Week 2

Galaxy Unpacked. February 1, 2023. Live on Samsung.com

Galaxy Unpacked. Samsung announced the first Galaxy Unpacked of the new year. The new Galaxy S series will be unveiled on February 1 at 12:00pm CST. As recent leaks have suggested, we may see a bump up in RAM and storage as well as new color options. Checking Samsung.com, the company has already opened up for pre-orders — which teases an updated night mode for the camera array (and also teases a new Galaxy Book). The live stream can be watched on Samsung’s YouTube channel.

Apple 2023. Mark Gurman made predictions on what the Apple 2023 roadmap will look like. Specifically on the mobile side, no major changes are expected for the iPad or Apple Watch as Apple focuses more on mixed-reality. This will also likely mean lighter features for iOS 17 & iPadOS 17 as the company is expected to focus more on xrOS. The iPhone, however, should see the Dynamic Island expand across all models. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Instagram… will be reportedly removing the Shop tab from the main navigation. The company, which has been testing since September, said the Shop tab will be replaced by the Reels tab and will move the New Post button to the center tab. More than a UI update, the change suggests as a pivot away from its social commerce strategy in favor of its core business model of paid advertising. This is a good example of how a company’s business goals are reflected in the app architecture.

Twitter… made the algorithmic “For You” tab the default feed on iOS. The ability to switch between feeds was moved from under a sparkle icon to permanently affixed tabs and renamed “For You” and “Following.” Presumably, the change was motivated by a desire to boost engagement (see also: Twitter API breaks), but it seems to have only caused frustration as the new owner continues to search for an alternate business model. This is a bad example of how a company’s business goals are reflected in the app architecture.

Surface Duo. Microsoft’s dual-screen smartphone could pivot to full foldable. Like the foldables produced by other OEMs like Samsung, Oppo, and others, the next generation Duo is speculated to house a single continuous internal display with 180º hinge. In addition, this change is reported to have happened after the designs for the Duo 3 had already been finalized — which had a shipping date of lat 2023. However, the move further demonstrates the company’s commitment to foldables and the part they could play in enterprise technology.

From the Desk of…

Data.ia’s annual report, State of Mobile (2023), dropped last week (I knew it would be out soon and had linked to it in the previous issue). As per usual, it’s a pretty lengthy assessment of the mobile landscape and is much more than I can cover here. I encourage you as a fellow mobile enthusiast to take a look on your own (note that the web experience is much more robust than the PDF version).

At a macro level year, New App Downloads increased 11%, Daily Time Spent Per User increased 3%, Mobile Ad Spend increased 14%, and Total Hours Spent increased 9% (year over year). In terms of raw numbers, that’s 255B downloads of new apps, 5 hours spent daily, $336B in ad spend, and 4.1T hours spent total. Those are some impressive numbers to bring into the next conversation of “is mobile worth it?”.

Focusing specifically on the app economy, we are seeing things slow down with a decrease in App Store Spend to 2%, which translates to $167B spent in App Store, Google Play, and third-party Android (in China). Even with the downward trend, that’s still a solid number for industry that’s seen nothing but growth since its inception. Also worth noting that the tightening of consumer pockets affects gaming apps more as users view non-gaming apps as essential.

The takeaway here, I think, is just how integrated mobile is into the lives of users. So much so that, like other products and services viewed as essential, they’re willing to continue paying even while the economy is less favorable.


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