Smartphones have been around in various forms since 1993 (the first one was the IBM Simon), but back then they were out of the price range of most ordinary consumers and were primarily used for business (they were also a LOT bulkier!). In 2007, however, the first iPhone changed everything, launching “the smartphone revolution”, still going today with no signs of slowing down! This revolution has precipitated the explosion in app development and sales – and it’s clear from the data that this is a high-growth sector. So, what can we expect to see happen with apps in 2015? We take a look below.
Apps are a necessity, not a fad
The statistics speak for themselves; the world is going mobile. Smartphone use is expected to hit a global number of 2 billion users in 2015, with 83% of worldwide internet access coming from this source. Of course, a vast number of these users are downloading apps. In 2013, Android and iPhone users accessed an average of 26.8 apps per month, and these apps produce results: mobile searchers are 51 percent more likely to make a purchase and 70 percent of mobile searches for products or services will result in a sale in the near future. These figures highlight the fact that for many of today’s customers, mobile searches are the first point of contact when looking for a product or service. If your business isn’t even on the online marketplace with its own app, it’s virtually invisible.
Apps need to be more targeted
The explosion of apps on the market does have consequences for anyone wanting to launch their own app into the fray. General, multi-use apps will fall by the wayside as offerings need to stand out in a crowded marketplace. This means that when designing an app, you need to be sure who your audience is and how you’ll target them to make sure it finds its mark. This effort is worth it, though, as successful apps offer greater engagement than websites or other forms of social media – users will return to a well-designed app again and again.
Focus on Performance and Responsiveness
Another consequence of the crowded app market is that the user has far greater choice, which leads to them becoming more selective. If users find an app frustrating – for example, it stops working when connectivity drops out, or it’s not responsive across different types of devices – they will often simply abandon it. This means that the more successful app designs of the future will focus on quality and versatility.
App Analytics Become Increasingly Important
More and more, apps will become like a two-way mirror between you and your customers: not only will the customers gather data about you, but you’ll be gathering data about them as well. Plus, the more targeted apps become, the more specific the data you can gather about users. Fitness apps are a good example, with users entering information about everything from their eating habits to the fitness equipment they use. If analysed properly, this data can be extremely useful to you, so it’s important to be clear about what information you need so you can design your app’s analytics accordingly.
The Increasing Presence of Wearable Systems
“Wearables” are technologies that you wear on your person which contain or transmit data. They’re predicted to become more and more a part of mainstream life over the coming year; they’re even tipped by some to be as big as the smartphone. Such developments include Sony’s Android compatible SmartWatch, and Apple’s up-coming Apple Watch. Wearable computing is already used for some applications in the worlds of healthcare and sports where they measure body metrics in real time and external conditions as well such as temperature and weather conditions. They’re yet to take off in everyday life, but author Joseph L.Dvorak thinks that the development of a “killer app” for these devices could be all it takes to tip the balance. Technology pundits posit wearables as the next big thing in mobile connectivity and, if this proves to be the case, then wide-scale app development will certainly follow. However, they are described as a new technological ecosystem, not just an extension of the smartphone mobile device – offering a brand new experience and a new realm of possibilities.