Epic Games v. Apple: Judge reaches decision
Count this as the second time in a row that many media outlets completely botched the call on something related to App Store changes. This decision was a major defeat for Epic, and they're not happy about it.
In fact, the single count Epic won on is basically just an extended combination of the concessions Apple already made a week earlier as part of a settlement with Japan's anti-trust regulator (allowing limited links out of the app to payment) and the class-action lawsuit from last month (communicating with users about alternative payment methods via contact info collected in-app). It's certainly a far cry from allowing the sort of in-app purchase flow Epic added to Fortnite last year to kick this whole fight off.
To me, it seems like Apple read the tea leaves perfectly and decided to voluntarily concede the two things that they were going to lose on ahead of time.
Of course, there is still the appeals process…
Let’s Consider Some of the Implications of Third-Party Payment Processing for In-App Purchasing on iOS and Android
This article predates the Apple v. Epic decision by a few days (it was in response to the new South Korea law that requires alternate in-app payment methods), but the points apply to both.
The reality is your typical, non-techy end user doesn't want to enter their credit card number into every app. Granted, they still do in many cases even today…but the ability to command that level of trust greatly depends on the brand at the other end of the transaction.
The Apple v. Epic Decision
If you're still thinking this injunction means apps can now integrate a full, non-Apple in-app payment flow…it doesn't. This writeup eloquently explains exactly why that is the case.
The Persistent Gravity of Cross Platform
Many users (myself included) tend to view apps built with cross-platform frameworks like Electron as somehow inferior. And yet…we all use them every day.
From a product and engineering perspective, there are good reasons why cross-platform development is better (no, it's not just Profit™), and it doesn't have to be mean a worse user experience.
While this article mostly focuses on Electron for desktop apps, the points apply equally to mobile frameworks like Cordova, Xamarin, and the current industry favorite: React Native.
Facebook Undercounted SKAdNetwork Conversions For iPhone 12 Users Since February
Because of the way SKAdNetwork is built, there aren't even that many ways a bug like this could have happened — SKAN postbacks don't contain information about the device type they're coming from.
This could have been something like a forgotten split-test for loading the SKAdNetwork framework based on device model, but even that doesn't fully explain the issue because MMP SDKs and in-house implementations shouldn't have been affected.
Regardless of the cause, bugs like this one are a regrettable side-effect of the lack of audit-ability in new, more privacy-centric systems. Direct SKAN postbacks in iOS 15 will help, but there's often an inherent conflict between privacy and transparency.
App Store Promote Tool
This week, Apple released a couple of self-serve tools to help developers promote their apps.
They're…basic. But maybe a sign of more to come? After all, a robust array of tools integrated directly with the App Store could help justify that 30% commission rate…
A neat directory that lists Facebook/Instagram ads for companies in a variety of categories.
Tips & Techniques
Google: Interstitials are Fine Under this Condition
Interstitials that block page content have been incorporated as a ranking signal by Google for a while now, and this recent insight from John Mueller (Google's Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst) doesn't really hold any surprises: Google doesn't want you to blast a full-page takeover in a new visitor's face the second they arrive on your website, but that doesn't mean all interstitials are bad.
Hat tip: GROW.co newsletter.
Calm’s soothing intros for new users and features
Calm uses a selection of common onboarding techniques together: an onboarding survey, intro modals that appear incrementally as users explore new areas of the app, and a tour to introduce the app's updated navigation.
High ATT opt-in volumes & low IDFA collection rates
AppsFlyer shared some new data around the current state of ATT opt-in rates.
Overall, not much is changing these days, but a few things stood out to me about this recap:
- AppsFlyer makes a distinction between 'opt-in rate' and 'IDFA collection rate'. To me, that indicates ongoing confusion about how to calculate a meaningful 'ATT opt-in rate'.
not_determinedsegment in this dataset is surprisingly high, even accounting for apps that don't show the ATT prompt. I'd guess that might be due to the number of games in AppsFlyer's customer base (compared to other categories, games are — unsurprisingly — more likely to gamify when the ATT prompt gets triggered).
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The final Android 12 beta is now available, and so is the release candidate of iOS 15. Apple also announced new hardware on Tuesday, though the reaction so far seems to be relatively meh.
The long-awaited Epic v. Apple decision from last week came with a lot more fireworks though, so let's start there!Alex Bauer