By adaptive - September 14th, 2015

Google takes Android Pay live, as Apple debuts the new iPhone 6S and a retooled iPad Pro. Andrew Tolve reports.

In this week’s Digest: Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, AOL, Millennial Media, ironSource, Supersonic, BlackBerry, Good Technology, Flurry Insights, Google, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Salesforce, Paper, Camera+ and Qualcomm.

In the news

Five years after launching the iPad as a consumer device, Apple recast its signature tablet as an optimal tool for businesses and mobile enterprise users. There were plenty of other headlines to emerge from Apple's 2015 Fall Event, including the newest generation of the iPhone (as predicted, it’s called the iPhone 6S and 6S plus and features Force Touch, renamed 3D Touch) and a remodeled Apple TV (complete with its own app store), but the iPad Pro was the star. The new device retails for $799.99 and measures 12 by 8.68 inches — big enough to fit two traditional iPads onto one screen when viewed in landscape. iPad Pro takes a page out of Microsoft's book and includes a stylus for graphic designers called “Apple Pencil” and a detachable smart keyboard to make it easy for workers who need to crank out bigger projects at a desk. Apple’s course correction comes as iPad sales have begun to flag amidst consumer excitement for wearables like the Apple Watch and new generations of the iPhone. The iPad Pro will compete with Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note Pro.

In the money

AOL acquired mobile ad firm Millennial Media for $238 million. In-app ads may prove to be the future of advertising, and AOL is keen to keep a leg up with advertisers, agencies and publishers. Millennial Media covers 65,000 apps and has 1 billion global active unique users.

The mobile ad consolidation trend continued with ironSource and Supersonic, which merged to form a mobile ad company with 1 billion global active unique users. The two will do an estimated combined business in mobile ads of $450 million in 2015. Let the era of mobile ad goliaths begin.

In other news

U.S. consumers spend more time using apps than they do watching TV. Say what?!? You heard it right. According to Flurry Insights, Americans devote a daily 198 minutes to apps in 2015. TV consumes 168 minutes. Another shocker from the report: Estimated revenues from in-app purchases will exceed advertising revenues for the first time this year. Report here.

Google rolled out its new mobile payment platform, Android Pay, to Android smartphone users in the U.S. Android phones from T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon will come with the app pre-installed. Google Wallet, Google’s old mobile payment app, will become a Paypal-esque tool for sending and receiving money.

Salesforce debuted Salesforce App Cloud, a platform that allows enterprises to create, scale and deploy mobile apps in a single environment. The platform includes AppExchange, the largest enterprise app marketplace in the world, and a bevy of tools that make it easy for businesses to personalize third-party apps and roll them out to cities around the globe in a unified and compliant manner.

Beleaguered BlackBerry spent $425 million for mobile security firm Good Technology. BlackBerry says it plans to use its latest acquisition to offer a unified, secure mobility platform with applications for any mobile device on any operating system – supported with security that has been certified by governments around the world embedded in every component of the mobility infrastructure.

App makers took advantage of the hype around the new iPhone to roll out new iterations of their apps. Two of the more interesting items on this front:

Version 3.0 of note-taking app Paper allows users to take notes in any media, from text to photos to lists to digital sketches, and collect them in a clutter-free space on their phones. The cool part is that users can synthesize all the different media together into storyboards or presentations — ideal for aggregating ideas.

Camera+, the third-party app that adds layers of utility and features to the standard iPhone camera, went freemium. Users can now download the app for free and get features like a more powerful digital zoom, scene effects, setting exposures and a stabilizer. A full slate of features come with the $3 version.

Finally, the king of smartphone processing chips has turned its attention to drones. Qualcomm debuted a new all-in-one processor that makes it easier for drone makers to streamline their devices, eliminating multiple parts and excess weight and cost in the process. The goal: lighter, smaller, easier to use and more affordable drones for the consumer market. Snapdragon Flight is available today for select OEMs and is expected to be available in commercially available drones by early 2016.

The Mobile Digest is a biweekly lowdown on the world of mobile, combining Open Mobile Media analysis with information from industry press releases.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to Open Mobile Media.

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