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The Week in Mobile: July 10-16, 2016

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iPhone 7 rumor frenzy, Apple to film reality TV show, Amazon announces increased accuracy for Alexa and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

iPhone 7 Rumor Mill in Full Swing

With WWDC behind us and the introduction of the iPhone 7 on the horizon, there are a number of rumors circulating about what the next generation of the iPhone will look like and what new features are in store. The official announcement is expected to come sometime in September, but until then, here’s a roundup of recent rumors:

  • Force Touch Home Button – Several reports suggest Apple is working on a new home button with force touch capabilities. The button is expected to be flush with the screen and operate by touch rather than click.
  • No Headphone Jack – Apple may ditch the headphone jack in favor of bluetooth and lightning-connected headphones. With reports of an iPhone 7 case with no slot for a headphone jack, it’s possible there’s some truth to this rumor.
  • Waterproof Design – Rumor has it the iPhone 7 will be waterproof (and not just kind of waterproof like the iPhone 6).
  • Better Battery Life – Recent leaks suggest that the iPhone 7 will feature a 14.2 percent larger battery than the iPhone 6. It’s still unclear what’s in store for the iPhone 7 Plus.

Apple to Film New Developer Reality Show

Apple announced the “inaugural season” of its first reality TV show, ‘Planet of the Apps’, which will follow developers as they build apps, seek funding and begin distribution. Apple is in the process of casting for the show, and will be accepting developer applications and video submissions until August 26. The show is set to film late this year and is expected to air sometime in 2017. All developers featured on the show must be Apple developers, who will receive advice and guidance from tech experts throughout the season. The show should provide interesting insight into the challenges and victories developers encounter throughout the development process.

Amazon Announces Increased Accuracy for Alexa

During last week’s MobileBeat conference in San Francisco, Amazon announced increased accuracy for Alexa, with the error rate for goal completion decreasing by a factor of two. That’s especially good news for Amazon Echo users, who can now tap into Alexa’s more than 1,500 skills — up from 1,400 at the end of June. Competing companies like Apple and Google have made similar announcements in the past few years. And for good reason. According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Mobile Trends Report, when speech recognition reaches 99 percent accuracy, adoption will skyrocket.

Pizza Hut Launches Chatbot for Messenger

Pizza Hut is upping its mobile ordering game with a Facebook Messenger chatbot, which will launch this fall. Users will be able to “conversationally” order pizza, ask for the latest deals and set up accounts without leaving Messenger. The move is likely an attempt to compete with pizza chain rival Domino’s, which has been quick to adopt new ordering technologies. Domino’s recently rolled out emoji ordering on Twitter, voice-controlled car ordering and Amazon Echo ordering.

Pokémon Go Tops Charts with an Estimated 7.5 Million Downloads

Whether you’re an avid player or amused onlooker, there’s no denying the overwhelming and immediate success of Pokémon Go. According to SensorTower, Nintendo’s augmented reality game has already been downloaded an estimated 7.5 million times from Google Play and the App Store in the United States, generating an estimated $1.6 million a day. But the game’s popularity isn’t just limited to the US. As of last Friday, Pokémon Go had also launched in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal with more markets to come.

What’s more, the game is quickly overtaking some of the most popular apps in the app store. According to SimilarWeb, Pokémon Go already has more US downloads than Tinder on Android. And the game sees more usage time than WhatApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Messenger.

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