One of the bigger security announcements from Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this week is Apple’s new requirement that app developers must implement the company’s new single sign-on solution, Sign In with Apple, wherever they already offer another third-party sign-on system.
Apple’s decision to require its button in those scenarios is considered risky — especially at a time when the company is in the crosshairs of the U.S. Department of Justice over antitrust concerns. Apple’s position on the matter is that it wants to give its customers a more private choice.
From a security perspective, Apple offers a better option for both users and developers alike compared with other social login systems which, in the past, have been afflicted by massive security and privacy breaches.
Apple’s system also ships with features that benefit iOS app developers — like built-in two-factor authentication support, anti-fraud detection and the ability to offer a one-touch, frictionless means of entry into their app, among other things.
For consumers, they get the same fast sign-up and login as with other services, but with the knowledge that the apps aren’t sharing their information with an entity they don’t trust.
Consumers can also choose whether or not to share their email with the app developer.
If customers decide not to share their real email, Apple will generate a random — but real and verified — email address for the app in question to use, then will route the emails the app wants to send to that address. The user can choose to disable this app email address at any time like — like if they begin to get spam, for example.
The ability to create disposable emails is not new — you can add pluses (+) or dots (.) in your Gmail address, for example, to set up filters to delete emails from addresses that become compromised. Other email providers offer similar features.
However, this is the first time a major technology company has allowed customers to not only create these private email addresses for sign-ins to apps, but to also disable those addresses at any time if they want to stop receiving emails at them.
Despite the advantages to the system, the news left many wondering how the new Sign In with Apple button would work, in practice, at a more detailed level. We’ve tried to answer some of the more burning and common questions. There are likely many more questions that won’t be answered until the system goes live for developers and Apple updates its App Review Guidelines, which are its hard-and-fast rules for apps that decide entry into the App Store.
1) What information does the app developer receive when a user chooses Sign In with Apple?
The developer only receives the user’s name associated with their Apple ID, the user’s verified email address — or the random email address that routes email to their inbox, while protecting their privacy — and a unique stable identifier that allows them to set up the user’s account in their system.
Unlike Facebook, which has a treasure trove of personal information to share with apps, there are no other permissions settings or dialog boxes with Apple’s sign in that will confront the user with having to choose what information the app can access. (Apple would have nothing more to share, anyway, as it doesn’t collect user data like birthday, hometown, Facebook Likes or a friend list, among other things.)
2) Do I have to sign up again with the app when I get a new iPhone or switch over to use the app on my iPad?
No. For the end user, the Sign In with Apple option is as fast as using the Facebook or Google alternative. It’s just a tap to get into the app, even when moving between Apple devices.
3) Does Sign In with Apple work on my Apple Watch? Apple TV? Mac?
Sign In with Apple works across all Apple devices — iOS/iPadOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch), Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch.
4) But what about Android? What about web apps? I use my apps everywhere!
There’s a solution, but it’s not quite as seamless.
If a user signs up for an app on their Apple device — like, say, their iPad — then wants to use the app on a non-Apple device, like their Android phone, they’re sent over to a web view.
Here, they’ll see a Sign In with Apple login screen where they’ll enter their Apple ID and password to complete the sign in. This would also be the case for web apps that need to offer the Sign In with Apple login option.
(Apple does not offer a native SDK for Android developers, and honestly, it’s not likely to do so any time soon.)
5) What happens if you tap Sign In with Apple, but you forgot you already signed up for that app with your email address?
Sign In with Apple integrates with iCloud Keychain so if you already have an account with the app, the app will alert you to this and ask if you want to log in with your existing email instead. The app will check for this by domain (e.g. Uber), not by trying to match the email address associated with your Apple ID — which could be different from the email used to sign up for the account.
6) If I let Apple make up a random email address for me, does Apple now have the ability to read my email?
No. For those who want a randomized email address, Apple offers a private email relay service. That means it’s only routing emails to your personal inbox. It’s not hosting them.
Developers must register with Apple which email domains they’ll use to contact their customers and can only register up to 10 domains and communication emails.
7) How does Sign In with Apple offer two-factor authentication?
On Apple devices, users authenticate with either Touch ID or Face ID for a second layer of protection beyond the username/password combination.
