As part of a broader effort to woo mobile developers, Apple just bought app tools-maker Buddybuild. The Vancouver-based startup essentially helps developers recalibrate their offerings to meet consumer demands.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Apple plans to integrate Buddybuild into its Xcode suite of development tools.
From its offices in Vancouver, the Buddybuild team will continue to serve existing customers and their efforts to build, test and ship iOS apps to testers through buddybuild.com.
The service is no longer accepting new customers, however. Additionally, “free starter” plans and Android app development is expected to be discontinued in March.
Increasingly core to its fortunes, Apple recently relaunched its iOS App Store with a major focus on discovery. Coinciding with the release of iOS 11, the new App Store also spotlighted lesser-known developers through interviews and other editorial efforts.
As part of the revamp, Apple also separated games, which brought some order to the App Store’s offerings, and sought to give less flashy apps more room to stand out.
Suggesting a healthy app economy, downloads across Apple’s App Store and Google Play increased more than 8% over the past year, App Annie recently found. New app downloads -- not including reinstalls or updates -- approached 26 billion worldwide, the app specialist found. Thanks to all those downloads, total app revenue approached $17 billion, which represented a 28% annual increase.
There are several factors driving growth in downloads and consumer spend, but the main reason: Users are spending more time with apps, according to Amir Ghodrati, director of market insights at App Annie.
Among Android users, total time spent in apps worldwide came close to 325 billion hours in the third quarter of 2017, which represented a 40% increase.
“This significant uptick in time spent further illustrates the rise in new smartphone users adopting mobile as their primary screen in emerging markets, as well as preference for streaming services across the Entertainment category growing significantly in mature markets,” Ghodrati said in the recent report.