With iOS 13, Apple plans to introduce an array of new and updated features for iPhone and iPad users. The most noticeable change will be the system-wide update to the dark mode that will mirror the company’s Mojave macOS.
But there is more to iOS 13 than just good looks. It represents a major shift in the company’s focus on app usage and performance, augmented and virtual reality, privacy and security, and, most importantly, user experience. And these areas are also where the future of mobile iOS app development will take place in the coming years.
Current App Download Statistics
Mobile apps have now been around for years, but the general consumer still seems to be interested in what they offer. The old Apple commercial that used to boast “there’s an app for that” is truer now than ever with over 2 million apps available on its App Store. But research shows that even though users may have up to 35 apps on their device, they tend to delete more apps than they use.
Still, in 2017 alone, 178.1 billion app downloads took place and this trend looks like it will only continue to scale upward. By 2025, the number of app downloads may reach 285.2 billion. Most small and large businesses have dedicated resources to have a mobile app. Those that don’t risk a decrease in revenue and market share.
Future App Development is Multiexperience
While Apple tasked its iOS app developers with making improvements for iOS 13, the company is really following a path forged by the industry. Current and future app development focus will be on the multiexperience development experience, which appears to be on developing apps that use chat, voice, augmented and virtual reality, and wearable devices (also known as the internet of things).
Of the type of apps mentioned above, conversational apps are the most developed apps followed by voice apps. But in the future, iOS app developers will focus on cloud-hosted artificial intelligence apps, native iOS and Android apps as well as back-end services. So mobile apps are still important for every business and will continue to be the driving influence by 2020.
Low-Code or Instant App Development
Although over 10 billion gigabytes of data has been downloaded by mobile devices, and 189 billion in app revenue is projected for 2020, a majority of consumers download no apps. So, this projection stems from a new approach in app development called Low-code. This new approach involves limited coding with a reliance on third-party application programming interfaces (APIs). At its core, low-code apps will contain a WYSIWYG interface driven by a language that uses human speech rules and patterns. These apps are also referred to as “instant apps” where the user clicks an internet link to install an app on a mobile device.
But there are those in the technology industry who believe the movement toward low-code or instant apps will lower the demand for iOS app developers and other app developers. Business users with a little knowledge (and a ready set of available tools) could create their own custom scripts, even though there will be a need for technical staff to maintain and manage these apps.
Mobile Security and Privacy
In this age of hacking, spam, and rampant identity theft, Apple has responded with stronger security and privacy features in iOS 13. Instead of users being prompted to use a Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, or personal email as a login for many websites, Apple has created “Sign in With Apple” that creates a unique identifier and will store very little of a user’s personal data. The company has also improved location tracking where an app will have to ask for a user’s permission.
Mobile security will continue to be an ongoing concern in the future for Apple and the technology industry as a whole. The company’s and other iOS app developers will use stricter guidelines and emphasize security as an essential part of every app they build.
Apple’s iOS 13 will contain features that follow with the future of technology. By listening to and responding to the needs of users who feel overwhelmed by the number of apps available, Apple and other tech companies will be able to offer a more streamlined, faster, and secure apps. Developers will be at the center of this focus, but how involved their roles will be is hard to say.