Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.
The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads in 2019 and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to App Annie’s recently released “State of Mobile” annual report. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.
In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.
This week, we’re looking at the further impact of the coronavirus on the app industry, which is now leading to more major event cancellations — including, as of this week, Google I/O and SXSW. That begs the question, will WWDC be next? And what will that mean for developers who rely on the annual event to make those invaluable face-to-face connections? We’re also looking at the revised App Store review guidelines and what that means for developers, as well as Walmart’s plan to dramatically change its app strategy, Robinhood’s bad week, the launch of a new Spotify competitor from the makers of the world’s most viral app, TikTok and much more.
Apple changes the rules
Apple this week alerted developers to a new set of App Store review guidelines that detail which apps will be accepted or rejected, and what apps are allowed to do. The changes to the guidelines impact reviews, push notifications, Sign in with Apple, data collection and storage, mobile device management and more, the company says. Some of the more high-profile changes include the ability for apps to now use notifications for ads, stricter rules for dating and fortune-telling apps and a new rule that allows Apple to reject apps that help users evade law enforcement, among other things.