WWDC21 tweets) Xcode Cloud represents a large step by Apple serve into a cloud services space, where Amazon (AWS), Google and Microsoft have dominated. While Xcode Cloud competence not reinstate solutions designed for incomparable teams with some-more opposite needs, it’s staid to make app growth easier — and broach a new income tide to Apple. If usually Apple had announced a pricing! 

Swift Playgrounds 4

Image Credits: Apple

Swift Playgrounds got a important refurbish in iPadOS 15, as it will now concede developers to build iPhone and iPad apps right on their iPad and contention them to a App Store. In Swift Playgrounds 4, entrance after this year, Apple says developers will be means to emanate a visible pattern of an app regulating SwiftUI, see a live preview of their app’s formula while building and can run their apps full-screen to exam them out. App projects can also be non-stop and edited with presumably Swift Playgrounds or Xcode.

While it’s not a Xcode on iPad complement some developers have been requesting, it will make app building some-more permitted since of iPad’s revoke cost indicate compared with Mac. It could also inspire some-more people to try app development, as Swift Playgrounds helps tyro coders learn a basis afterwards pierce adult to some-more serious lessons over time. Now, they can indeed build genuine apps and strike a tell button, too.

App Store

Antitrust vigour swirling around Apple has contributed to a flourishing view among some developers that Apple doesn’t do adequate to assistance them grow their businesses — and therefore, is undeserving of a 15%-30% cut of a revenues a developers themselves worked to gain. The new App Store updates competence start to chip divided during that perception.

Soon, developers will be means to emanate adult to 35 tradition product pages targeted toward opposite users, any with their singular URL for pity and analytics for measuring performance. The pages can embody opposite preview videos, screenshots and text.

Image Credits: Apple

Apple will also concede developers to separate trade between 3 treatments of a app’s default page to magnitude that ones cgange best, afterwards name a commission of a App Store assembly that will see one of a 3 treatments.

Meanwhile, a App Store will start to uncover to business in-app events holding place inside developers’ apps — like diversion competitions, aptness challenges, film premieres and some-more — effectively pulling trade to apps and re-engaging users. Combined, Apple is creation a box that a App Store can expostulate find over usually charity an app inventory page.

Apple to deliver A/B contrast and in-app events to a App Store

Beyond a App Store product itself, Apple overhauled a App Store policies to residence a flourishing problem of rascal apps. The changes give Apple accede to moment down on scammers by stealing offenders from a Developer Program. The new discipline also concede developers to news spam directly to Apple, instead of, we know, relying on tweets and press.

Apple has historically downplayed a rascal problem. It remarkable how a App Store stopped over $1.5 billion in feign exchange in 2020, for example. Even if it’s a tiny commission of a App Store, rascal apps with feign ratings not usually can lie users out of millions of dollars, they revoke consumer trust in a App Store and Apple itself, that has longer-term consequences for a ecosystem health. What’s unclear, however, is since Apple is clearly perplexing to solve a App Review issues regulating forms — to news rascal (and now, to interest rulings, too) when it’s apropos apparent that Apple needs a some-more systematic approach of gripping tabs on a app ecosystem over a initial examination process.

Apple’s new App Store Guidelines aim to moment down on rascal and scams

Notifications overhaul

The App Store find updates mentioned above also matter some-more since developers competence need to revoke their faith on notifications to send users behind into their apps. Indeed, iOS 15 users will be means to name that apps they don’t need to hear from right divided — these will be dull adult into a new Notification Summary that arrives on a news they configure, where Siri comprehension helps establish that apps get a tip spot. If an app was already struggling to re-engage users by pull notifications, removing relegated to a finish of a outline is not going to assistance matters.

And users can “Send to Summary” right from a Lock Screen presentation itself in further to a existent options to “Deliver Quietly” or be incited off. That  means any mistimed pull could be an app developer’s last.

Image Credits: Apple

Meanwhile, a crafty new “Focus” modes let iOS users configure opposite still modes for work, play, sleeping and more, any with their possess set of manners and even their possess home screens. But creation this work opposite a app ecosystem will need developer adoption of 4 “interruption levels,” trimming from pacifist to critical. A new partial of a fav uncover should be a “passive” notification, for example. “Active” is a default environment — that doesn’t get to mangle into Focus. “Time sensitive” notifications should be indifferent for alerting to some-more obligatory matters, like a smoothness that’s arrived on your doorstep or an comment confidence update. These competence be means to mangle by Focus, if allowed.

