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App Store wars & the best apps of 2022

One way and another, Apple’s App Store has been in the news this week. Let’s find out why?

App Store in the wars
image courtesy of Apple

Trouble Brewing

The App Store is one of the forgotten heroes on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

It kind of just lives there, quietly minding its business, until we need that next must have app. I’ve never used the Android equivalent, but for Apple users, it makes for a quick, and easy way to download, and install apps.

This week, the App Store has been making headlines in both positive, and in a more debatable fashion too.

Let’s first get in the weeds over the trouble brewing between the App Store and Twitter.

What’s the problem?

The App Store has made the headlines this week due to a bit of a battle brewing between themselves and Twitter. It’s become a little confusing, so I’ll do my best to clear things up for you.

To say there have been a lot of changes at Twitter recently, would be an understatement. Working hours and practices, layoffs, the blue tick shambles, it’s a pretty long list. This week, if you believe Elon, it would seem Apple has threatened to take Twitter down from the App Store, and that Apple are spending considerably less on advertising spend with the social media giant.

Money is always the problem

The lack of advertising dollars from Apple saw Musk take to Twitter this week, making his feelings and concerns clear.

In one tweet, Musk says Apple has “mostly stopped advertising on Twitter” leading on to question whether Apple “hates free speech?” Apple, however, are not alone in fleeing from Twitter with their advertising budgets. General Mills, Pfizer, Audi, Volkswagen, and Mondelez International Inc. have followed their lead, citing lack of engagement, the layoffs, bogus accounts, and bots as the main reasons. There also seems widespread concern as to how the company is being run, too.

More tweets

And Musk was not done with his tweets, directed straight and Cook and Apple. He re-tweeted a video that was first put up by Epic Games as they started their fight with Apple over the App Store. Epic, you may recall, were seeking to open up the iPhone App Store to numerous vendors for competition. All Musk added to that re-tweet, was one word – “accurate”.

The next tweet made mention of a ‘secret tax’ that Apple apply to purchases through their App Store. He is drawing attention to the 30% levy that Apple applies to apps bought through the online store.

As he had only just referenced the Epic lawsuit, it seemed odd that he’d claim it to be a secret tax, as it was that at the heart of Epic’s lawsuit. And, strictly speaking, it is not a flat 30% fee, anyhow. Companies making less than $1 million annually in sales, pay only 15%.

Moderate approach

Musk, clearly not in a mood to let this argument slip away, then claimed that the reasons for Apple’s threat to remove his app were a mystery. Really?

A more salient point may be why Apple is looking closely at the inclusion of the Twitter app in their store. Moderation may well be what Apple is most concerned over. Apple has their Store Review Guidelines which are, generally, strongly adhered to. Under the safety heading, you’ll see a sub-heading – objectionable.

Apple emphasises that developers must have in place effective moderation policies in their apps, that include timely responses, and blocking features. If Apple deems that these guidelines are not being followed, then they retain the provision to remove an app without notice.

There is precedent to enforcing these measures. Last year, another social platform, Parler, was taken down for not following Apple’s review guidelines. It was, eventually, allowed back in, but only after changes were made.

Twitter comes very close to the wire in not following the guidelines. Recently, some questionable accounts have been reinstated, and it is well known that there are numerous adult stars with Twitter accounts, with material that would clearly violate Apples App Store guidelines.

Where will it end?

With two such heavy hitters at odds, it is hard to say. Neither are used to backing down, and both hate to lose. But, it would seem, that Musk & Twitter already has a game plan in play, should Google and Apple take Twitter down from the App Stores. His solution – make his own phone!

Watch this space I guess, but, meanwhile, as I mentioned, there has been some positive news for the App Store this week too.

Awards Season

As we near the end of the year, companies such as Spotify, and Apple, are starting to reflect, and look back at the year, and what their users have been up to.

In your Apple Music app, you’ll find the Replay button, and not to be left out, the App Store has chosen their top apps and games from 2022. CEO, Tim Cook says the apps were chosen for “their quality, innovative technology, creative design, positive cultural impact, and ability to deliver “exceptional experiences”.

This year’s App Store Award winners reimagined our experiences with apps that delivered fresh, thoughtful, and genuine perspectives. From self-taught solo creators to international teams spanning the globe, these entrepreneurs are making a meaningful impact, and represent the ways in which apps and games influence our communities and lives.

The top apps were chosen by device and the list reads –

  • iPhone – Be Real
  • iPad – GoodNotes 5
  • Mac – MacFamilyTree 10
  • TV – ViX
  • Watch – Gentler Streak

The winners will receive a physical award, made to resemble the App Store logo. Maintaining the companies environmental policies, the awards are made from 100 percent recycled aluminium, and will bear the winner’s name, engraved on the side.

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