On non-Apple devices, Apple sends a six-digit code to a trusted device or phone number.
8) How does Sign In with Apple prove I’m not a bot?
App developers get access to Apple’s robust anti-fraud technology to identify which users are real and which may not be real. This is tech it has built up over the years for its own services, like iTunes.
The system uses on-device machine learning and other information to generate a signal for developers when a user is verified as being “real.” This is a simple bit that’s either set to yes or no, so to speak.
But a “no” doesn’t mean the user is a definitely a bot — they could just be a new user on a new device. However, the developer can take this signal into consideration when providing access to features in their apps or when running their own additional anti-fraud detection measures, for example.
9) When does an app have to offer Sign In with Apple?
Apple is requiring that its button is offered whenever another third-party sign-in option is offered, like Facebook’s login or Google. Note that Apple is not saying “social” login though. It’s saying “third-party,” which is more encompassing.
This requirement is what’s shocking people as it seems heavy-handed.
But Apple believes customers deserve a private choice, which is why it’s making its sign-in required when other third-party options are provided.
But developers don’t have to use Sign In with Apple. They can opt to just use their own direct login instead. (Or they can offer a direct login and Sign In with Apple, if they want.)
10) Do the apps only have to offer Sign In with Apple if they offer Google and/or Facebook login options, or does a Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat sign-in button count, too?
Apple hasn’t specified this is only for apps with Facebook or Google logins, or even “social” logins. Just any third-party sign-in system. Although Facebook and Google are obviously the biggest providers of third-party sign-in services to apps, other companies, including Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, have been developing their own sign-in options, as well.
As third-party providers, they too would fall under this new developer requirement.
11) Does the app have to put the Sign In with Apple button on top of the other options or else get rejected from the App Store?
Apple is suggesting its button be prominent.
The company so far has only provided design guidelines to app developers. The App Store guidelines, which dictate the rules around App Store rejections, won’t be updated until this fall.
And it’s the design guidelines that say the Apple button should be on the top of a stack of other third-party sign-in buttons, as recently reported.
The design guidelines also say that the button must be the same size or larger than competitors’ buttons, and users shouldn’t have to scroll to see the Apple button.
But to be clear, these are Apple’s suggested design patterns, not requirements. The company doesn’t make its design suggestions law because it knows that developers do need a degree of flexibility when it comes to their own apps and how to provide their own users with the best experience.
12) If the app only has users signing up with their phone number or just their email, does it also have to offer the Apple button?
Not at this time, but developers can add the option if they want.
13) After you sign in using Apple, will the app still make you confirm your email address by clicking a link they send you?
Nope. Apple is verifying you, so you don’t have to do that anymore.
14) What if the app developer needs you to sign in with Google, because they’re providing some sort of app that works with Google’s services, like Google Drive or Docs, for example?
This user experience would not be great. If you signed in with Apple’s login, you’d then have to do a second authentication with Google once in the app.
It’s unclear at this time how Apple will handle these situations, as the company hasn’t offered any sort of exception list to its requirement, nor any way for app developers to request exceptions. The company didn’t give us an answer when we asked directly.
It may be one of those cases where this is handled privately with specific developers, without announcing anything publicly. Or it may not make any exceptions at all, ever. And if regulators took issue with Apple’s requirement, things could change as well. Time will tell.
15) What if I currently sign in with Facebook, but want to switch to Sign In with Apple?
Apple isn’t providing a direct way for customers to switch for themselves from Facebook or another sign-in option to Apple ID. It instead leaves migration up to developers. The company’s stance is that developers can and should always offer a way for users to stop using their social login, if they choose.
In the past, developers could offer users a way to sign in only with their email instead of the third-party login. This is helpful particularly in those cases where users are deleting their Facebook accounts, for example, or removing apps’ ability to access their Facebook information.
Once Apple ID launches, developers will be able to offer customers a way to switch from a third-party login to Sign In with Apple ID in a similar way.
Do you have more questions you wish Apple would answer? Email me at email@example.com
Bumble files to go public – TechCrunch
The dating and networking service Bumble has filed to go public.
The company, launched by a former co-founder of the IAC-owned Tinder, plans to list its share on the Nasdaq stock exchange, using the ticker symbol “BMBL.” Bumble’s planned IPO was first reported in December.
Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd was on the founding team at Tinder before starting Bumble. She filed suit against Tinder for sexual harassment and discrimination, which was at least somewhat inspirational in her quest to build a dating app that put women in the driver’s seat.
In 2019, Wolfe Herd took the helm of MagicLab, renamed to Bumble Group, in a $3 billion deal with Blackstone, replacing Badoo founder and CEO Andrey Andreev following a harassment scandal at the firm.
The company is targeting the public markets at a particularly heady time for new offerings, with investors embracing venture-backed IPOs throughout late 2020 and the start of 2021. Previously privately held companies like Airbnb, Affirm, and others have seen their fortunes soar on the back of prices that public investors are willing to pay, perhaps inducing more IPO filings than the market might have otherwise seen.
You can read its IPO filing here. TechCrunch will have its usual tear-down of the document later today, but we have pulled some top-line numbers for you to kick off your own research.
But before we do, the company’s board makeup, namely that it is over 70% women is already drawing plaudits. Now, into its numbers.
Inside Bumble’s IPO filing
Let’s consider Bumble from three perspectives: Usage, financial results, and ownership.
On the usage front, Bumble is popular, as you would imagine a dating would have to be to reach the scale required to go public. The company claims 42 million monthly active users (MAUs) as of Q3 2020 — many companies will try to get public on the strength of their third-quarter results from 2020, as it takes time to close Q4 and the full calendar year.
Those 42 million MAUs translated into 2.4 million total paying users through the first nine months of 2020; the percent, then, of paying users to MAUs is not 2.4 million divided by 42, but a smaller fraction.
Turning to the numbers, recall that Bumble sold a majority of itself a few years back. We bring that up as Bumble’s financial results are complicated thanks to its ownership structure.
After the IPO, Bumble Inc. will “be a holding company, and its sole material asset will be a controlling equity interest in Bumble Holdings,” per the S-1 filing. So, how is Bumble Holdings doing?
Medium? Doing the sums ourselves as the company’s S- 1 is fraught with accounting nuances, in the first nine months of 2019, Bumble managed the following:
- Revenues of $362.6 million
- Net income of $68.6 million
And then, combining two columns to provide a similar set of results for the same period of 2020, Bumble recorded:
- Revenues of $416.6 million
- Net income of -$116.7 million
For those following along, we’re using the “Net (loss) earnings” line, for profitability, and not the “Net (loss) earnings attributable to owners / shareholders” as that would require even more explanation and we’re keeping it simple in this first look.
While Bumble saw modest growth in 2020 through Q3 and a sharp swing to losses on a GAAP basis, the company’s adjusted profitability grew over the same time period. The company’s adjusted EBITDA, a very non-GAAP metric, expanded from $80.0 million in the first three quarters of 2019 to $108.3 million in the same period of 2020.
While we are generally willing to allow quickly-growing companies some leniency when it comes to adjusted metrics, the gap between Bumble’s GAAP losses and its EBITDA results is a stress-test of our compassion. Bumble also swung from free cash flow positivity during the first nine months of 2019 to the first quarters of 2020.
If you extrapolate Bumble’s Q1, Q2, and Q3 revenue to a full-year number, the company could manage $555.5 million in 2020 revenues. Even at a modest software-ish multiple, the company would be worth more than the $3 billion figure that we discussed before.
However, its sharp unprofitability in 2020 could damper its eventual valuation. More as we dig more deeply into the filing.
Finally, on the ownership question the company’s filing is surprisingly denuded of data. Its principal shareholder section looks like this:
When we know more, we’ll share more. Until then, happy S-1 reading.
Samsung unveils Galaxy S21 line – TechCrunch
Samsung lowers prices with its latest Galaxy S phones, Google completes its Fitbit acquisition and Beyond Meat is coming to Taco Bell. This is your Daily Crunch for January 14, 2021.
The big story: Samsung unveils Galaxy S21 line
Samsung’s new line of phones includes the S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra, priced at $799, $999 and $1,119 respectively, an across-the-board price cut of $200. Brian Heater writes that the Ultra, in particular, “has one very important trick up its sleeve” — namely compatibility with the S Pen.
