What’s Coming for Mobile Apps?

October 22nd, 2019 by Heather Maloney

Over the past 6-12 months you may have noticed the following trends in mobile apps, and mobile devices:

  1. Biometric capability has improved and become more frequently incorporated into the hardware and operating systems of mobile devices, including unlocking through face recognition.
  2. Improved recommendations supported by artificial intelligence (‘AI’) – Spotify suggested music is an obvious example, but the AI used to analyse the vast amount of data gathered by the tech giants is leading to greater accuracy across a whole range of applications; we will be oblivious to many of these.
  3. Increased in-app advertising, including at the start and in the middle of video content in the YouTube app (although you can pay to go ad-free) and in amongst search results in the Google Search app. In addition, the ads presented to you will have been more relevant, including closely tied to your previous online activities – this is another outcome of AI.
  4. Reduced access to free games; increasingly the free component of a game is very basic.
  5. Two-factor authentication is being insisted upon by a greater number of apps. Bottom line; it is more secure.
  6. Increased support for Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
  7. Dark Mode – the ability to change the look of your application to a dark background with light text over top – has become broadly available due to it causing less eye strain (in darker environments) and also because it reduces energy use (if your screen is OLED or AMOLED technology).
  8. Proliferation of betting apps.

And of course, the 5G network and 5G devices became available in major Australian cities.

So what is next? We expect the following features to be added or improved in mobile apps over the short to medium term:

  • Biometric Authentication – we expect it to become more commonplace that authenticating into an app will support face or fingerprint recognition, using these settings already present on your smart phone. In addition, we expect that more apps will not require any authentication if a recent biometric authentication has taken place.
  • Improved Graphics and Faster Processing – the standard chipset in Android mobile phones (and Windows laptops) is moving away from ARM to Cortex-A76 which the manufacturers expect will increase the performance of the devices by 30 – 50%, and mean that they will be faster than Apple devices, with better battery performance. This will allow support for improved graphics to be incorporated into mobile apps. Improved performance is also necessary to run apps which provide virtual reality and augmented reality. We expect to see more apps incorporating augmented reality such as product visualisation for consumers, learning a new task for students, and immersive navigation supported by Apple’s patented augmented reality mapping system.
  • In-app Advertising will grow with more apps utilising this revenue model, or providing a subscription option to switch off ads.
  • Beacons will be increasingly used to advertise to nearby customers when sales and customer-specific offers are available. (For more details about bluetooth beacons).
  • Wearables – more apps will be built to enable use of the apps on wearables such as smart watches, including more apps which function standalone, that is, without needing to have a smart phone nearby operating as the hub. This is to meet the demands of the growing wearables market. (“Shipments of wrist-worn wearables, inclusive of smartwatches, basic watches, and wrist bands, reached 34.2 million units, up 28.8% year over year during the second quarter of 2019 (2Q19), according to new data from the International Data Corporation” – read full article).
  • Health Apps – more apps will be launched which have the aim of improving monitoring of the health and vital signs of individuals. We expect the information gathered as part of these apps will fuel AI learnings about particular health conditions, which will provide a feedback loop into the search for cures and improved quality of life for sufferers of common diseases.
  • AI will be used to achieve more common tasks, and will continue to improve upon the user experience with the likes of chatbots implemented within apps. By definition, the more these features are used the better they become.
  • Increase in things controlled by Apps (IoT) – more and more things will be able to be controlled by apps, or report their status to apps such as the PlumbGuard app designed and built by Contactpoint.
  • Financial Apps – we expect to see many more apps that address the financial needs of customers; whether that’s banking facilities, budgeting, or payment. Payments via peer-to-peer solutions and using Google Wallet and Apply Pay are likely to increase.
  • Accessibility will be given greater attention. Human-centric design asks not just how would the average user achieve something, but how would a person with a disability carry out the required task?
  • Improved Access to Device Temperature – Android have recently added to the APIs available to apps on its platform the ability to keep track of the heat of the device. This will allow app developers to take action if the device is over heating and therefore improve the user experience.

What would you add to this list?

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