The Week in Mobile: April 8-14, 2018

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App downloads and revenue break records (again), 80% of teens reportedly own an iPhone, Zuckerberg was prepared to trash Apple in his testimony 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 — all to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

App Download and Revenue Break Records (Again)

App downloads and revenue once again broke previous record highs to kick-off 2018, according to a new report. iOS and Google Play downloads in the first quarter reportedly grew by more than 10 percent since last year, hitting a record 27.5 billion total downloads. Consumer spending on mobile apps also increased in Q1, exceeding 22 percent year-over-year growth to reach $18.4 billion (another record).

But the new gains remain uneven: the App Store reeled in 85 percent more cash than the Google Play Store. That means iOS users are spending almost twice as much money on apps as their Android counterparts. Google is closing the spending gap though, gaining ten percentage points on Apple in terms of revenue over the last two quarters. Google still takes the cake though when it comes to the number of downloads, more than doubling the iOS total of 8.2 billion. Whether you’re building for Apple or Android (or both), this report makes it clear that the app market is healthy and will continue to grow.

Fortnite Hauls in $15 Million during First Three Weeks in App Store

Speaking of iOS app revenue, Fortnite has reportedly reeled in $15 million from in-app purchases since it launched in the App Store three weeks ago. The smash-hit battle royale game from developer Epic Games was ported from desktop to mobile less than a month ago, but has already made some serious dough. According to a new report, Fortnite is out-earning longtime App Store favorites like Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, and Pokémon Go in weekly revenue—hauling in $6.4 million last week alone. Although the game is free-to-play, users can spend real currency on outfits and other cosmetic items for their character. Fortnite is available for both iOS and Android, and has already been downloaded more than 11 million times on mobile.

Survey: 82 Percent of Teens Own an iPhone

Some bad news for smartphone makers not named Apple: the iPhone is continuing to grow in popularity with younger generations. According to a bi-annual survey, 82 percent of teens said they owned an iPhone, while an even larger number (84 percent) said their next device would be an iPhone. Those numbers are up from last fall, when only 78 percent said they had an iPhone, and just 82 percent claimed their next smartphone would be one. Whether teen iPhones are simply hand-me-downs from parents or not, the report shows an upward trend in iPhone ownership and popularity among young people since 2014.

Zuckerberg Was Ready to Fire Back at Apple During Hearing

As Senators struggled at times to understand the basics of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg powered through his congressional testimony this week. There were a couple of notable moments during the hearings, including when the Facebook CEO left his notes out during a recess for the world to see. Promptly photographed by press, those notes explained that Zuckerberg might potentially criticize Apple by going after their track record with iOS apps. The notes read: “Lots of stories about apps misusing Apple data, never seen Apple notify people,” although Zuckerberg never actually mentioned it during the hearings.

We also learned that Facebook hasn’t ruled out a paid premium option, that its future will rely on machine learning and that the company did not snoop on user habits via device microphones. In the wake of its data privacy scandal, Facebook continues to crackdown on third-party developers’ access to data, while also providing more options for users to secure their information should they wish to delete their account. For example, Instagram will soon offer a data portability tool allowing users to download their photos, videos and messages.

Augmented Reality’s Next Frontier: Sporting Events

The potential for augmented reality experiences continues to grow – this time in the world of sports. A company called Xenoholographic has created a cloud-based AR platform that allows sports teams, leagues and organizers to implement virtual experiences at events without needing developer help. Organizations could use the platform to allow fans to collect virtual tokens throughout the games that can be redeemed for merchandise or facetime with their favorite players or to show data about players on the court/field.

Reports: iOS 11.3 Update Renders iPhone 8s With Aftermarket Displays Unusable

Is Apple trying to dissuade aftermarket repairs? Users across the country are reporting that their iPhone 8 devices, which have been altered with third-party displays, no longer respond to touch following the iOS 11.3 update. The same issue reportedly happened with the iPhone 7 last year following an iOS update, although Apple quickly resolved the issue. Now, iPhone repair shop owners are speculating that Apple may be discouraging aftermarket screen fixes once again. Apple has yet to comment on the situation.

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