2013 Prediction Spells Good News for App Industry
According to a Forbes.com article, mobile app developers will have continued job security through 2013. Gartner’s prediction for 2013 is an increase in mobile app store downloads of 102 billion. That’s a 59% increase from last year. But what does all this mobile app craze mean for mobile app developers?
With any increase in demand for a product comes raised expectation for performance and quality. Consumers will no longer be satisfied with an app that simply open a company’s page in the mobile browser and offers a mobile-friendly theme to fit on smaller portable device screens. Consumers continue to demand developers raise the bar in terms of quality and features.
iOS 7 Trends in Mobile Applications
If industry trends follow the precedent set by the recently released iOS 7, mobile apps released in the remainder of this year will feature clean interfaces and bright pops of color to match Apple’s new mobile operating system. While I’ve heard several criticisms of the new OS as looking “kid-ish”, most consumers express acceptance and growing appeal after a few days with the new icons and interfaces. Apple seems to be attempting to bring fun and vivacity back into the streamlined operating system. Only time will tell if this trend is fully embraced by consumers, but many iOS app developers will embrace the change and attempt to follow suit. Apple has already featured a set of apps designed specifically for iOS 7 since the release of the new OS. Third-party apps designed to mimic the look and feel of Apple’s stock apps may enjoy special attention in The App Store.
In addition to more colorful apps, we may see a surge in OCR capable and text-to-speech features in apps. iOS users have come to rely on Siri, and the smoother speech synthesis in the latest OS release has been met with approving nods all around. Such features could increase the popularity of iOS devices with educators and parents, especially for those with dyslexia and other learning challenges that make reading in a traditional way difficult. If the education system fully embraces iOS use amongst students, the mobile app market could explode seemingly overnight. But educators could prove to be a finicky bunch of consumers who expect social sharing, cross-platform access, and easy to navigate interfaces.
Gartner’s Mobile App Forecast
Gartner’s forecast expects 91% of all downloads to be free downloads, not paid. However, the popularity of in-app purchases or “trial” apps that offer a fully unlocked version for a premium mean there is still a large amount of revenue to be generated. We may also see an increase in free apps with paid advertisements, as many free iOS games have adopted this model in the last year. In-app purchases have shown a 27.83% growth increase from last year alone. Gartner also predicts the average Apple iOS user will download about 5 apps per month this year, while Android users’ predicted use is rated at 6.2 apps per month. He also predicts a slight decrease in monthly app downloads by 2017, but in my opinion, a lot can happen in technology and app development in the next four years to affect the market either way and long-term predictions tend to be unstable.
What do you think will happen with the market in the next four years? What features would you like to see become standard in the mobile app market?
Photo courtesy FreeDigitialPhotos.net.