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Apple Continues to Dominate Local App Economy

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The biennial 2023 App Economy Report by the Progressive Policy Institute was released today. And again, Apple’s iOS platform is the standout performer in Australia. iOS is by far the most lucrative platform for developers when compared with Android’s Google Play Store.

THE PPI REPORT HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

  • There are 174,000 jobs in the iOS ecosystem within Australia, a gain of 81% compared to 2017.
  • Jobs in the iOS ecosystem within Australia have increased 27% from 2021 to 2023 – the highest percentage increase shown between any years since the report was first published 2017. 
  • There are 174,000 iOS jobs compared to 166,000 Android jobs. 

The report said in detail, ” PPI analysis shows the number of Australian App Economy jobs rising to 182,000 as of August 2023. That’s a gain of 61% compared to our 2017 estimate. Our methodology also enables us to identify jobs by mobile operating system. We find 174,000 jobs in the iOS ecosystem, a gain of 81% compared to 2017. We also find 166,000 jobs in the Android ecosystem, a gain of 90% compared to 2017.”

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

At the same time Apple has announced the 2023 App Store Awards, recognising 14 apps and games chosen by the App Store’s Editorial team. App Store Award winners were selected from nearly 40 finalists for delivering exceptional technical innovation, user experience and design.

“It’s inspiring to see the ways developers continue to build incredible apps and games that are redefining the world around us,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This year’s winners represent the limitless potential of developers to bring their visions to life, creating apps and games with remarkable ingenuity, exceptional quality and purpose-driven missions.”

2023 App Store Award Winners

Apps

iPhone App of the Year: AllTrails, from AllTrails, Inc.

iPad App of the Year: Prêt-à-Makeup, from Prêt-à-Template.

Mac App of the Year: Photomator, from UAB Pixelmator Team.

Apple TV App of the Year: MUBI, from MUBI, Inc.

Apple Watch App of the Year: SmartGym, from Mateus Abras.

Games

iPhone Game of the Year: Honkai: Star Rail, from COGNOSPHERE PTE. LTD.

iPad Game of the Year: Lost in Play, from Snapbreak Games.

Mac Game of the Year: Lies of P, from NEOWIZ.

Apple Arcade Game of the Year: Hello Kitty Island Adventure, from Sunblink.

Cultural Impact Winners 

Apple’s App Store Editors also selected five Cultural Impact winners, recognised for their ability to drive positive change through apps and games.

Pok Pok from Pok Pok

Designed with inclusivity in mind, Pok Pok is a digital toy room for kids, offering a universal space for preschoolers of all backgrounds and abilities to play, explore and see the world as one.

Proloquo from AssistiveWare 

An accessibility app pioneer for over a decade, AssistiveWare’s Proloquo is creating augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools that help the world communicate in new ways.

Too Good To Go from Too Good To Go 

Too Good to Go enables users to minimise food waste by connecting them with restaurants and stores that have a surplus of unsold food at an affordable cost.

Unpacking from Humble Bundle 

Unpacking mixes meditative puzzles to create a soul-soothing triumph around familiar experiences of change and connection.

Finding Hannah from Fein Games GmbH 

Finding Hannah is a colourful coming-of-age, hidden-object game with inclusive and heartfelt tales that explores the power of healing and self-discovery.

The 15-year-old App Store is home to 1.8 million apps. It was responsible for US$1.1 trillion in developer billings and sales in 2022.

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AI

WWDC 2024: Apple Intelligence

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Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is underway in California and yes, AI is the feature item. ChatGPT is part of the package but not all of it. Apple has been using a types of AI to perform tasks like photography for some time but now the tech giant is all in with generative AI.

AI NOW MEANS

“APPLE INTELLIGENCE”

Apple Intelligence will be available later this year when integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia. Private Cloud Compute adds computational capacity between on-device processing and larger, server-based models that run on dedicated Apple silicon servers.

