The Week in Mobile: May 20-25, 2018

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GDPR regulations are now in effect, union pushes Apple for more dev-friendly App Store policies, Starbucks’ payments service boasts highest number of users 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.

Are You Ready for GDPR? Here’s Apple’s Plan for Compliance.

The EU’s new data privacy regulations are officially in effect starting today. At the eleventh hour, Apple joined the ranks of tech giants making moves to comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). A new website displays the list of personal data Apple holds on individual users, including: sign-in history, contacts, calendars, notes, photos and documents. It also includes information for services such as Apple Music, the App Store, iTunes and Apple Care.

Apple claims it will take as long as two weeks for the company to assemble and delete data following a user request under the new GDPR regulations. Users can also download their data, make corrections to it and deactivate their account(s). Deleting is permanent, while Apple says deactivation will make data completely inaccessible until an account is switched back on. These new data options are now available in EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Apple said the website will become available to the rest of the world sometime later this year.

For more information on how Axway is addressing GDPR compliance, learn more here.

New iOS Developer Union Pushing Apple for More Dev-Friendly Policies

A group of nearly two dozen iOS developers are calling on Apple to expand its free trial policy and adjust App Store revenue cuts. By the time the mobile marketplace reaches its tenth birthday in July, the Developers Union (a self-described “non-union union” – i.e. not a typical labor union) hopes that Apple’s free trial policy will apply to all apps. And they’re not stopping there: union representatives say they also hope to lobby for changes to App Store revenue policies, which currently divide profits 70-30. App makers have pushed back in recent years for more developer-friendly policies with mixed results, and it was only last year that Apple began allowing users to pre-order apps and offering free trials on subscription services.

Starbucks’ Payments Service Has More Users Than Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay

If there was any doubt about how much folks love their coffee, it can now be put to rest. A new report indicates that Starbucks is the market leader when it comes to mobile payments services, edging out Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay when it comes to users. The popular coffee chain has managed its own mobile payments service since 2011, and with 23.4 million users, holds a narrow lead over Apple Pay’s 22 million. The keys to Starbucks’ success? Faster checkout times at the counter and a robust loyalty program.

Instagram Introduces New Time Management and Mute Features

Instagram has introduced some simple, but nifty new features. The first is a solution to the non-chronological feed issue: a new mid-feed alert that tells users they’re “all caught up” on new posts from the last 48 hours. Instagram is currently testing the feature with beta users. The move follows Facebook’s recent “time well spent” initiative, which prioritizes new time management tools to prevent app overuse. The other feature introduced this week was a mute option that allows users to remove accounts from their feeds. The feature is now available to users in all regions.

The First Smartphone with a Holographic Display to Launch This Summer

After much speculation, it appears RED’s Hydrogen smartphone, equipped with a “holographic display,” will become available sometime this summer. The device is developed by RED, a company specializing in high-end digital camera used in cinema, and claims to be the first handset that can swap between 2D and 3D displays without the need for glasses or other equipment. Alongside the holographic display, the smartphone is said to be equipped with an ultra high-quality camera and audio and can be connected to RED’s cinema cameras. The news was revealed by AT&T and Verizon, although they did not reveal any details on final availability or pricing. That said, RED did open up pre-orders this year for two models to the tune of $1,295 and $1,595, respectively.

Amazon Ramps Up Real-Time ‘Map Tracker’ Testing in the U.S.

Amazon is quietly rolling out a new map-based package tracking feature to more users in the U.S. The new tool allows users to pull-up a real-time map and follow their Amazon package delivery while in transit. According to screenshots from users, it looks a lot like how Uber or Lyft allows riders to track their car as it approaches. The feature is one of many new additions to Amazon’s ecosystem, including photos to show a package has arrived and Amazon Key, which utilizes a smart lock to help couriers place deliveries inside users’ homes. Map Tracker will reportedly only be available for packages deliver by Amazon’s logistics network, not those handled by UPS, FedEX, USPS or other carriers.

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