Image Credits: Apple

“Critical” notifications would be indifferent for emergencies, like serious continue alerts or internal reserve updates. While there is a possibility developers competence abuse a new complement to get their warning through, they risk users silencing their notifications wholly or deletion a app. Focus mode users will be energy users and some-more technically savvy, so they’ll know that an erring presentation here was a choice and not a mistake on a developer’s part.

Image Credits: Apple

Augmented Reality

Apple has been usually pulling out some-more collection for building protracted existence apps, though this WWDC it usually introduced a outrageous refurbish that will make it easier for developers removing started with AR. With a launch of RealityKit 2, Apple’s new Object Capture API will concede developers to emanate 3D models in mins regulating usually an iPhone or iPad (or a DSLR or worker if they choose).

Apple’s RealityKit 2 allows developers to emanate 3D models for AR regulating iPhone photos

Explains Apple this will residence one of a many formidable collection of creation good AR apps, that was a routine of formulating 3D models. Before, this could take hours and cost thousands of dollars — now, developers with usually an iPhone and Mac can participate. The impacts of this refurbish will be seen in a months and years ahead, as developers adopt a new collection for things like AR shopping, games and other AR practice — including ones we competence not have seen yet, though are enabled by some-more permitted AR record collection and frameworks.


This refurbish is astonishing and interesting, notwithstanding blank what would have been an ideal launch window: mid-pandemic behind in 2020. With SharePlay, developers can move their apps into what Apple is pursuit “Group Activities” — or common practice that take place right inside FaceTime.

If we were co-watching Hulu with friends during a pandemic, we get a idea. But Apple isn’t tacking on some co-viewing complement here. Instead, it’s introducing new APIs that let users listen to music, tide video or shade share with friends, in a approach that feels organic to FaceTime. There was a spirit of apportionment a locked-down COVID-19 pestilence throng with this update, as Apple talks about creation people feel as if they’re “in a same room” — a curtsy to those many months where that was not possible. And that competence have desirous a changes, to be sure. Similarly, FaceTime’s support for Android and scheduled calls — a transparent box of Zoom enviousness — feels like a box of personification catch-up on Apple’s part.

Image Credits: Apple

The evident direct for these sorts of practice competence be dulled by a race that’s starting to redeem from a pestilence — people are now going out and saying others in chairman again interjection to vaccines. But a ability to use apps while FaceTime’ing has a lifespan that extends over a COVID era, quite among iPhone’s youngest users. The demographic flourishing adult with smartphones during ever-younger ages don’t place phone calls — they content and FaceTime. Some disagree Gen Z even prefers a latter.

Image Credits: Apple

With a evident support for Apple services like Apple Music and Apple TV+, SharePlay will strike a belligerent regulating — though it will usually wholly comprehend a prophesy with developer adoption. But such a complement seems presumably usually since of Apple’s parsimonious control over a platform. It also gives a default iOS app a large advantage over third-parties.

Here’s all Apple announced during a WWDC 2021 keynote


There were, of course, hundreds of updates announced this week, like Spatial audio, Focus modes, AirPods updates, iPadOS improvements (widgets! multi-tasking), Health updates, iCloud+ with Private Relay, watchOS improvements, Spotlight’s upgrade, macOS 12 Monterey (with Continuity with Universal Control), HomePod updates, StoreKit 2, Screen Time APIs, ShazamKit, App Clips improvements, Photos improvements and others.

Many, however, were iterative updates — like a improved chronicle Apple Maps, for example, or Siri support for third-party devices. Others are Apple’s try to locate adult with competitors, like a Google Lens-like “Live Text” refurbish for holding movement on things snapped in your photos. The some-more poignant changes, however, aren’t nonetheless here — like a devise to supplement Driver’s Licenses to Wallet and a devise to change to passwordless authentication systems. These will change how we use inclination for years to come.

Platforms: Google

✨ Not to be outdone by WWDC (ha), Google this week launched Android 12, beta 2. This recover brings some-more of a new facilities and pattern changes to users that weren’t nonetheless permitted in a initial beta that debuted during Google I/O. This includes a new remoteness dashboard; a further of a mic and camera indicators that uncover when an app is regulating those features; an denote when an app is reading from a clipboard; and a new row that creates it easier to switch between internet providers or Wi-Fi networks.

