Has Snapchat peaked? Comscore numbers suggest flat growth in 2014

Snapchat’s user growth seems to have stalled toward the end of 2014, according to new Comscore numbers I obtained on Friday. As you can see from the below graph, Snapchat hit a peak around March 2014 and has slowly declined in unique visitors since then. I’ve reached out to Snapchat for comment and will update this if I hear back.

One caveat: Comscore only reports numbers from the 18 and over user group for legal reasons. Companies like Snapchat and Kik have big teen bases, so the Comscore numbers aren’t 100 percent representative. At the same time, given that Snapchat has saturated the teen audience at this point, the slow growth from the 18+ demographic is troubling.

The trend graph comes from a Comscore Mobile Metrix report that charts the number of monthly active users aged 18 and over in the United States. It looked at five messaging applications from October 2013 to October 2014 — Snapchat, Kik, WhatsApp, Line, and WeChat. It tracked “total unique app visitors,” but Comscore confirmed to me that’s the same as MAUs.

Comscore’s numbers are notoriously fickle and publishers frequently report more traffic than Comscore says they have, but in terms of overall growth trends the company is usually pretty accurate.

Comscore's Mobile Media Matrix 2015

Comscore’s Mobile Media Matrix (shows growth 2013-2014)

It’s not just Snapchat that has flatlined. Other messaging apps are seeing similar stagnation, with Kik hovering near the 15 to 16 million mark since April, WhatsApp at 7 million since March, and Line around 4 million since August. WeChat has been below 1 million since January.

So have we hit peak messaging app overload?

The Comscore graph also shows us where the most popular apps stack up against each other in the U.S. market. Snapchat is in the clear lead, despite flatlining. Kik is a not too distant second, which might surprise some. We also get a sense of WhatsApp’s American user base. The company hasn’t shared its U.S. metrics before, which led many to believe they were low.

But the fact that WhatsApp’s US monthly active users are this low — near Japanese-based Line — is new information.

 

This story has been updated since publishing to highlight the 18+ caveat higher in the post.

Nehalem Mac Pros Getting Hot and Bothered

Naturally, it’s important to every Mac owner that their computer behave itself and work reliably and efficiently. But if, like me, you’ve handed over the extra shekels for a Mac Pro, instead of, say, a MacBook, you don’t just expect reliability and efficiency. You expect — no, you demand — nothing less than Perfection.

It’s unsettling, then, that in recent months, owners of the very latest model of Mac Pro (the “Nehalem”-based machines introduced in early 2009) have been reporting worrying problems with their machines when performing otherwise very mundane tasks.

Let me give you an example. Imagine it’s early morning and, coffee in hand, you take your comfy seat before your 30-inch HD Cinema Display and power-up your gleaming Mac Pro. In no time at all you’re on the Snow Leopard desktop. You fire-up Mail and Safari and, as you prepare to trudge through the messages and articles that have amassed overnight, you decide to play a little light music in iTunes to lift your spirits. Some Beethoven, perhaps. Maybe a little Hans Zimmer. (John Williams is much too stimulating for this hour of the morning.) Read More about Nehalem Mac Pros Getting Hot and Bothered

Reports Surface of Faulty Core i7 iMacs

Shattered glass. Flickering displays. Non-booting machines. So-goes the list of maladies affecting Apple’s brand new quad-core 27” Core i7-based iMacs. Threads over on the Apple Support Discussion forums are alive with complaints and debate by affected users.

After hitting the power button, some owners hear the startup chime, but don’t get to boot successfully to their desktop. One particularly high-profile customer was Engadget, who took delivery of a machine that simply refused to boot. They didn’t even get as far as the teasing chime.

A video has surfaced on YouTube of a machine that does boot, but its display ducks out and “flashes” every so often, rendering it impractical (and uncomfortable) for any kind of actual use.

Several customers are reporting shattered or cracked glass on the bottom left hand corner of the iMac’s huge display. Read More about Reports Surface of Faulty Core i7 iMacs