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The Week in Mobile: September 4-10, 2016

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iOS 10 releases this week, Apple purging outdated App Store apps, Delta and Bloomingdale’s join the scavenger hunt trend and more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.

Apple Announces iOS 10 GA, Unveils iPhone 7 and More

During Apple’s iPhone 7 launch event, the company announced that iOS 10 will release to the general public on September 13 — that’s just one day away. The new OS features a new platform for managing smarthome devices, significant improvements to Siri, interactive notifications, rich link previews for iMessage and more.

Apple made several other announcements during its event, unveiling the iPhone 7, introducing the second generation of the Apple Watch and setting a release date for macOS Sierra. Proving rumors to be true, the new iPhone says goodby to the headphone jack and brings a new home screen button that doesn’t click. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch 2 will be waterproof and comes with built-in GPS. And macOS Sierra, which will launch on September 20, will come with Siri support for the first time and promises better communication across devices.

App Store Clean Up is Officially Underway

There are approximately 2.1 million apps available for download in Apple’s App Store. However, that number will see a near-term decline as Apple makes good on its promise to remove outdated apps. The clean-up is officially underway and that could mean the removal of hundreds of thousands of apps. Apple says it will immediately purge any app that crashes when launched, while developers will be given 30 days to update any app deemed to be outdated. So how many apps are on the chopping block? According to a report from Adjust, 50 percent of App Store apps haven’t been updated since May 2015. What’s more, just over 25 percent of iOS apps have been abandoned since November 2013. Developers for these apps are likely to receive notice from Apple, while the 20 percent that have been updated in the last 3 months can rest assured that that their apps are safe.

Meanwhile, Google Play’s Early Access program, which allows Android users to download beta apps, is opening up to all developers. At first, the program was invite only, but now any developer can nominate their beta app to be featured in Google Play.

In a move likely designed to counter product discovery and purchase inside apps like Instagram, Google is updating its mobile search with ‘Shop the Look’, which allows users to search for clothing or home decor and make purchases directly from search results. Google has initially partnered with fashion blogger websites — including LiketoKnow.it and Polyvore — to feature popular clothing content and images. That means mobile users can browse through outfits or home goods and buy those items without having to navigate to another site or app.

HSBC Makes Opening an Account Easier with Selfie Verification

HSBC is incorporating “selfie verification” into its mobile app, allowing users to verify their identity by snapping a quick picture with their smartphone. The feature uses facial tracking technology to compare a user’s selfie with their passport or driver’s licence to complete identity checks. That means HSBC customers won’t have to make the trek to their local branch to set up a new bank account– now, they can do everything from the HSBC mobile app.

Delta and Bloomingdale’s Embrace Snapchat Scavenger Hunts

Delta is taking to Snapchat for the first time with a marketing campaign called Delta DreamHunt, which encourages customers to participate in a Los Angeles scavenger hunt for the chance to win prizes. Snapchat users following Delta’s new account will receive clues that lead them to Los Angeles landmarks. To win prizes, users can snap a picture of these landmarks and send images to Delta’s Snapchat account.

Bloomingdale’s is launching a similar Snapchat scavenger hunt, encouraging customers to search for hidden filters within stores. Snapchat users who locate these hidden filters can snap a photo and send it to the Bloomingdale’s Snapchat account to win prizes. It’s a new way to encourage customers to come and explore stores, while rewarding them for engaging with the brand.

Another Mobile App Milestone

According to a recent report from Comscore, 50 percent of online usage in the US is now occurring via smartphone app — making apps far and away the most popular way to access the internet. Desktop was the next most common access point (32 percent) followed by tablet apps (9 percent), mobile web (7 percent) and web (2 percent). Comscore predicts smartphone app usage will continue to dominate, growing beyond 50 percent in the coming months.

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