Home Startup Temu’s scorching streak, Walmart’s m-commerce & an Apple XR App Retailer • TechCrunch

Temu’s scorching streak, Walmart’s m-commerce & an Apple XR App Retailer • TechCrunch

Temu’s scorching streak, Walmart’s m-commerce & an Apple XR App Retailer • TechCrunch


Welcome again to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch sequence that recaps the newest in cellular OS information, cellular functions and the general app financial system.

The app financial system in 2023 hit a couple of snags, as client spending final yr dropped for the primary time by 2% to $167 billion, based on the newest “State of Cell” report by knowledge.ai (beforehand App Annie). Nevertheless, downloads are persevering with to develop, up 11% year-over-year in 2022 to achieve 255 billion. Shoppers are additionally spending extra time in cellular apps than ever earlier than. On Android units alone, hours spent in 2022 grew 9%, reaching 4.1 trillion.

This Week in Apps provides a solution to sustain with this fast-moving business in a single place with the newest from the world of apps, together with information, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and far more.

Would you like This Week in Apps in your inbox each Saturday? Enroll right here: techcrunch.com/newsletters

Temu’s continued rise

Picture Credit: Temu

Temu, a buying app from Chinese language e-commerce big Pinduoduo, has been having fairly the run because the No. 1 app on the U.S. app shops. The cellular buying app hit the highest spot on the U.S. App Retailer in September and has continued to carry a extremely ranked place within the months that adopted, together with because the No. 1 free app on Google Play since December 29, 2022. Extra just lately, Temu as soon as once more snagged the No. 1 place on the iOS App Retailer on January 3 and hadn’t dropped since as of earlier this week.

Providing low-cost factory-to-consumer items, Temu supplies entry to a variety of merchandise, together with quick style, and pushes customers to share the app with buddies in alternate without spending a dime merchandise, which can account for a few of its progress. The app has seen 5 million U.S. installs this January alone, up 19% from 4.2 million within the prior 22 days from December 10 by means of December 31, Sensor Tower says. This brings it to a complete of 19 million lifetime installs throughout the App Retailer and Google Play, greater than 18 million of which got here from the U.S.

The expansion now sees Temu outpacing rival Shein when it comes to day by day installs. In October, Temu was averaging round 43,000 day by day installs within the U.S., the agency mentioned, whereas Shein averaged about 62,000. In November, Temu’s common day by day installs grew to 185,000 whereas Shein’s climbed to 70,000, and final month, Temu averaged 187,000 installs whereas Shein noticed about 62,000.

The app seems to be leveraging an analogous progress technique to TikTok, which closely spent on advertising and marketing to achieve customers. In keeping with Meta’s advert library, Temu has run some 8,900 advertisements throughout Meta’s varied platforms simply this month. The advertisements promote Temu’s gross sales and its extraordinarily discounted gadgets, like $5 necklaces, $4 shirts and $13 sneakers, amongst different offers. These advertisements look like working to spice up Temu’s installs. However dig into the app’s critiques and also you’ll discover related complaints to Want, together with scammy listings, broken and delayed deliveries, incorrect orders and lack of customer support. With out addressing these points, which helped deliver down Want, Temu appears extra prone to go the way in which of Want, not TikTok, it doesn’t matter what it spends.

Walmart’s chatbot buying didn’t go properly

Picture Credit: Screenshot of Walmart Textual content to Store

Walmart just lately launched a brand new solution to store: by way of textual content. Final month, the retail big launched its “Textual content to Store” expertise, which permits cellular customers throughout each iOS and Android units to textual content Walmart the gadgets they need to buy from both their native shops or Walmart.com, or simply reorder gadgets for pickup, supply or delivery. Nevertheless, the chat expertise because it stands right this moment doesn’t come throughout as totally baked, our assessments discovered. The chatbot mentioned complicated issues and the consumer interface at occasions was tough to navigate, regardless of aiming to be a less complicated, text-based buying expertise.

We examined the expertise, which leverages Apple’s Message app on iPhone, and it didn’t go properly. The bot responded twice at occasions, provided just a few choices for generic requests like “eggs,” requested everytime if an merchandise was for pickup or supply, supplied inaccurate responses and spoke nonsense when confused — like when it returned choices for “la croix natural eggs.” We’d say stick to the Walmart app for now.

Learn the full evaluation right here.

Apple’s Actuality Professional particulars

May the following large app platform be Apple’s AR/VR headset? That’s the information from Bloomberg, which leaked particulars of Apple’s upcoming headset, the $3,000 Actuality Professional due out later this yr. The headset will try and create a 3D model of Apple’s working system, the report mentioned, and can embrace options like FaceTime videoconferencing (with avatars), the flexibility to look at immersive movies, play VR video games and use Apple’s apps — together with the Safari net browser, pictures, mail, messages, calendar, App TV+, Apple Music, Podcasts and the App Retailer.

