What feels like decades ago is actually not so long ago. The Apple App store was introduced about 8 years ago and started with around 500 apps. We can now count more than 1 billion apps ranging from utility apps to sophisticated interactive games. Mobile Apps have dominated mobile devices usage for a decade, so what is next for mobile apps?
About 5 years we predicted Mobile usage to become 4 times bigger than desktop usage, and we were right! We now know for a fact that 70% of the internet traffic comes from mobile devices and these figures are unlikely to decrease.
So what's happening? In the Gaming industry the number of mobile users vs desktop users is steadily increasing. People feel more comfortable place last minute bets or in play bets from the comfort of their mobile phones. Multimedia is also a major player in the industry. Our generation has adopted a new way of life since the launch of mobile applications. People tend to spend more time recording their live events than ever before. It's has become a "necessity" to save these memories in the form of a picture or video on your mobile phone. By 2020 the industry is also going to face an other change, most businesses will have access to their company's data through mobile apps on tablets.
But how is all this happening and why?
- Artificial Intelligence
Apps are nowadays mostly about understanding the user's intention or context and providing the right information at the right time. Among the most popular Mobile applications some intelligent applications such as Google Maps is able to identify your location and provide you with intelligent recommendations regarding traffic, weather, flight details, walking distance, etc. For example, using your localisation, your Mobile application can tell you where to take a bus, what the weather looks like and so on.
Mobile applications coupled with Artificial Intelligence are slowly replacing the traditional search features. Many scientists are discussing and debating about how Artificial Intelligence might be dangerous to humanity in the future with tech pioneers all about using machine learning and artificial intelligence to empower humans with knowledge which in turns improves human productivity. For some scientist, artificial Intelligence is reducing the human activity and ability to develop search competencies but for others it is all about amplifying the human intelligence by making us smarter and connecting us with relevant knowledge. Steve Jobs' himself was dreaming of "making the use of personal computer as a bicycle for the mind that could helps unleash the full potential of human creativity and productivity".
- Notifications getting cleverer
The idea of having a screen full of different apps seems outdated. Mobile apps tend to be more independent, thus enhancing the user's experience. Why open an app when you don't fully need it? Phones have notification centers that directly lead the user to the right information, and even let him interact with the app through these notifications (for instance these reply and share buttons we get with messaging apps).
The next step seems obvious. Notifications may turn into mini apps, like cards that are part of the notification center. And that's already what's happening with smart watches and other wearable devices that show relevant content wherever the user is. Apps need to adapt to you, and not the reverse. For instance, GPS applications know when you're driving and many of them won't let you send a message if so. They would adapt their content to make the experience even better.
In general we can say that Mobile app developers are really trying to make our experience easier and smarter by enabling us to have everything without doing anything. Mobile application will in the near future be able to tell us exactly what we want/need without having us asking for anything.
We'll talk again in about 10 years time.
Thank you for reading :)