“Our unique approach combines generative AI with a user’s personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

SIRI

Siri gets a badly needed overhaul thanks to Apple Intelligence. One of the main issues with Siri has been the lack of integration with the iPhone’s features and lack of understanding of context. That’s all changing with AI. We can look forward to more intelligent language capabilities, plus more natural and more effective communication.

If you hesitate or stumble, Siri can follow your conversation while maintaining context from one request to the next. Impressively, users can type to Siri, and switch between text and voice – nice. It can even give tech support by answering questions about how to do something on the iPhone or iPad.

Siri also looks different. It will light up around the display edges when active, giving a clear indication that it is listening.

Siri will be much more useful thanks to AI. If a friend texts a user their new address in Messages, the receiver can say, “Add this address to his contact card.” Siri will work across apps too.

I often run into trouble trying to play a podcast via Siri I’ve been listening to since 2006. Now I can say things like, “Play that podcast that Mick recommended,” and Siri will locate and play the episode, without the user having to remember whether it was mentioned in a text or an email. Or, “When is Mum’s flight landing?” and Siri will find the flight details and cross-reference them with real-time flight tracking to give an arrival time.

If Siri delivers on all these changes in real life, while I’m driving my car, I’ll be doing cartwheels to celebrate.

CHATGPT

Later this year ChatGPT access will be integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia but Apple’s put a deliberate roadblock in place. Users will be asked before any questions are sent to ChatGPT, along with any documents or photos, and Siri then presents the answer directly.

Privacy protections when using ChatGPT include the obscuring of IP addresses and OpenAI won’t store requests. ChatGPT’s data-use policies will apply when users connect their account. Apple users can access it for free without creating an account, and ChatGPT subscribers can connect their accounts and access paid features right from these experiences.

ChatGPT will be accessible from Apple’s Writing Tools ecosystem and through Compose, users can also access ChatGPT image tools.

PRIVACY

Apple has always been big on privacy. Sometimes it’s held the company back while others have made profitable use of our previous personal data. To make AI work on a device it needs to get to know us. Know our habits and preferences.

This requires trust.

On-device processing is a big part of that for Apple and the iPhone for example is a very secure device to run AI. To run more complex requests that require more processing power, Private Cloud Compute extends the privacy and security of Apple devices into the cloud to unlock even more intelligence.

With Private Cloud Compute, Apple Intelligence can flex and scale its computational capacity and draw on larger, server-based models for more complex requests. These models run on servers powered by Apple silicon, so that only data relevant to the user’s task is processed on Apple servers, but never stored or made accessible to Apple.

PHOTOS

You’ll be able to search through your photo library using natural language. Using Apple Intelligence anyone can search for “Dick surfing in a red shirt,” or “Jessie with ink on her face.”

A really handy feature will be searching within videos. You’ll be able to find specific moments without having to scroll through hundreds of minutes of video.

Just like Android AI devices, iOS users can use the new Clean Up tool to identify and remove distracting objects in the background.

Memories allows users to create a story by just typing a description. Apple Intelligence will choose the photos and videos, create a storyline and arrange them into a movie. AI will offer song suggestions to match from Apple Music.

During this process all photos and videos are kept private on device.

WRITING

Users can rewrite, proofread, and summarise text they write, including Mail, Notes, Pages, and third-party apps. AI will allow users to choose from different versions of their written content.

MAIL

In Mail there’s a new Priority Messages section at the top of the inbox. Instead of previewing the first few lines of each email, users can see summaries without needing to open a message. When it comes to long threads, key details can be selected and Smart Reply gives suggestions for a quick response, while AI identifies questions in an email.

NOTIFICATIONS

Priority Notifications appear at the top of the stack to show what’s most important. Summaries help users scan long or stacked notifications to show key details right on the Lock Screen. To stop notifications from being a distraction – Reduce Interruptions – will only show notifications that might need immediate action, like an urgent medical call.

TRANSCRIPTION

In the Notes and Phone apps, users can now record, transcribe, and summarise audio. When a recording is initiated while on a call, participants are automatically notified, and once the call ends, Apple Intelligence generates a summary to help recall key points.

