This Week in Apps: Chinese giants take on Google Play, Iowa caucus disaster, TikTok’s power over App Store charts

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever with a record 204 billion downloads in 2019 and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to App Annie’s recently released “State of Mobile” annual report. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

This week, we look at the app making headlines for causing a disaster in Iowa, TikTok’s power to move apps up the charts, all the news from Apple’s new betas, the plan from Chinese mobile giants to take on Google Play, subscription scams, plus app trends and other news.


Iowa’s caucus app was a disaster

A smartphone app really screwed things up in Iowa. The app, built by Shadow Inc., was designed to help the Iowa Democratic Party tabulate votes from the caucuses. But instead of helping, the app failed, causing a massive delay of almost an entire day. According to The New York Times, the app was quickly put together in just the past two months — and wasn’t properly tested.