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The Median Minute | January Edition: The need for (better website) speed, Apple in the EU, and App Studio updates

Welcome to the latest edition of the Median Minute, a semi-frequent series scannable in one minute, powered by the team at Median.co., and built for you.

TL;DR: In this edition (our ⏰ January Edit): An Apple a day won’t keep compliance issues away (is that how the saying goes?). App-giant Apple dominated our news feed this month thanks to its app store updates, EU compliance challenges, and latest round of emojis. Here are some hand-picked stories and news you can use to ensure you (and your app) are caught up on the big stuff.

💡 FEATURED STORY: The need for (better website) speed: Median.co announces new strategic partnership with SpeedSense

SpeedSense and Median.co team up to provide stellar speed performance for apps

We’re excited to announce our strategic partnership with SpeedSense Web Performance. Whether you’re managing an Android or iOS app, this exciting strategic partnership enables Median.co to help customers provide even better user experiences on iOS and Android apps.

A key piece to SpeedSense’s offering is their speed intelligence platform, Sensai — it’s used by SpeedSense customers to monitor and detect performance regressions, which in turn helps them better deliver optimal user experiences and maximize revenue and conversions from their webview apps.

You can instantly reap the benefits of this partnership, too! Learn how to dramatically boost the speed of your app and improve UX in this article penned by SpeedSense’s Shawn O’Neill: How to increase the speed and performance of a webview app.

⏩ What’s new @ Median

Introducing automatic updates, ‘last saved’ features, and more in the Median App Studio

When you access the Median App Studio, you may notice some things that look a little different (in a good way). That’s because we’ve been hard at work adding new functionality and improving our products across the board — and we’re excited to share what we’ve been up to. Things like: 

A new ‘last saved by’ function

Median.co App Studio's "last saved" function

Handy for app projects with multiple managers, the App Studio now shows you who last saved changes to your app, as well as the most recent timestamp. "Previously, it wasn’t quite clear for our customers who on their team saved the latest version of the app,” says Median’s Solutions Architect Advisor Christoph Rieger. “That’s why we've worked to provide this enhanced ease and transparency.”

Improved back-up functionality

Median.co App Studio's back-up functionality

We’ve also introduced a feature that enables customers to name their backups (e.g. after previous release versions) and securely store them for permanent retention,” says Rieger. This gives Median App Studio users a convenient way to roll back changes in case they need to. 

Median.co App Studio's back-up functionality pop-up

There’s more to explore in our newly optimized App Studio, which you can use to build your next app here

🗞️ Apps in the news: January edit

Whether it's exciting new partnerships, latest updates, or app marketing strategies, we’ve been glued to these mobile app news stories this month.

Apple and the European Union: A can of worms (and updates)

Apple introduced new updates affecting apps distributed in the European Union (EU) to comply with the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA). In short: the changes affect iOS, Safari on iOS, the App Store, and developer app analytics and user data portability — and they support in giving users more choice in the way they engage with apps, browsers, and payments in an iOS ecosystem. Let’s get a better understanding by a quick-fire Q&A:

What are Apple’s DMA-related changes to iOS?:

In response to the Act’s requirements, Apple making a few changes to iOS, including but not limited to:

  • New options for downloading and managing iOS apps on a limited about of alternative app marketplaces (think Amazon and Epic Games)
  • New framework and APIs for creating alternative app marketplaces on iOS 
  • New frameworks and APIs for alternative browser engines
  • New APIs to enable contactless payments in the EEA (the European Economic Area)
  • And more!

What are Apple’s DMA-related changes to Safari on iOS?

One notable update is the User Choice Screen, which appears as soon as a user first opens Safari in iOS 17.4 or newer. The screen will ask European users to pick their default browser from a list of available options.

What are the changes to the Apple App Store?

In order to comply with giving users more choice, new options for using alternative payment service providers (PSPs) and for processing payments via link out to purchase will become available.

What are the changes affecting developer app analytics and user data portability?

Notable changes include the expansion of developer app analytics, the introduction of a ‘new user data portability API’ for requesting and transferring App Store account data, and the availability of new business terms for apps operating in the EU.

There is much, much more to this complex topic. For a deeper diver, peruse the full story here.

Time to get active:  Google updates its inactive account policy

Google updated its inactive account policy which means that, if you’ve been inactive for more than 2 years, then they’ll deactivate your account. This is to ensure safety and protect users from security threats like spam, phishing scams, and account hijacking. Don’t worry, though: Google will send plenty of notifications to your account before deleting it.

In the limelight: Apple introduces lime, mushroom, and phoenix emojis

Following the latest release of the iOS 17.4 beta, MacRumors reports that six new emojis will be added to the upcoming iOS update (as part of Unicode 15), a move approved in September 2023. The new emojis include: a lime, an edible brown mushroom, a phoenix, a broken chain, shaking head vertically (as if it's nodding “yes”), and shaking head horizontally (nodding "no"). 

Downloads at a low: App download rates increase by only 2% in 2023

2023 has not seen any significant improvement in app downloads — they only saw a 2% increase in 2023 (in contrast to 2022’s 10% increase). Appsflyer reports the low rate of increase in app downloads is a result of a 4% decline among non-gaming Android apps. We predict seeing downloads trend upward in 2024.

📱Anatomy of an App: Visual elements matter

The visual elements of your app — including the ones users come across in an app store — can go a long way in supporting user acquisition. Some might go as far to say they can make or break the success of your app.

App icons, splash screens, screenshots, and video elements not only make your app unique, but they also enhance your App Store Optimization efforts for both iOS and Android. Here’s a cheat sheet re: all of the above:

App Icon: Your app icon is an important part of your brand — according to Apple, it communicates the purpose and personality of your app, which helps people recognize it more easily in app stores (iOS and Android).

Splash Screen: Your app splash screen is the launch screen that introduces your users to your brand when they click on your app icon. The splash screen must include branded colors, logos, and animations in either a solid white background or a dark screen — this special element ultimately sets the tone of your app.

Screenshots: Now, screenshots are more important for App Store Optimization efforts — they provide a visual sneak-peek of your app in the app Stores. Screenshots play an important part here, as this is what users see first and get an idea about what to expect from your app within the app store itself. In addition to screenshots, you can also mix in promotional images with screenshots that spell out the features and benefits of your app.

Video: This visual element supports in app marketing efforts: for a go-to-market app marketing strategy, video promotion has become invaluable on video-first platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube. 

Want to learn more about optimizing and amplifying your app with visual elements? Get some practical tips in this recent article from sidebar Magazine

🔢 BY THE NUMBERS

$171 BILLION

STUNNING STAT: The amount consumers spent on apps in 2023, up 3% from the previous year. See more stats at TechCrunch

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Time’s up (for now)! 

We’re here to help you make sense of all things mobile. Have specific questions? Get in touch with us here, or visit our website.

Wishing everyone a successful start to 2024!

- The Median Team

*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and GoNative.io LLC or its affiliates. Median.co is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
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