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Hard times inside Apple’s forgotten App Store

Are you one of the many iOS users that ignores the row of apps at the bottom of the message composition window?

Once the appeal of sticker packs wears off, there just doesn’t seem to be much inside Apple’s forgotten App Store for Messages.

In between the hype and the reality…

Apple introduced the App Store for iMessages to its customary forest of hype, as industry watchers predicted great things.

Forrester analyst, Frank Gillet said:

“Opening up the iMessage and Phone apps to third party developers is… a big deal, enabling Apple to offer a more natural fluid experience to customers that builds on chat innovations pioneered by WeChat and others.”

There sits the shadow…

Did it work? It seems fair to ask when you last heard of something you absolutely had to download from that store, or when you last actually used an app that wasn’t GIPHY?

I’m willing to accept that some U.S. users may use Apple Pay Cash to send payments via messages. Nice for you. But let’s just note that it has been over two years since that service was introduced to the U.S. and it still remains unavailable anywhere else.

Which doesn’t bode particularly well for international introduction of Apple’s popular Apple Card credit card.

Take the time to rifle through the contents of the app drawer (which is what Apple calls that row of apps at the bottom of your Message composition window) and you might find a few stars, beyond #Images and Apple Pay.

Power in the darkness

Exploring the store is a somewhat dispiriting experience.

You’ll find apps you know to be really useful on your other devices, only to discover all they offer via the iMessage App Store are a few sticker packs and the occasional relatively useful function.

It’s a place of inspirational darkness, within which you may find a small handful of stars to illuminate the space.

Game Pigeon, for example, is one of the better items you’ll find, in part because it actually does something. The app consists of a vast collection of games (including mini-golf, Checkers and Chess) that you can play with your friends using Messages.  

You may also come across a smattering of tools for knowledge workers, particularly Dropbox, which lets you find and share items with others via Messages.I do find it interesting that there is no iCloud Drive Stickers app to do this, you still have to access the content in Files before you get to share it via the Share pane.

That lack of integration between Files and iMessage makes me question if even Apple  takes its iMessage apps seriously.

Other apps you may find useful may include: iTranslate, which makes it easier to write a foreign language when you need to; Scheduling apps like Doodle, Open Table or Polls With Friends; List apps such as Loopy Lists.

But it’s all a little vacant.

Apple’s forgotten App Store

The overwhelming perceptions I get when I visit this particular App Store are those of inattention and absence.

It feels a little like wandering through an abandoned home.

You can still see how it was laid out. You can still perceive the glorious optimism that went into building the place, but somehow those dreams were shattered as the inhabitants learned that it takes more than this to change hope into reality.

Realistically, the truth seems to be that App Store for iMessages hasn’t moved on much since I curated this collection of iMessage apps in 2018. (With the possible exception of Business Chat, which is actually useful.)

It feels like a lost opportunity.

Given the highly secure nature of iMessages it did once seem possible some developers may have attempted to create highly secure enterprise collaboration systems that used them. Perhaps they did.

So, what would the weakness of the product be?

Perhaps because Messages remains resolutely closed to other platforms.

We are where we are, of course, so let’s hear it for the iMessages App Store: Apple’s forgotten place where all the useful apps sit sad and surrounded by endless collections of sticker packs. Weeping for the cross-platform solutions they should have been. Perhaps you’ll hear them next time you get a message. Or perhaps you’ll tap the App Store icon in the App Drawer and visit with them for a while.

They don’t seem to get many visitors, these days.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple’s App Store generates $1B a week

On average, Apple generated more than $1 billion a week from the half-billion-plus people visiting its App Store every week in 2019, new data shows.

That’s $54.2 billion in the year.

Chasing the (long) tail

There’s lots of reasons for this, principally a successful push toward subscription-based business models and rapidly growing consumer acceptance that there actually is a value in digital products.

This renaissance in digital engagement is also generating new opportunity for enterprises who seek to meet customers where they are with digital-first experiences.

Subscription revenues increased in 2019, with more developers offering to let users try their apps before paying for the full feature set, according to SensorTower data. Growing subscription revenues prove shoppers will pay monthly fees for apps.

Nurturing this kind of perception has been one of the big challenges for the tech industry. In the early years, the success of Napster and file-sharing showed what can happen to industries when people don’t value digital product.

The later success of iTunes, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime and services like iCloud and Dropbox helped most users recognize digital value.

