Apple today announced record breaking sales for the App Store through the 2015 and 2016 holiday season. Customers spent $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases worldwide from December 21 to January 3rd, "setting back-to-back weekly records for traffic and purchases," according to the press release. The App Store recorded its biggest single-day in sales on Christmas Day before breaking the record one week later on January 1, 2016 with $144 million in downloads.
Hot on the heels of last month's Google Maps update, the company has brought several new features to iOS users. While the last update added spoken traffic alerts to navigation, the most significant new change isn't even listed in the official change notes. Looking at the Google Maps iTunes preview, it's clear the company has added popular business hours and real-time gas prices. But in addition to bug fixes, version 4.13.0 gets offline navigation capability.
Google continues to enhance the iOS version of its Google Maps app, which has recently been updated to 4.12. The free app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users also includes Apple Watch support. The latest update adds a significant feature: real-time spoken traffic alerts in navigation mode. Ever since Google acquired the popular navigation service Waze over two years ago, real-time traffic alerts have been available in Google Maps. Now drivers will not have to take their eyes off the road to hear about upcoming congestion and incidents on the route ahead.
One of the most convenient ways to pay for iTunes, App Store and other content on iOS devices is through carrier billing. Using this service means that all charges are simply tacked onto your monthly wireless bill. In similar fashion, prepaid subscribers will have costs for music, movies and iBooks automatically subtracted from their account balance. Apple has already started to offer carrier billing to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in select regions.
Only a few weeks after the malware known as XcodeGhost was found to be affecting apps on the App Store, Apple has removed another 256 apps found to be collecting personal user information. The analytics service, SourceDNA, has discovered that hundreds of apps in the App Store were using an advertising SDK from China to collect personal data, such as Apple ID email addresses and other private information used to track users. It is estimated that around one million people have downloaded the apps.