In 2021, consumers downloaded 230 billion mobile apps, up by over 63% from the number downloaded in 2016, five years earlier. In 2025, the market is projected to generate more than 613 billion USD.
If this comes as a shock, then you probably haven’t been paying attention. We spend our lives glued to our phones and devices these days, and we get an overwhelming amount of that content we’re so addicted to from apps. Whether they’re social media, entertainment, games, or even utility apps, they captivate our attention like nothing else has — and perhaps never will.
What’s on the horizon for mobile apps?
Trends and News
We are at the precipice of a revolution in connectivity. Yes, 5G is here, and while it’s still being rolled out, it is set to change the very nature of how we leverage our devices forever.
5G is the fifth generation of mobile connectivity standards. Its latency defies imagination. It has extremely high bandwidth. Everything takes place practically instantaneously. For app developers and designers, this is an opportunity to showcase content and satisfy users like never before. In the future, apps will leverage the amazing speed and accuracy 5G can produce — making the apps we’re used to a thing of the past.
We’re already tapping into the power of the Internet of Things (IoT). We use it for our smart devices, from automatic lighting to smart cookers to surveillance. But the IoT is still developing — and it is set to reach new heights.
The IoT is set to create new levels of connectivity across our world, and mobile apps, while only part of the equation, are a huge piece of the puzzle. Connecting smart devices via the internet, the IoT will forever change the way we interact with everything from our daily appliances to vehicles to entire cities.
3. UX Design
It only makes sense that user experience (UX) should be the first thing app-builders think of when they’re building mobile apps, right? But only recently has the concept of UX design really taken front seat.
Now, the concept of UX design is evolving. Developers recognize that they need to stand out in a saturated market of competitors. So, they’re employing top UX designers to focus on elements like interactivity, responsiveness, visual appeal, and more.
Increasingly, designers are turning to concepts like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) to create truly immersive experiences, no matter what audience they’re trying to reach. We can watch videos in apps. We earn badges and stickers. We feel like we’re truly a part of things.
4. Artificial Intelligence
AI is no longer considered new and revolutionary. Once thought of as the stuff of science fiction, it has now become part of our daily lives. With the AI market projected to reach $70.94 billion by 2023, it is clearly going to play an even more critical role in app development.
AI is responsive. It changes as it gets to know the user — their voice, their face, their habits, and their demeanor. In the future, we will see greater personalization, deeper neural networks, more sophisticated machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, and so much more. You will be hard-pressed to find a successful app that doesn’t incorporate AI to some degree.
5. Beacon Technology
Beacon technology, introduced less than 10 years ago, incorporates Bluetooth chips and sensors to communicate with and send signals to nearby devices. It is one of the main forces behind location-based technology. And we’ve grown to depend on it.
Increasingly, Beacon technology will play a critical role in mobile apps across industries like healthcare, marketing, retail, gaming, travel, and more.
Today, despite their prevalence, many consumers remain unaware of beacons and the fact that they are the power behind, for instance, push notifications. But that could very well change in the future.
Swift is just one of many programming languages used to develop mobile apps, but it is steadily becoming one of the most popular. Used to develop iOS applications, Swift boasts a number of features that are considered unprecedented for languages leveraged to build native apps.
Swift is known for its ability to boost as app’s speed. It also reduces the cost of building the app. But perhaps the most impressive feature is that of Interactive Playgrounds, which enables developers to change a piece of code without recompiling it or fixing errors.
iOS developers are already using Swift for app development — and the use of the language will only grow in popularity.
7. Wearable Technology
When we think of wearable technology, perhaps Fitbits and Apple Watches are the first technologies that come to mind. But their applications are extending far beyond monitoring your heart rate and keeping track of your step count.
Wearable devices can now monitor local air quality. They can detect early signs of cancer. Smart tattoos are even in the works — meant to identify sleep disorders, heart and brain activity, and more.
Wearable technology, which pairs with mobile apps to showcase data collected about various activities, is growing and developing — and could mean a huge impact on sectors like healthcare.
8. Super Apps
A multipurpose application that offers an all-encompassing, feature-packed platform is the natural progression of the tools we use every day. So, it only makes sense that we’re headed toward something that may have seemed inconceivable in the past: the super app.
Once upon a time, apps were meant to serve a single purpose, fulfilling a specific need. But we’re foreseeing a time when all-in-one apps will replace — or at least supplement — single-purpose apps. These super apps, or mega apps, are set to meet a wide variety of consumer needs, performing a number of tasks that you previously would have needed a vast array of apps to fulfill.
Some people point to Snapchat as one of the earliest iterations of the super app. Once simply a tool for sharing pictures, today, it encompasses nearly 30 mini-apps within the platform. There are, however, risks associated with the rise of the super app — most notably privacy concerns, which are, of course, risks associated with any app that collects information about users, which is most of them.
Calling the future of mobile apps promising is a huge understatement. Already, apps have revolutionized the way we live and consume content. And in just the next couple of years, that will escalate, reaching new heights.