Now it’s generating massive money. User spending at the App Store climbed 16% year-over-year from $47 billion in 2018. Games accounted for a mighty $37 billion of this, while entertainment apps hoovered up $3.9 billion more.

We’re also seeing physical product sales become more deeply digital. 

“People are more connected today than ever before,” said Jason Woosley, vice president of commerce product and platform at Adobe.

“We all have a smartphone in our pocket, and that is really what is driving the uptick in mobile commerce and e-commerce overall. You can literally think of something you need, and just purchase it right that second.

“This always-on and always connected trend will continue to accelerate, especially as the definition of mobility continues to expand to new devices and modes of accessing the Internet.”

Best in store

Apple recently announced that App Store developers had earned more than $155 billion in App Store sales since 2008. The company added that “over a quarter” of these sales came in the last year and confirmed customers spent $1.42 billion at the App Store between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve 2019 — up 16%. The App Store store generated $386 million in sales on New Year’s Day 2020, Apple said – up slightly on the $322 million generated the same day last year.

The trend isn’t merely visible on Apple’s App Store; even Google Play also saw increased revenues – though the sum generated by iOS was 85% greater than the $29.3 billion spent on Google Play.

The digital value chain

This flurry of statistics proves perception of digital value is growing. (This is also proven by news that Pokemon Go generated nearly a billion dollars in revenue on in-game purchases alone last year.)

That is something that should matter to enterprise professionals attempting to identify and deliver new services and business models.

Consumer willingness to pay for digital services shows business models such as “information as a service,” expansion in digital channels and sponsorship of key digital experiences are more likely to build revenue, attract customers or enhance relationships than before.

In an intensifying competitive environment, delivering such services may be mandatory – and there may be some way to go, given Gartner’s analysis that 84% of consumers using digital tools and services in 2018 reported “underwhelming” experiences.

This matters.

  • 60% of enterprises that have engaged in digital transformation projects have also built new business models.
  • 78% of customers use mobile channels to communicate with brands.
  • 80% of millennials are more likely to purchase from companies that have a mobile customer services portal.

The attention economy isn’t at all stable. A better product or service can come along and quickly steal away hard-won hearts and minds. This has always been true in business, but the rapidity with which digital solutions can be developed and distributed means competition is rapid – and response must be more agile.

It’s an intense environment.

“By 2022, 72% of customer interactions will involve an emerging technology, such as machine-learning applications, chatbots or mobile messaging, up from 11% in 2017,” Gartner predicted in 2019.

It is interesting that Calm and Headspace became the biggest-grossing apps in the health and fitness category across both Apple and Android platforms in December.

Perhaps all those ‘digital first’ executives badly needed some time out as they grappled with the challenge of continued transformation?

Though on a more serious note, this also reflects consumer willingness to invest in a huge array of tech-driven services, even those we don’t usually associate with “digital.”

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple’s App Store generates a billion dollars a week

On average, Apple generated over a billion dollars a week from the half billion plus people visiting its App Store every week in 2019, the latest data shows.

That’s $54.2 billion in the year.

Chasing the (long) tail

There’s lots of reasons for this, principally a successful push toward subscription-based business models and rapidly growing consumer acceptance that there actually is a value in digital products.

This renaissance in digital engagement is also generating new opportunity for enterprises who seek to meet customers where they are with digital-first experiences.

Subscription revenues increased in 2019, with more developers offering to let users try their apps before paying out for the full feature set, according to SensorTower data. Growing subs revenues prove shoppers will pay monthly fees for apps.

Nurturing this kind of perception has been one of the big challenges for the tech industry. In the early years the success of Napster and file-sharing showed what can happen to industries when people don’t value digital product.

The success of iTunes, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime and services like iCloud and Dropbox helped most users recognize digital value.

Now it’s generating massive money.

User spending at the App Store climbed 16% y-o-y from $47 billion in 2018. Games accounted for a mighty $37 billion of this, while entertainment apps hoovered up $3.9 billion more.

We’re also seeing physical product sales become more deeply digital. 

“People are more connected today than ever before,” said Jason Woosley, vice president of commerce product & platform at Adobe.

“We all have a smartphone in our pocket, and that is really what is driving the uptick in mobile commerce and e-commerce overall. You can literally think of something you need, and just purchase it right that second.

“This always-on and always connected trend will continue to accelerate, especially as the definition of mobility continues to expand to new devices and modes of accessing the Internet.”

