The world of mobile app development never stops. Just when you think you have a handle on the latest industry developments and trends, something happens that topples your strategy and introduces new challenges and opportunities. The best way to stay ahead of this constantly-changing environment is to keep up with these developments and stay ahead of the game, knowing what to expect before it actually happens.
So without further ado, here are 4 mobile app development trends that look primed to shape the industry and market in the year(s) to come.
1) Location-Based Functionality
Just a year ago, Apple's iBeacon was regarded by most developers as a luxury feature, something to smile about without much need to integrate it into custom apps. In 2015, that's no longer the case. Location-based WiFi services, which change the functionality of your app depending on where you are, look primed to become a major player in the app industry.
Imagine going grocery shopping. You don't know where a specific item is located, so you pull up the store's app - which displays an indoor-GPS that allows you to navigate exactly to the right spot in the right aisle to find what you're looking for. As a smaller store, how would you feel about promoting your current sales not just on your storefront, but to customers who just happen to walk past it looking at their phones? All that and more is possible with the rise of Beacons and other location-based functionalities.
2) Mobile Payments
Android and Apple have both introduced their version of mobile payment options, and the use of Apple and Android Pay is rising exponentially. Initial concerns among industry watchdogs that the technology wouldn't be used much by consumers due to security concerns have proven false, as audiences are elated by the possibility to check out virtually or in-store without having to take out their wallet.
If your mobile app is directly connected to commerce or e-commerce, this development could have a major influence on your business. If you implement a mobile payment system into your app right now, it will be a convenient and exciting new tool for your audience. But if you wait until a year from now, you may be the only one of your competitors left that doesn't offer this option, and get left behind in the market place.
3) The Internet of Things
What does the ubiquitous buzzword "Internet of Things" have to do with mobile app development? As it turns out, a whole lot.
As you're probably aware, the IoT is "emerging as the next technology mega trend," with 20 billion devices - from smart watches to refrigerators - expected to be connected to the internet by 2020. Consumers can already control their home's TVs, home security systems, temperature and lights remotely from their mobile device, and that's just the beginning. We're rapidly moving toward a world in which most if not all electronics are somehow connected to the internet to increase their convenience and/or functionality.
So far, so common knowledge. But the impact of this trend on mobile app development has been discussed less, so allow us to enter the conversation. Naturally, a multitude of connected devices means new apps will have to have the capability to operate on these devices in addition to smartphones. If you have an Apple App, you may have already run into this with the new Apple Watch. "Mobile" is no longer just associated with "smartphone" or "tablet;" instead, it can mean a wide range of portable, internet-connected devices, all of which are potential carriers and/or operating systems for your app.
4) Biometric Opportunities
In terms of development trends, this one is similar to the mobile payment options we discussed above. Fingerprint scanning was first introduced by Apple on its iPhone 5s in 2013, regarded by many as a cool but ultimately useless (or at least not very useful) gadget. Fast-forward 18 months, and we're seeing biometric capabilities built into mobile devices of all shapes and sizes.
The opportunities that come with this trend are impossible to ignore. Already, you no longer have to remember a multitude of passwords in order to unlock your phone or download an app. A major reason mobile payments have not become regarded as a security risk is the fact that they're linked directly to your fingerprint, making security breaches infinitely more difficult. For an example, look no further than one of the nation's largest banks: USAA now uses facial recognition apps for user identification.
But we predict that it won't stop there. Systems in which all you need is a part of your body (fingerprint or body parts) to log in or perform an action open the door to much more than just mobile payments. And, as is the case with most of these trends, the key is convenience.
In a constantly-changing app market, keeping up with the trends and continuously adjusting to new developments is key to sustained success. For more information on what mobile app should look like in 2015 and beyond, don't hesitate to contact us! We're proud of our continued success in the market, and would be happy to help you.