The Most Downloaded iPhone App And No, Its Not Facebook

Apple iPhone is one of the top smartphones in the world, and there are millions of apps that one can download from the Apple Store. Even though Facebook-owned Whatsapp messenger is among the top apps that have been downloaded by the Apple users, it is a China-based music video app with the name Tik Tok that tops the chart of the most downloaded app in the world. The app already has 45 million downloads within a matter of three months. It seems that Facebook is slowly losing its top status as other Chinese apps such as Baidu and Tencent are also gaining in popularity quite fast.

Other than Tik Tok and Whatsapp, there are a few other apps that are quite popular. One of them is the Google Map that saw around 22.4 million downloads in first three months of 2018. Another favorite app in the top 10 is the iQiyi created by Chinese tech company Baidu that saw 22.6 million downloads in the first quarter of 2018. According to the company, they have more than 480 million users who spend around 5.6 billion hours every month on their app. Even though Facebook has lost its top position, it is still on the top 10 list on the App Store. Another app that is not far behind is Instagram that has been downloaded about 31 million times in the past three months. Whatsapp, the popular messaging service, owned by Facebook, also has 33.8 million downloads in the first few months of 2018 with 1.5 billion monthly users.

YouTube has continuously been one of the top apps with 35.3 million downloads in 3 months of 2018. The free app comes second on the top downloaded apps list from the Apple Store. While this is the most recent list, it is to be seen if there will be more apps that would be able to overtake the top ones as we move into the second quarter of 2018.

EU Set To Investigate Purchase Of Shazam By Apple

The European Union is made up of almost all European nations, with a central goal of ensuring citizens, businesses’ outputs, and money of all 28 member states can move around freely without excessive restriction.

The EU wears countless hats in terms of regulating business throughout most of the European continent. One piece of headwear that it’s pulled out of the proverbial closet several times recently is that of Sherlock Holmes – that’s the same thing as an investigator, right? – just days ago coming to the conclusion that Google’s search engine and advertising features shouldn’t be under the same umbrella due to shooing away substantial competition due to its self-favoritism in terms of selecting ads put forth by Google itself over its competitors’ media.

Just today, Monday, April 23, 2018, the European Union has kicked off an investigation that looks into the business acquisition of music finder mobile app Shazam by none other than one of the world’s largest companies, Apple.

European Union constituents are worried that the finalized acquisition could very well limit how many options consumers have for selecting music streaming platforms on mobile devices, particularly within the confines of the European Economic Area.

Several countries under the leadership of the EU asked the European Commission to officially make a ruling on whether the merger between the two companies was allowed under the system’s laws. Those countries included Spain, France, Iceland, and Austria.

The European Commission made public that the deal “may have a significant adverse effect on competition in the European Economic Area.”

Apple’s investigation by the thorough, magnifying-glass-wielding, top-hat-wearing Sherlock Holmes lookalike – the European Commission – will be completed by September 4, 2018.

Shazam has grown into quite a popular app since it was founded several years ago. Together, Apple and Spotify – the pair are competitors within the same industry – currently collectively get about one million references from Shazam.

Apple could drown out Spotify’s shares of clicks, which is the primary concern of EU member states.

Apple To Unveil the Latest in its Tablet With Its Latest Design

Even though companies have all but stopped making tablets, there is still another tablet that is on the way that is not a 2 in 1. This is the upcoming iPad from Apple. However, it is not like all of the other tablets. Instead, this tablet has a new design that is a lot like the latest Samsung Galaxy Phone. It has a screen that pretty much takes up the whole surface. The screen is almost 13 inches long which is pretty much larger than most tablets that are available.

Back when tablets have been a big thing, the size of the screen seemed to be 10 inches at the most. Many tablets were sold at as small as 6 inches when it comes to screen sizes. However, there has been changes in the market when it comes to tablets. For one thing, more tablets have been released with keyboards as 2 in 1 tablets. There is not much telling about what is happening with the upcoming iPad. One thing that is certain is that it is going to have to compete with the other tablets which are not similar to laptops with keyboards attached to them.

One thing that people have decided is that for the most part, the touchscreen only device is best left to the smartphones. However, given that Apple knows how to sell the products, it could turn out to be another well selling product. Among the features the new iPad would have is face ID, which is very similar to the features that the iPhone X has. Of course as more information is released, there will be more anticipation for the upcoming product.

Apple’s Recent M&A Purchase Reflects a Departure

Apple recently made a tremendous investment in another company. The tech giant has just spent $400 million to acquire a “music discovery app” known as Shazam. The purchase drew attention not so much for the sale price, but for Apple’s involvement. Apple’s business model does not greatly emphasize the purchase of startup properties.