The report described an interface with a grid of app icons and widgets, and mentioned Siri could possibly be used if you wanted to enter textual content. Nevertheless, the attention-grabbing particulars concerned how customers may work together with on-screen gadgets. Apparently, the machine would have exterior sensors to research the consumer’s arms and sensors inside to trace the consumer’s eyes. This could permit the consumer to pick out gadgets on the display screen by them, then pinch their thumb and forefinger collectively to activate the duty — with no need to carry extra hand controllers like rival headsets, Bloomberg mentioned. It could additionally have its personal Digital Crown, like Apple Watch, for switching between AR and VR and its iOS-like interface.

Moreover, Apple is reported to be constructing software program that permits customers, together with those that don’t know the way to code, to construct their very own AR apps for its upcoming mixed-reality headset.

There are in fact nonetheless a whole lot of unanswered questions concerning the headset’s capabilities, although it does sound like a really “Apple” try at getting VR proper. However the machine’s value level will make it a premium product in the intervening time — and one launching throughout a down financial system — which may restrict its progress.

Apple Updates

  • The brand new iOS 16.3 replace included notable security measures just like the enlargement of the brand new Superior Information Safety for iCloud characteristic to markets outdoors of the U.S. The replace additionally added Safety Keys for Apple ID and a change to the Emergency SOS name system that now requires customers to carry the facet button with the up or down quantity button after which launch it with a purpose to stop inadvertent emergency calls. The replace additionally fastened a CarPlay bug, amongst different issues.
  • The iPhone 5S additionally acquired a safety replace with iOS 12.5.7, which addresses a vulnerability which will have been actively exploited, Apple mentioned.

Google/Android Updates

  • Google introduced it’s shutting down Optimize and Optimize 360 — instruments that helped entrepreneurs run A/B assessments to enhance their web site or app’s consumer expertise. The instruments will now not be accessible after September 30, 2023. Nevertheless, Google clarified that Firebase A/B Testing, which is powered by Optimize and used for testing app experiences, will proceed to be supported sooner or later and won’t be impacted by this modification.
  • A deadline to goal the newest Android API stage is arriving. Initially, Google’s deadline for builders was November 1, 2022, however it was prolonged to January 31, 2023 to present devs extra time. The change was introduced final yr, when Google additionally mentioned that as of November 1, 2022, present apps that didn’t goal an API stage inside two years of the newest main Android launch model won’t be accessible for discovery or set up for brand new customers with units working Android OS variations larger than apps’ goal API stage.



  • Netflix and Bumble partnered on a brand new courting app expertise that lets customers bond over well-liked TV reveals. The courting app will launch a weekly Netflix question-and-answer recreation that customers can play in opposition to their match to interrupt the ice.

Picture Credit: Bumble

  • YouTube Music launched a brand new beta testing program known as “Listening Room,” the place it invited customers to check out new options. This system was nearly instantly crammed up.
  • Clubhouse launched a brand new characteristic known as Instantaneous Invite, which lets customers invite their buddies to affix Home rooms and lounge conversations with a one-tap invite hyperlink. The corporate hopes the characteristic will cut back the friction concerned with becoming a member of the app.


Messenger end-to-end encryption experience

Picture Credit: Meta

  • Fb Messenger expanded its assessments of end-to-end encryption. The app may also permit customers to reap the benefits of options like themes, chat emoji, reactions, group profile pictures, hyperlink previews and lively standing whereas in E2EE chats. Hundreds of thousands of individuals can be alerted over the approaching months because the E2EE choice turns into accessible.
  • WhatsApp launched a beta model of its macOS app with native Apple Silicon assist. Mac customers with Apple’s personal chip and macOS 11 Large Sur or newer will have the ability to attempt it, in addition to Intel Macs that may run apps constructed with Catalyst.


  • Instagram launched a brand new profile picture characteristic that lets customers showcase each their profile picture and their avatar by providing an interface the place you possibly can flip between each choices.
  • Meta is exploring using AI instruments to make its advert programs much less depending on consumer knowledge, after Apple’s ATT privateness adjustments impacted its advertisements enterprise, The WSJ reported. AI instruments have already helped increase Reels viewership by 20%.

And so forth.