All three phones are available for pre-order now and start shipping on January 29.
In addition, Samsung announced the Galaxy Buds Pro, which cost $199 and come with a stated five hours of battery life. And it’s launching a Bluetooth locator, dubbed the Galaxy SmartTag.
The tech giants
Google’s Fitbit acquisition is official — This follows regulatory scrutiny on both sides of the pond.
Amazon’s Ring Neighbors app exposed users’ precise locations and home addresses — The bug made it possible to retrieve the location data on users who posted to the app.
Beyond Meat shares soar after inking deal with Taco Bell on new menu items — Taco Bell announced that it would work with Beyond Meat to come up with new menu items due to be tested in the next year.
Startups, funding and venture capital
Medium acquires social book reading app Glose — Glose has been building iOS, Android and web apps that let you buy, download and read books on your devices.
Tiger Global is raising a new $3.75B venture fund, one year after closing its last — Despite being named Tiger Private Investment Partners XIV, this is actually the firm’s thirteenth fund.
Carbyne raises $25M for a next-generation platform to improve emergency 911 responses — The Israeli startup aims to help emergency services get more complete information about callers, and to provide additional telemedicine services.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
Five consumer hardware VCs share their 2021 investment strategies — Investors are generally bullish on at-home fitness startups.
Poshmark prices IPO above range as public markets continue to YOLO startups — This is the late-2020, early-2021 IPO market in action.
Twelve ‘flexible VCs’ who operate where equity meets revenue share — Founders seeking non-dilutive funding: start here.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)
Tech and health companies including Microsoft and Salesforce team up on digital COVID-19 vaccination records — The so-called “Vaccination Credential Initiative” includes a range of big-name companies from both the healthcare and tech industries.
2020 was one of the warmest years in history and indicates mounting risks of climate change — 2020 either edged out or came in just behind 2016 as the warmest year in recorded history, according to data from U.S. government agencies.
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
Medium acquires social book reading app Glose – TechCrunch
Medium is acquiring Paris-based startup Glose for an undisclosed amount. Glose has been building iOS, Android and web apps that let you buy, download and read books on your devices.
The company has turned reading into a multiplayer experience as you can build a bookshelf, share notes with your followers and start conversations in the margins. Sure, there are social platforms that let you talk about books, such as Goodreads. But Glose’s differentiating point is that the social features are intrinsically linked with the reading features — those aren’t two separate platforms. There are also some gamification features that help you stay motivated as you read difficult books — you get streak rewards for instance.
In many ways, Glose’s one-tap highlighting and commenting features are reminiscent of Medium’s features on this front. You can highlight text in any reading app on your phone or tablet but you can’t do much with it.
More recently, Glose has launched a separate service called Glose Education. As the name suggests, that version is tailored for universities and high schools. Teachers can hand out assignments and you can read a book as a group.
Over 1 million people have used Glose and 25 universities have signed up to Glose Education, including Stanford and Columbia University.
But Glose isn’t just a software play. The company has also put together a comprehensive book store. The company has partnered with 20,000 publishers so that you can buy ebooks directly from the app.
And if you are studying Virginia Wolf this semester, Glose also provides hundreds of thousands of public domain books for free. Glose also supports audio books.
This is by far the most interesting part as Medium now plans to expand beyond articles and blogs. While Glose is sticking around for now, Medium also plans to integrate ebooks and audio books to its service.
It’s a smart move as many prolific bloggers are also book writers. Right now, they write a blog post on Medium and link to a third-party site if you want to buy their books. Having the ability to host everything written by an author is a better experience for both content creators and readers.
“We’re impressed not only by Glose’s reading products and technology, but also by their experience in partnering with book authors and publishers,” Medium CEO Ev Williams said in a statement. “Books are a means of exploring an idea, a way to go deeper. The vast majority of the world’s ideas are stored in books and journals, yet are hardly searchable nor shareable. With Glose, we want to improve that experience within Medium’s large network of engaged readers and writers. We look forward to working with the Glose team on partnering with publishers to help authors reach more readers.”
The Glose team will remain in Paris, which means that Medium is opening its first office outside of the U.S. Glose will continue to honor its partnerships with authors, publishers, schools and institutions.
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