Apple’s past presents a business model many startups seek to emulate. Steve Jobs’ launch of a startup computer company eventually changed the face modern technology. Apple, despite owing its inception to a successful startup plan, has not chosen to take the reigns of other startups. A common business model in the tech industry is to pinpoint startups on the verge of success and purchase them. Hotmail may be one of the most famous examples of a startup purchased by a major player and then taken to lofty heights. Apple continues to leave that business approach to others.

Mergers and acquisitions do not often factor into the Apple business model. The company continues to focus on spending funds, significant funds, on developing new products and concepts in-house. Exceptions to this approach to take place at times. The purchase of the Shazam app indicates Apple may find certain startups valuable enough to acquire. In 2014, Apple spent a massive $3 billion to acquire Beats Electronics. Overall, the past five years have not reflected significant acquisitions activity.

Apple does things a certain way because the established method clearly works well. Apple’s profits and stock prices indicate current policies. Making drastic changes such as shifting resources to expand mergers and acquisitions might not be the best strategy. Things could change in the future. At this time, however, Apple prefers to remain on its traditional course.

Apple Wants its Machine Learning Research Reaching Masses and Launches a Publishing Site

Apple recently launched a publishing site for its machine learning research to bring its findings on machine learning to the masses. As of now, the Apple Machine Learning Journal has only one paper published, but more posts are expected in the coming weeks. The move by the electronic giant is considered as a new step, as the firm was tight-lipped about its projects and researches until the date.

The blog and its initial post reveal some interesting facts. The reports confirm that the initial research paper was already published on arXiv, an online preprinting repository for publishing papers. It is also concluded that Apple is trying to attract the research talents through the blog as the initial post also contained a link to Apple jobs page at the bottom. Industry experts say that Apple is trying to grab the attention of machine learning through the initiative as most people think Google and Amazon are doing a better job in machine learning compared to the smartphone major.

The research paper published on the platform discusses the possibilities of improving the realism of various synthetic images. The blog discusses different methods applied to improve the accuracy on various machine learning tasks using the refined images. For illustrating the realism of images better, the blog added images, GIFs, and more. It also discusses a unique and inexpensive method developed by Apple to improve the realism of artificial images.

The paper says that the firm had to train its neural networks to identify the faces and other objects in various photos. The company made a collection of synthetic images to train the neural networks instead of going for any image data base of real images. Interestingly, the tech giant applied its unique method to make them more real and claims that the technique offers faster and cheaper option to train the neural network.

The Strange Situation With Tech Stocks

Tech stocks are not exactly doing well lately. Apple has taken a plunge. Netflix is down somewhat. Other stocks are disappointing those who thought they could make a nice return in short order. Tech stocks had been delivering huge earnings in 2017 so assumptions tech would keep doing well were not exactly off the mark. The massive growth of Amazon revealed that tech stocks were good bets. Early June 2017, however, shows the tech world is not the proverbial hottest ticket in town anymore.


The industry does present bright spots along with stocks doing fairly well. Nvidia stock performed excellently despite the overall downtrend of the market. While Apple lost 3% of its worth, Nvidia’s price climbed quite high. In less than a year the stock went from below $50 a share to over $149. That is one massive return.


The word “bubble” is being used a lot these days. Specifically, analysts great and small keep talking about a “tech bubble.” The concept of a stock bubble centers on the notion the bubble expands in the form of increasing value and then bursts. The bursts reflects and immediate and massive decline in stock value price.


Bubbles can and do occur. A cursory glance of the past 100 years of financial history reveals instances of bubbles and their subsequent crashes. Assumptions that a tech bubble is possible make sense, but so does the notion these assessments are overstated. Apple, for example, is a multi-billion dollar company that has been around for decades. Apple generates untold billions of dollars in revenue each and every year. The idea that Apple — or Google or Amazon — will experience a major crash and never bounce back is possible. Is it probable, though?


Apple Shares Continues to Drop

Technology stocks in the US are on the plunge since Friday last week. Among the companies that have been affected most is Apple whose shares fell by 4 percent today. This happens to be the second day running as Apple had recorded a stock fall of 3 percent on Friday. This means that the technology giant has recorded a 7 percent decline in the last two business days. However, experts say that the Monday decline was as a result of the action carried out by Mizuho. Mizuho decided to downgrade their stocks to neutral which resulted in Apple’s shares dropping from $160 to $150. However, the managing director of Mizuho said that they believed that things are about to change and the stocks will pick in the coming days.


