Apple Giveth App Marketing Features, Taketh Away List Discovery

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Apple-WWDCApple unveiled more ways for mobile app developers to monetize their products, among other announcements, at its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday.

CEO Tim Cook noted during his keynote that the iOS App Store has more than 1.2 million apps and consumers have downloaded more than 75 billion apps. Starting in the fall, app developers will be able to sell their apps bundled together in one purchase, create preview videos of their apps and invite users to beta test their apps through a service called Test Flight.

Apple is also adding an "explore" tab to help users find apps within different categories and a related search function. These enhancements follow changes Apple made to its "Top Charts" list last week in which it slashed the number of apps featured on its lists. Instead of displaying the top 300 apps per section, only the top 150 apps are shown on the paid, free and top-grossing charts.

Developers who had previously relied on their apps being included on the lists for app discovery must use other methods, such as the App Store's search function. Apple also unveiled an upgrade to its SDK called Extensibility that allows apps to share certain features with other apps.

Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi demonstrated how a user could apply Bing's Translate extension to Safari to translate the text on a Japanese website into English, as well as share an item from the page via a Pinterest extension. Federighi added that user data would not be shared between the apps.

Federighi also said that third-party app providers will be able to "take advantage" of the TouchID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone but did not specify how.

About 83% of iPhone owners whose phones include the TouchID feature use it to authenticate their devices, according to Federighi, who added that the actual fingerprint data will not be shared with third-party vendors. An anonymized version of the fingerprint data could serve as another data point to further connect users across mobile devices and channels, especially if it is implemented in Apple's other devices.

There are also rumors that Apple will unfurl enhancements to its iBeacon technology during the WWDC, giving advertisers more ways to connect with consumers.

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