Apps

Apple lowers its cut from App Store apps made by small businesses

Developers who earn up to US$ 1 million may take advantage of a lower 15% cut

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Apple recently launched a new developer program aimed at small businesses and indie developers. The major takeaway from the program is the reduced commission rate which will greatly benefit most developers and act as a band-aid solution to problematic App Store policies.

Through the App Store Small Business Program, Apple would only take 15% of the cut from the total revenue generated from paid apps and in-app purchases. This constitutes a 50% decrease in the standard commission rate of the company.

Apple’s rationale for launching the program is to help small businesses and developers during these difficult times. Tim Cook cited the importance of these businesses to the economy and how the App Store creates new opportunities for them. In Apple’s marketing speak, the program will help spur innovation and support entrepreneurs with their “next big thing”.

That, of course, is one way of putting it. This year, Apple’s commission rate of 30% came under fire from a majority of developers who saw that it is too much. Even big-time developers criticized this 30% cut — think Facebook, Microsoft, and Epic Games.

As such, this new developer program could be seen as a band-aid solution to appease these developers calling for a change to the company’s policies.

Eligibility for the program

Comprehensive details about the program will be made public by early December. However, Apple has already laid out the rules for a developer to be eligible for the program. The rules are as follows:

  • A developer must earn up to US$ 1 million by the end of 2020 for all the paid apps and in-app purchases.
  • Developers who signed-up this 2020 will automatically qualify for the program.
  • The standard commission rate of 30% will apply once a developer’s total revenue exceeds US$ 1 million, good for the remainder of the year.
  • Developers whose revenue falls again in the succeeding year can requalify once again the year after.

The standard 30% cut will still apply to businesses and developers earning above US$ 1 million. According to Apple, 30% is the optimum commission rate since it is the standard across app distribution and gaming platforms.

The new developer program will surely boost the earnings of most developers — particularly indie developers — who rely on paid apps or in-app purchases for their income. It is also a welcome move for Apple, especially when its App Store policies are coming under fire recently.

Apps

Google’s Locked Folder can protect your NSFW photos

Protect everything with a password

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Where do you keep your secret photos? Though there are several options for users, the usual storage suspects don’t have the most robust protection against prying eyes. Google, after a Pixel-exclusive phase, is rolling out a password-protected folder feature for all Android users of Google Photos.

The feature will separate selected photos from the main library. Users can then put them inside a password-protected folder. They can also protect against invaders using a fingerprint. When protected, the selected photos won’t show up when scrolling anymore.

Users can toggle the feature on by going into the Locked Folder option in Utilities. Currently, the Pixel’s camera app can take photos and directly send them to the protected folder. Unfortunately, the feature doesn’t work on other camera apps. At least for now, that is.

The feature does have its drawbacks. For one, protected photos are only locally saved. If you somehow lose your phone, those photos are lost forever or worse especially if a third party gets it for themselves.

Obviously, the Locked Folder has its more innocuous uses. But it’s definitely a way to hide NSFW photos.

Google initially launched the feature only for Pixel phones back in June. Of course, as most Android features go, the developers promised a more widespread rollout coming soon after. Well, that time is finally now. The feature is set to roll out sometime this fall.

SEE ALSO: Google starts rolling out Material You apps

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Next Android update is Android 12.1, not Android 13, rumor says

Just a minor update

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One of the highlights of the year is a new Android update. Like clockwork, Google updates the biggest mobile operating system in the world. It’s gotten so popular that the entire industry speculates on the codename each update is attached with even if the company stopped doing them years ago. The hype is there. However, Android users might have to taper their expectations next year. Instead of Android 13, Google might launch Android 12.1 next year.

Reported by XDA Developers, the rumor speculates that next year’s Android update will just be a minor one of the upcoming Android 12 this year. According to one of the publication’s recognized developers, Google attached an “sc-v2” tag for the next Android update, instead of “T” for “Tiramisu,” the internal codename for Android 13. For those who still follow the internal codenames for Android, “sc” refers to Snow Cone, the internal codename for Android 12. As such, it’s natural to assume that the next update is just Android 12.1, rather than Android 13.

It’s been a while since Google released minor updates in lieu of major updates. However, it’s no surprise. Android 12 is already a big update, relative to the past few updates. The update features a revamped design called Material You. Google can believably improve the new update more before launching a major one.

SEE ALSO: Android 12 is Snow Cone

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Apps

Google starts rolling out Material You apps

More coming this month

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There is no one more excited for Google’s upcoming products than Google itself. Though the company hasn’t officially launched its products yet, Google has persistently teased everything in the weeks and months leading to their debuts. Now, the company is slowly rolling out Material You apps ahead of the Android 12 launch.

Material You refers to Android’s design revamp for the upcoming Android 12 update. An evolution of Google’s smooth Material Design, the new design personalizes the user interface and the phone’s apps according to the user’s preferences. Android 12 is all about customization.

Of course, since the update also affects apps, Google is also rolling out apps that reflect the new design. Despite the lack of Android 12, the new apps are coming out ahead of time. Officially announced by Google’s Workspace blog, Google Drive will start the new push with its rollout starting today. After Drive, Google Meet will come out on September 19, and Google Calendar will launch on September 20. Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets have already rolled out a week ago.

The new apps will feature new navigation bars, floating action buttons, and a new font called Google Sans. The new font will make readability easier for smaller font sizes.

Android 12 is set to launch soon. Additionally, Google is already launching teasers for the upcoming Pixel 6 series featuring the new, in-house Tensor chipset.

SEE ALSO: Android 12 will make Chrome more colorful

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