  • RevenueCat launched a large report digging into knowledge across the subscription financial system, powered by its insights into 22,000 subscription-based apps. The report provides actionable insights and never-before-seen benchmarks round components like app pricing, retention, conversion, renewals, trial methods and far more. The entire thing is price a glance right here.
  • Prime U.S. banks are once more planning a cellular pockets to compete with Apple Pay and PayPal, The WSJ mentioned. The pockets can be developed by Early Warning Companies, which can be behind Zelle. The banks tried and did not get an analogous initiative (CurrentC) off the bottom in years previous.
  • Relationship app Match Group revamped its govt management workforce. Among the many adjustments was the addition of former vice chairman of Product at Snap, Will Wu, who will now grow to be Match’s CTO, in a newly created position.
  • Learn-it-later app Pocket, acquired by Mozilla in 2017, revamped its cellular studying expertise with new options. One addition provides extra group and proposals to the Residence tab. It’s additionally rebranding its “My Record” tab as “Saves” and enhancing its performance with filters and bulk edit instruments. The options are launching on Android first.
  • Well-liked wearable Oura Ring up to date its cellular app to combine with one other wearable, Apple Watch. The companion app can show information like Readiness, Exercise, Sleep Scores, coronary heart charge, physique temperature, ring battery stage and extra, much like the iPhone counterpart.
  • Samsung customers are suggested to replace the Galaxy Retailer app on their units because of the discovery of vulnerabilities that may permit a hacker to put in any app from the shop on their cellphone with out their information.
  • Uber Eats added a brand new characteristic that reveals customers how a lot of their private info is shared with the supply particular person once they place an order on the app. Uber correct already had an analogous characteristic known as “View as Driver.”
  • France’s privateness regulator, the CNIL, fined French hypercasual recreation developer Voodoo €3 million for violating the French Information Safety Act. The positive was issued over Voodoo’s use of the IDFV, or ID for Distributors, with out consumer consent on iOS units.
  • The FTC finalized a consent order settling costs that the credit score providers firm Credit score Karma had used darkish patterns to misrepresent that buyers have been “pre-approved” for bank card provides.
  • The FBI and DoJ are investigating Snapchat’s position within the unfold of fentanyl-laced tablets as a part of a counterfeit drug probe underway.
  • TikTok has shifted its method in its dealings with U.S. officers within the wake of presidency bans, after two years of confidential talks with the Committee on International Funding in the USA about ByteDance’s relationship with the Chinese language authorities, The NYT reported. The video app is now happening the PR offensive, extra aggressively lobbying and talking out extra publicly, the report famous.
  • Strava, an exercise monitoring and social neighborhood platform utilized by greater than 100 million individuals globally, acquired European 3D mapping firm Fatmap for an undisclosed sum. Strava goals to combine Fatmap’s core platform into its app ultimately, however for now they’ll stay separate merchandise.
  • Voice AI firm SoundHound raised $25 million in fairness from undisclosed buyers after shedding 40% of workers. A part of the funding can be used to offer laid off workers with severance.

Ivory goes reside

Picture Credit: Tapbots

Tapbots, the makers of the favored third-party Twitter app Tweetbot that was just lately killed by Twitter’s API adjustments, this week publicly launched the corporate’s subsequent new product. Hoping to fill the void that Tweetbot leaves behind, the corporate is now making its anticipated Mastodon shopper app Ivory accessible on the App Retailer as an Early Entry launch.

The “Early Entry” label is a subtitle that Tapbots placed on its launch to point there’ll nonetheless be options lacking because it debuts, the corporate advised us. Nevertheless, by launching publically on the App Retailer, Tapbots is ready to put Ivory into extra individuals’s arms after filling up the restricted variety of TestFlight slots it had for its take a look at model.

For longtime Tweetbot customers, Ivory will provide a well-known expertise. However as an alternative of serving as a shopper for Twitter’s community, the corporate has now embraced the promising open supply platform Mastodon. Although not fairly as easy to make use of or perceive as Twitter, Mastodon has gained traction within the months following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter.

At launch, it sports activities dozens of options, starting from assist for baseline performance to intelligent bells and whistles, like having the ability to theme the app or change its icon.

The app additionally helps a number of accounts, and allows you to view your native and federated timelines, trending posts, publish statistics, notifications and extra. It additionally allows Mastodon-specific choices that weren’t accessible on Twitter — like the flexibility so as to add content material warnings to posts — in addition to extra frequent options, like the flexibility to publish GIFs and polls.

There are different considerate touches designed to enchantment to energy customers, too, like hashtag monitoring, mute filters with regex assist and timeline filters that allow you to present or conceal posts that meet sure standards you set. This might enchantment to Mastodon’s older customers, as properly, who could need to mute and keep away from a few of the posts shared by Mastodon newcomers who’re bringing Twitter’s tradition to the platform, resulting in undesirable posts with out content material warnings of their timelines.

Pestle (Replace)

Picture Credit: Pestle

Pestle, a useful and well-designed recipe app for iOS is getting a notable replace on January 28. The app is including quite a few options for energy customers, together with “Good Folders,” that are robotically created folders that manage recipes based mostly on user-set standards, plus PDF and picture import options. The latter permits customers to import the recipes they’d saved in different codecs, whereas Good Folders simplify the in any other case tedious means of organizing recipes. As an illustration, you might create Good Folders that robotically add any saved recipe with a particular ingredient, or a dessert folder with extra guidelines. The app itself is a free obtain however provides subscriptions of $1.99/mo or $19.99/yr (or $39.99 lifetime) for professional customers.



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