Google also this week expelled a subsequent Pixel underline drop that brought new camera and print features, remoteness features, Google Assistant improvements and more. Highlights enclosed a approach to emanate stargazing videos, a automobile pile-up display underline and a approach to answer or reject calls hands-free.


Pinterest wants to get some-more users clicking “buy.” The organisation this week combined a new Shopping List underline that automatically organizes your saved Product Pins for easier access.

Augmented Reality

Google forsaken a AR-based app Measure, that had authorised users to magnitude things in a genuine universe regulating a phone’s camera. The app had seen some fortitude and correctness issues in a past.


Facebook’s Messenger app combined Venmo-like QR codes for person-to-person payments inside a app in a U.S. Users can indicate a codes to send or ask a payment, even if they’re not Facebook friends with a other party. Payments are sent over Facebook Pay, that is corroborated by a users’ credit card, withdraw label or a PayPal account.

Downloads of fintech apps are adult 132% globally YoY according to an AppsFlyer selling report.

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey pronounced Square is meditative about adding a bitcoin hardware wallet to a product lineup. The exec minute some of a meditative behind a devise in a Twitter thread.

✨ Social: Creator Week recap

Instagram conduct Adam Mosseri pronounced Facebook will assistance creators get around Apple’s 30% cut. While any exchange that take place in iOS will follow Apple’s rules, Mosseri pronounced Facebook will demeanour for other ways to assistance creators make a vital where they don’t have to give adult a apportionment of their income — like by joining brands and creators offline or associate deals.

Related to this, Instagram announced during a Creator Week eventuality it will start contrast a local associate apparatus that will concede creators to suggest products and afterwards acquire commissions on those sales. Creators can also now couple their merch shops to personal profiles instead of usually business profiles, and by year-end, will be means to partner on merch and drops with companies like Bravado/UMG, Fanjoy, Represent and Spring.

Image Credits: Instagram

Instagram also rolled out a new “badge” for live videos that lets viewers tip creators, identical to Facebook’s Stars. Facebook also pronounced paid online events, fan subscriptions, badges and a arriving news products will sojourn giveaway by 2023. And it rolled out new facilities and hurdles to assistance creators acquire additional payouts for attack certain milestones.

Finally, Instagram in a blog post explained how a algorithm works. The post sum how a app decides what to uncover users first, since some posts get some-more views than others, how Explore works and other topics.


Giphy’s Clips (GIFs with sound) are now permitted in a Giphy iMessage app, instead of usually on a web and in a iOS app. That means we can send the…uh, videos (??)…right from your keyboard.


Image Credits: Tinder

Match-owned dating app Tinder combined a approach for users to retard contacts. The underline requires users extend a app accede to entrance a phone’s contacts database, that is a bit privacy-invasive. But afterwards users can go by their contacts and check those they wish to retard on Tinder. The advantage is this would concede people to retard exes and abusers. But on a downside, it permits intrigue as users can retard partners and those who competence see them and news back.

Streaming Entertainment

YouTube will concede creators to repurpose audio from existent YouTube videos as a “Shorts” product — basically, a TikTok aspirant — rolls out to some-more tellurian markets.


Google’s cross-platform cloud gaming use Google Stadia is entrance to Chromecast with Google TV and Android TV starting on Jun 23.

Roblox is generating estimated income of $3.01 million daily on iPhone, according to information from Finbold. Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Pokémon GO and others follow. Good thing if they have to compensate adult over that song use lawsuit.

Image Credits: Finbold


Apple-owned continue app Dark Sky, whose record usually powered a large iOS 15 revamp of Apple’s batch continue app, is not shutting down usually yet. The organisation announced a iOS app, web app and API will sojourn online by a finish of 2022, instead of 2021 as planned.


Microsoft’s Outlook email app for iOS now lets we use your voice to write emails and news meetings. The underline leverages Cortana, and follows a launch of a Play My Emails underline inside Outlook Mobile.

Government Policy

President Biden revoked and transposed Trump’s actions that had targeted Chinese apps, like TikTok and WeChat. The boss sealed a new executive sequence that requires a Commerce Dept. to examination apps with ties to “foreign adversaries” that competence poise inhabitant confidence risks. Trump had formerly attempted to anathema a apps outright, though his sequence was blocked by sovereign courts.

Google has concluded to uncover some-more mobile hunt apps for users to name from on new Android phones following feedback from a European Commission. The organisation had been display a choice shade where app providers bid opposite any other for a slot, and compensate usually if users download apps. DuckDuckGo and others complained a resolution has not been working.

