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People Spent an Insane Amount of Money on Apps This Year

4 minute read

Apple users broke App Store records by spending more than $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases this holiday season, the company said Wednesday.

That figure includes money spent during the two week period ending on Jan. 3. New Year’s Day was the biggest day in App Store history, with more than $144 million spent in the 24-hour period.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president who now leads the App Store, said that Apple device users spent more than $20 billion in the App Store throughout all of 2015. That’s double the 2013 figure.

Games such as Clash of Clans and paid video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu were among the highest grossing apps of 2015.

10. HBO Now

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

HBO’s first-ever standalone streaming product gives viewers access to the network’s original shows, from Game of Thrones to Silicon Valley, for $14.99 a month without a cable subscription. It started life as an Apple exclusive, but now works across multiple devices.

9. Snapchat

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

Snapchat has been around since 2011, but this was the year it really took off. The ephemeral photo-messaging app’s best new feature? Stories, which let users build a series of photos and videos that tell the tale of an epic night out or afternoon at the ballpark before disappearing forever.

8. Starbucks Mobile Ordering

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

Almost one in five payments at Starbucks’ U.S. stores happen on the company’s well-designed mobile app. That factor is sure to climb with a recent update that lets coffee drinkers order and pay for their drinks even before arriving at a Starbucks location, meaning they can grab their lattes without waiting on line.

7. Periscope

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

The Twitter-owned Periscope certainly isn’t the first live-streaming app on the market. But somehow, it’s the most addictive. Maybe that’s because streaming video via Periscope makes it easy to get instant feedback from your live audience, letting you know what they want to see.

6. Cleen

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

For many people, smartphones have entirely replaced point-and-shoot cameras. But that means we have lots of snapshots hogging up the precious memory on our devices. Quickly get rid of the photos you don’t need anymore with Cleen’s Tinder-like swipe-to-delete interface.

5. Photoshop Fix

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

Adobe Photoshop has long been the domain of serious imaging professionals. But now some of that power is on your mobile device, too. Photoshop Fix brings some of the image editing software’s best features to your phone, letting you retouch images before sharing them with the world.

4. Microsoft Translator

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

Translation apps are getting increasingly accurate, thanks to cloud processing and other advancements. Microsoft’s latest attempt is one of the best out there, a handy tool for international travelers especially.

3. Pause

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

Most of the time, the stuff we see on our smartphones stresses us out — emails from the boss, missed calls from Mom, and so on. Take a break from all that chaos with Pause, a “mindfulness app” that provides a poor man’s version of meditation on the go.

2. Lifeline

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

Lifeline changes what a mobile game can be, bringing text adventure games into the modern era. Players are “contacted” by a lost astronaut, who you must guide to safety — or to an untimely demise. The $.99 app also works well with the Apple Watch.

1. OneShot

Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME

Sometimes it’s tough to share an article on social media and highlight the exact paragraph or quote you want people to see. OneShot takes care of that for you — just take a screenshot of the page, then OneShot will automatically generate a link and let you share it out with a comment.

Apple is now busy expanding the App Store to new platforms, like the Apple TV. The early crop of Apple TV apps already provide some insight as to how apps behave differently on the TV versus the phone. Fitness app DailyBurn is launching a new workout show just for the Apple TV that allows participants to ask questions in real time. Vacation rental app HomeAway will allow renters to display useful information on the TV for their guests, such as wi-fi passwords and restaurant recommendations.

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