Best in store

Apple recently announced that App Store developers earned over $155 billion in App Store sales since 2008.

The company added that “over a quarter” of these sales came in the last year and confirmed customers spent $1.42 billion at the App Store between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve 2019 — up 16 percent. The App Store store generated $386 million in sales on New Year’s Day 2020, Apple said — up slightly on the $322 million generated the same day last year.

The trend isn’t merely visible on Apple’s App Store, even Google Play also saw increased revenues – despite which the sum generated by iOS was 85 percent greater than the $29.3 billion spent on Google Play.

The digital value chain

This flurry of statistics proves perception of digital value is growing. (This is also proven by news that Pokemon Go generated nearly a billion dollars in revenue on in-game purchases alone last year).

That is something that should matter to enterprise professionals attempting to identify and deliver new services and business models.

Consumer willingness to pay for digital services shows business models such as ‘information as a service’, expansion in digital channels and sponsorship of key digital experiences are more likely to build revenue, attract customers or enhance relationships than before.

In an intensifying competitive environment, delivering such services may be mandatory – and there may be some way to go, given Gartner’s analysis that 84 percent of consumers using digital tools and services in 2018 reported “underwhelming” experiences.

This matters.

  • 60% of enterprises that have engaged in digital transformation projects have also built new business models.
  • 78% of customers use mobile channels to communicate with brands.
  • 80% of millennials are more likely to purchase from companies that have a mobile customer services portal.

The attention economy isn’t at all stable. A better product or service can come along and quickly steal away hard-won hearts and minds. This has always been true in business, but the rapidity with which digital solutions can be developed and distributed means competition is rapid and response must be more agile.

It’s an intense environment.

“By 2022, 72 percent of customer interactions will involve an emerging technology, such as machine-learning applications, chatbots or mobile messaging, up from 11 percent in 2017,” predicted Gartner in 2019.

Within this it is interesting that Calm and Headspace became the biggest grossing apps in the health and fitness category across both Apple and Android platforms in December.

Perhaps all those ‘digital first’ executives badly needed some time out as they grappled with the challenge of continued transformation?

Though on a more serious note this also reflects consumer willingness to invest in a huge array of tech-driven services, even those we don’t usually associate with “digital”.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Soon every enterprise will need its own App Store

Digital transformation isn’t just a single wave, it’s a series of them, each one transformational – it’s an environment in which change is a permanent feature.

No one size fits anyone any more

We know every single Fortune 500 firm now uses Apple equipment in their business.

We know that many enterprises now offer their own proprietary apps and business processes, and we also know that incoming technologies such as RPA will continue to transform business practise.

We recognize that, given the choice, most employees will choose Apple kit, and we know those employees who do may be more productive, cost less in tech support and less likely to quit.

We also know that not every task requires the same toolkit, and that the very notion of apps favours development of software to address one single task well, rather than multiple tasks poorly.

Modular everything

Think about your business.

It’s likely you have different business units engaged in different tasks, each one with different resources and varying practical needs. Maps, spreadsheets, presentations, data analysis, field service manuals, passenger manifests, cargo manifests, location detection systems, data analysis, pre-emptive maintenance, warehouse navigation — look around and you’ll find most business needs now enjoy access to an ‘app for that’.

Particularly on iOS.

The problem is that while Apple’s App Store is by far the most secure shopfront for apps, it’s still not perfectly safe (nowhere is).

This has led many companies to white list specific apps while banning use of others in managed environments.

This leads inexorably toward scenarios in which enterprises will begin to create and populate their own internal App Stores.

These will deliver a mix of curated consumer and proprietary enterprise apps giving employers control and insight and employees trusted environments of choice.

Businesses recognise that in an App environment in which even the most secure platform provider is grappling with threats, while other platforms offer slick marketing to hid inherent weakness, it behoves them to put together their own source of truth.

In the form of an enterprise app store.

None of this is new

But Enterprise App Stores will become far more commonplace.

Many already exist.

SAP has its own SAP Enterprise Store, for example, but a recent Gartner report predicts 40% of workers will manage their enterprise apps in this way.

The model will only extend as incoming employees arrive to market with their own technologically sophisticated needs built as a result of a lifetime engaging with digital tools and App Store distribution.

  • These tech-savvy employees will digital tools to be as easy to access as downloading an ‘app for that’.
  • They will want intuitive user interfaces for those apps, will want apps that work together and will not want to navigate through confusing UI elements in order to find the function they need.
  • We already know employees will quit if the tech they use is worse than what they use at home, so there’s an HR need spurring this evolution.