Security Privacy

Security flaws were found in Samsung’s batch mobile apps impacting some Galaxy devices. One could have authorised for information burglary by a Secure Folder app. Samsung Knox confidence program could have been used to implement antagonistic apps. And a bug in Samsung Dex could have scraped information from notifications. There are no indications users were impacted and a flaws were fixed.

An App Store research published by The Washington Post claims scarcely 2% of a tip grossing apps on one day were rascal apps, that cost people $48 million. They enclosed several VPN apps that told users their iPhones were putrescent with viruses, a QR formula reader that duped business into a subscription for functionality that comes with an iPhone, and apps that fake to be from big-name brands, like Amazon and Samsung.

Multiple apps were private from a Chinese app store for violating information collection rules, Reuters reported. The apps hailed from Sogou, iFlytek and others, and enclosed practical keyboards.

💰 Mexican payments app Clip lifted $250 million from SoftBank’s Latin American Fund and Viking Global Investors, valuing a business during $2 billion. The app offers a Square-like credit label reader device and others, and has begun to offer money advances to clients.

🤝 Shopify acqui-hires a group from a protracted existence home pattern app Primer. The app, that will be tighten down, had authorised users to daydream what tile, wallpaper or paint will demeanour like on surfaces inside their home.

💰 Singapore-based corporate services “super app” Osome lifted $16 million in Series A funding. The app offers online accounting and other business services for SMBs. Investors embody Target Global, AltaIR Capital, Phystech Ventures, S16VC and VC Peng T. Ong.

📈  Chinese grocery smoothness app Dingdong Maicai, corroborated by Sequoia and Tiger Global, has filed for a U.S. IPO. To date, a organisation has lifted $1 billion.

💰 San Francisco-based MaintainX lifted $39 million in Series B appropriation led by Bessemer Venture Partners for a mobile-first height for industrial and frontline workers to assistance lane maintenance, reserve and operations.

💰 Berlin’s Ada Health lifted $90 million in Series B appropriation in a spin led by Leaps by Bayer, a impact investment arm of Bayer AG. The app lets users guard their symptoms and lane their health and clinical data.

💰 Photo app Dispo reliable a formerly leaked Series A funding, that progressing reports had pegged as being around $20 million. The app had been rebranded from David’s Disposable and forsaken a organisation with YouTuber David Dobrik, following passionate attack allegations per a member of a Vlog Squad. Spark Capital severed ties with Dispo as a result. Seven Seven Six and Unshackled Ventures remained listed as investors, per Dispo’s press release, though a organisation didn’t endorse a distance of a round.

💰 Brazilian fintech Nubank lifted a $750 million extension to a Series G (which was $400 million final year) led by Berkshire Hathaway. The organisation offers a digital bank comment permitted from an app, withdraw card, payments, loans, word and more. The appropriation brings a organisation to a $1.15 billion valuation.

💰 Seattle-based education app Kadama lifted $1.7 million in seed funding led by Grishin Robotics. The app, that charity an online education marketplace directed during Gen Z, rode a remote training call to No. 2 in a Education difficulty on a App Store.

📈  Mark Cuban-based banking app Dave, that helps Americans build financial stability, is formulation to go open around a SPAC launched by Chicago-based Victory Park Capital called VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings III. It also includes a $210 million private investment from Tiger Global Management.

🤝  Mobile diversion publisher Voodoo acquired Tel Aviv-based selling automation height Bidshake for an undisclosed sum. Launched in Jan 2020, Bidshake combines information assembly and analytics with debate and artistic management. It will continue to work independently.

Turntable —

Image Credits: on iPhone/Brian Heater

Newly launched song amicable network is a opposition that lets we probably hang out with friends while listening to music. To be clear, a app is not a same as, that tighten down in 2013 though afterwards returned during a pestilence as people looked to bond online. While that Turntable was rebirthed by a owner Billy Chasen, Turntable – hails from early employee, now CEO Joseph Perla. But as live events are entrance back, a doubt now competence be not that Turntable app to choose, though either a knowledge has missed a scold launch window…again.




The art app SketchAR formerly offering artists collection to pull with AR, spin photos into AR, emanate AR masks for Snapchat, play games and more. With a latest update, artists can now spin their work into NFTs directly inside a app and sell it. The app, now used by scarcely 500,000 users, will name a “Creator of a Week” to NFT on OpenSea. Others can emanate and auction their art as NFTs on-demand.

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