Apple has announced their latest software update will include self-destructing messages, a move set to send shivers down the spine of Snapchat’s 23- and 25-year-old founders.
While it’s just one of the many updates revealed in the iOS 8 updates announced at Apple's annual developer conference in San Francisco, this feature has caught the imagination of the tech industry, as well as the legion of Apple users who have Snapchat accounts.
More than 700 million messages and photos are shared on Snapchat each day. These digital missives appear for a total of 10 seconds before disappearing.
Not only are self-destructing messages the core of three-year old company’s offering, selling ad space to their momentarily captive audience is the central pillar of their commercial strategy.
With a host of high profile investors who’ve put more than US$120 million behind the company, co-founders Evan Spiegel, 23, and Bobby Murphy, 25, have a lot to prove.
The company recently turned down a US$3 billion cash acquisition offer from Facebook, with Spiegel declaring he wasn’t interested in short term gain.
“There are very few people in the world who get to build a business like this,” Spiegel told Forbes.
The pair armed their staff with a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War after the freshly rebuffed Facebook launched their photo sharing app Poke.
But they may need to find another major morale booster. Spiegel is weathering a public rebuke after sexist and derogatory emails from his recent college days were leaked, while Apple has 15 per cent of global market share for phone users.
While this may not sound like much compared to Android’s staggering 80 per cent, Apple users are concentrated in countries such as the US and Australia, where Snapchat’s core users live.
As of January this year, Apple users made up 35 per cent of the Australian smartphone market, according to Kantar Worldpanel research.
The company also maintains the entire ecosystem of its products, including approving apps for sale via iTunes.