Ultimately, this means enterprise app developers will approach app design from a widget-like approach, splicing business processes up into modules.

This will enable employees — already used to piecing together a bunch of different apps in order to get things done in the consumer space — to adopt a similar approach at work: They will select the specific apps they need in order to transact the tasks their specific role requires.

Some will use more apps, some will use less, but the overall impact will be that the friction of app use will be reduced and autonomy and simplicity should unlock productivity.

Employees will also be equipped to use third-party apps that have passed through the IT support vetting process and have been whitelisted to work across a company network – while enterprises will be able to sandbox emerging solutions for use by authorized employees, enabling agile business users to choose to use new tools that may augment the business need.

This gives employees the autonomy to use what are for them the best available tools for their job (including emerging solutions), while also protecting the business from hack, attack and user security slack.

The impact?

Enterprise app deployment becomes a frictionless user experience, just like consumer App Stores.

iPhone-wielding workers can use the best digital tools for the job, and the collections of apps used by workers can be changed in response to changing needs, nurturing business agility and digital dexterity.

There is a downside to this digital dance.

Not every company has the resources to launch its own proprietary app store, but there are service providers who may fill that gap.

At JNUC I spoke briefly with Setapp CEO, Oleksandr Kosovan. He was there to evangelize the SetApp for Teams service, which offers Mac-based enterprises access to a collection of useful productivity apps for a set fee. The idea is that these apps are curated by his company and enterprises can scale their app deployments to demand.

While this service is only for Macs, it’s no great leap of imagination to add links to enterprise-approved iOS apps and distribution to proprietary enterprise apps to this kind of curated and branded store.

While Kosovan’s is a consumer play with a background in consumer markets, firms like Arxan and others also offer proprietary App store solutions for enterprises.

And it’s possible the good times for this segment of the enterprise services business have only just begun.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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How to Manage Your iTunes Store and App Store Password Preferences

Password Settings screen for iTunes shown on iPhone
Khamosh Pathak

Apple makes it easy to download an app or to rent a movie on your iPhone or iPad. But what if you want to change the default password behavior for App Store and iTunes Store? Here’s how to manage your password preferences.

Turn off Touch ID and Face ID for App Store and iTunes Store

If you’re using any modern iPhone with Touch ID or Face ID, you won’t be prompted to set your password preference in the App Store app. Touch ID and Face ID will override your previous preferences (if any).

As such, if you don’t want to be prompted for authentication for buying apps, you’ll still get a Touch ID or Face ID prompt. The only way to access those password management settings is to first disable Touch ID or Face ID authentication for the App Store and iTunes Store.

To do this, open the “Settings” app and go to the “Face ID & Passcode” or “Touch ID & Passcode” section, depending on your device.

Click on Face ID and Passcode section from Settings

From the next screen, enter your lockscreen passcode to authenticate.

Enter Your Passcode

Here, tap on the toggle next to “iTunes & App Store” to disable Face ID or Touch ID authentication for App Store and iTunes Store.

Tap on toggle next to iTunes and App Store

Once you do this, Face ID and Touch ID will be disabled for the App Store and iTunes Store. You’ll have to enter the password every time you buy and download apps. You can learn how to configure those settings in the section below.

Manage Password Preferences for App Store and iTunes Store

Once Face ID or Touch ID authentication is disabled, a whole new Password Preferences section will be unlocked. To find this, go to the top of the Settings app and tap on your name.

Select your name from the top of Settings app

Here, select the “iTunes & App Store” option.

Select iTunes and App Store from your account page

Tap on the newly unlocked “Password Settings” item.

Tap on Password Settings

You’ll now see two sections. In the “Purchases and In-App Purchases” section, you can switch to the “Require After 15 Minutes” option to stop the App Store from asking you for your password or verification every time you buy an app or an in-app purchase (until 15 minutes passes).

Change the password settings for App Store

In the “Free Downloads” section, you’ll find the “Require Password” feature. You can disable it If you don’t want to be prompted for a password every time you download a free item.

Toggle the Require Password setting

Once you’ve configured the settings to your liking, just go back and start using the App Store and iTunes Store to download apps and make purchases. You won’t receive prompts to use Face ID or Touch ID anymore.

RELATED: How to Speed Up Face ID on Your iPhone





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