On Friday morning at around 10: 40 am, Apple stocks had dropped by 2.9 percent and they were worth $144.65. Correctively, the stocks fell by a margin of 2.9 percent on Friday. Apple stocks finished the day on Thursday at a high of $154.99. However, experts say that Apple gains in the coming weeks will be limited by the expectation that iPhone 8 will be bought by many customers across the globe. Since consumers are expecting the release of iPhone 8, they will not buy any iPhone in the coming months until the new model is released. Customers are also hopeful that the new iPhone will incorporate the new OLED display technology. However, customers do not expect to incur any extra cost on this feature.


Experts also say that Apple expansion in China will remain weak. At the same time, sales in India are expected to remain low as many people in the country cannot afford Apple devices. However, the company will experience growth in revenue in the coming two years. At the moment, Apple is estimated to have overseas cash holdings of $170 billion. The hard economic times facing the company is a sign that the market is currently characterized by volatility.


Will Apple User’s Loyalty Extent To The Company’s New Payment Platform?

Later this year, iOS 11 users will finally be able to send peer-to-peer payments with iMessage. While Apple is going after PayPal and Square, only users with iOS devices can use iMessage, while the PayPal and Square apps are compatible with both iOS and Android devices. Banks also are offering P2P payments through their apps. Since more people are using Android smartphones as opposed to iOS smartphones, iMessenger will have a relatively small market when you consider that iOS users who want to send P2P payments may already use PayPal, Square or another service, like Venmo, and not see any reason to switch. PayPal is by far the most popular P2P platform, however, if no one in an individual’s circle of friends uses PayPal, splitting the check in a restaurant can be awkward. Apple’s new P2P payment system is limited to iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch users.


Apple’s iMessenger could be simpler. Peer-to-peer payments go through Apple Pay but they occur in iMessenger. Money moves to an Apple Pay Cash Card, which lives in Apple’s Wallet app. While slightly confusing, iMessenger is already the most popular app from Apple, so users will find the P2P payment system familiar to them. Apple users are very loyal to the brand as well.


When Apple filed for the patent for its P2P payment platform, the company indicated that they might offer users the ability to send money through emails and telephone calls as well, although there was no announcement about these features yet.


P2P payment services typically do not generate revenue for the companies that offer them, however, experts speculate that Apple may use their new offering to generate enthusiasm for the Apple Pay service, which has not been exceptionally popular.


Apple’s Business Chat Brings New Competition to Facebook

Apple is always on the move and always innovating. Maybe that is why the stock price seems to do so well so consistently. Debuting new products absolutely helps Apple succeed in the tech marketplace. The recent arrival of the new Business Chat continues the legacy of Apple’s ability to give the tech-craving public something else it wants or needs.


Business Chat is a rather generic name, but the name does get across what the new program does. The goal is to help facilitate business and customer service communications. The broader goal is more pronounced. Apple wants to use Business Chat to massively compete with Facebook Messenger. Business Chat is to take over the popular iMessage platform to the next level.


Expanded functions with Business Chat take the program to the proverbial next level and better increase chances for success.


New apps and programs find the road to public acceptance and popularity difficult. People like new things. They like new and improved things even more. What they do not like is uncertainty. Programs and apps bearing a name of a company they never heard of concerns them. With Apple, none of these problems arise. Apple is the quintessential tech company. Millions of loyal customers around the world faithfully purchase new releases. Customers who purchased Apple products for personal or business use in the past are sure to be enthusiastic about Business Chat.


Why did it take Apple so long to release a competitor to Facebook Messenger?


The Apple Watch puts forth an answer. The Apple Watch was bug-riddled and an embarrassment. The branding of the Apple Watch was ruined. Even fixing the watch brings forth no real solution. The name has been harmed in the public’s eye. As a whole, Apple is forgiven but the individual product is ruined. Management doubtfully wants to see the same thing occur with Business Chat.


Choosing to wait until business chat is near perfect makes sense. Apple’s brain trust knows what it’s doing.

Has Apple Gone Too Far?

The executives at Apple just might has pushed a little too hard with their aggressive tactics. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission now want to take a closer look at the way Apple approaches its streaming ventures.

Most notably, Apple played hardball with Jay Z when the entertainer launched a streaming music service. Reportedly, Apple put a policy in place stating any musicians who provide exclusive music for Jay Z’s company would be barred from Apple’s streaming service. This is but one out of many complaints levied at Apple. The tech giant has also been pushing companies to get rid of free services so as not to compete with Apple’s subscription offerings.

InfoMoney mentioned that Fersen Lambranho considers reports of this nature to be shocking. After all, Apple has massive wealth reserves. Why would the company try and bully smaller outfits? Basically, Apple wants to preserve its status and eliminate competition.

Hopefully, Apple will resist the urge to become bullying and greedy.  Then again, Apple may be forced to change course unless it wishes to be sued and/or fined by regulatory agencies.