IMAGE PLAYGROUND

Image Playground allows users to create images in three styles: Animation, Illustration, or Sketch. It’s a dedicated app which also operates within apps like Messages. In Notes, users can access Image Playground through the new Image Wand in the Apple Pencil tool palette. You will also find it in Keynote, Freeform, and Pages plus third-party apps.

GENMOJI

Something I’ve always wanted to do on the fly is create my own emoji. Now we can. Users can create an original ‘Genmoji’ just by typing a description or based on their photos of friends and family. As with emojis, Genmoji can be added inline to messages, or shared as a sticker or reaction in a Tapback.

AVAILABILITY

Apple Intelligence is free for Apple device users, and will be available in beta as part of iOS 18iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia later this year in U.S. English.

Some features, software platforms, and additional languages will arrive next year. Apple Intelligence will be available on iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and iPad and Mac with M1 and later, with Siri and device language set to U.S. English.

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App Store

Australian Floods a Reminder to Keep Disaster Apps Up-to-Date

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One of the many dangerous aspects of flooding comes well after the rain has stopped and the blue skies return. This was the case in Queensland and NSW after an intense downpour over a short period last week.

Well after the rain had stopped, rivers were still rising as runoff snaked across the waterlogged soil. Residents were being urged to keep their phones charged and up-to-date with the latest apps that could save their life.

So, what apps should we have on our phones during a flooding event?

BOM

The first app should be Bureau of Meteorology. Nationally, people should install the BOM app for Apple and Android devices and setup your notifications. You can select three locations for constant updates.

You can also select from list of warnings, including flood and fire.

As I discussed with Tim Gilbert on Sky News Weekend Edition, many people may not have this app on their phone because the native weather app serves their daily needs. But when it comes to emergencies, the BOM App is a resource that all Australians should have on their phones.

BOM – iOS

BOM – ANDROID

HAZARDS NEAR ME

In NSW, the Hazards Near Me App shows disaster areas on a map which really helps to visualise the scope of the emergency. The icons vary from ADVICE, WATCH AND ACT TO EMERGENCY WARNING which essentially means evacuate. It even gives a time when to leave.

You also create a watch zone for your area or where a family member lives. This is by far the best app to use in an emergency, if you live in NSW.

HAZARDS NEAR ME – iOS

HAZARDS NEAR ME – ANDROID

EMERGENCY PLUS

Emergency Plus is the other app all Australians should have on their phone. This shows all the emergency contacts and their numbers.

Emergency Plus comes with the what3words feature built in. Triple Zero (000) callers can confirm their exact location without having to read out a long string of coordinates.

The app will change your coordinates into a simple three word phrase. what3words has divided the world into 3 metre squares and given each one a unique three word identifier.

EMERGENCY PLUS – iOS

EMERGENCY PLUS – ANDROID

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App Store

Blackmagic Camera Update Includes a Vital ISO Change

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The updates are coming thick and fast for Blackmagic Design’s awesome Camera App for iPhone.

Today’s Blackmagic Camera 1.2.1 update adds additional support for flipping images both vertically and horizontally when using SLR lenses. This means when working with SLR lenses which invert and flip the image, your footage will now correctly display on your iPhone, making it easier to frame your shot.

But the big deal for me is the ISO change. The update allows the user to select the lowest supported ISO on the iPhone.

“But the big deal for me is the ISO change.”

This is important because in bright sun, without an ND filter or adjustable aperture , iPhone users must use a fast shutter speed to expose correctly. This means abandoning the 180 degree shutter rule which can lead to horrible motion results, especially for subjects like water.

So by selecting a far lower ISO, like 34 in the example pictured, we can get the shutter down to 1/250 at 50fps. This gets us much closer to our target of 1/100 at 50fps.

The update also improved handling of LUTS so when you import a duplicate LUT, Blackmagic Camera will ask you whether you want to save a copy or replace the LUT already on file.

There’s still more work to be done, but it’s extremely promising to see Blackmagic Design put so much work into this free app.

It truly makes the iPhone a pro camera in you carry in your pocket.

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