10 iOS App Development Trends to Watch in 2021

10 iOS App Development Trends to Watch in 2021

With Apple’s latest releases and their most recent operating system, the company is undoubtedly making strides in the field of services. In fact, their latest report for the results of Q2 in 2019 reveals some very interesting numbers.

Right off the bat, Apple reports an all-time revenue record: USD 111.4 billion, with international sales accounting for 64% of it. In other words, there’s a growing demand for mobile app development. Singapore has always been at the forefront of the industry and we, as an experienced mobile app development company in Singapore, always try to stay ahead of the curve.

Being one of our core services, iOS app development poses a series of challenges. Hence, it’s very important to be aware of the latest iOS app development trends not only to stay relevant but to provide the highest value for clients. With this in mind, we’d like to take a closer look at some of the trending topics in the field of iOS app development in Singapore and abroad.

Trend 1: Swift Programming Language

Since its introduction in 2014 to replace an outdated Objective-C, Swift has undergone a series of improvements to make it inherently safe, simple, and fast. The upcoming sixth iteration promises to bring even more changes to the table:

  • Expand the software ecosystem by improving compatibility with different platforms and cultivating open-source libraries;
  • Enhance development experience through accurate diagnostics, responsive code completion, and reliable debugging;
  • Refine language capabilities to allow uses in services and machine learning.

Some of the changes have since been incorporated in versions 5.2 and 5.3, while others are still in development. Yet, as is common in mobile app development for iOS or Android, the upcoming changes will require some adaptation before the developers can benefit from them. So, keeping an eye on Swift’s evolution is essential for making a smooth transition and building superior products in the future.

Trend 2: iOS 15

Apple’s devices usually receive updates to their operating systems once per year, give or take. 2021 is not an exception, with iOS 15 already being mentioned in the WebKit code. While we will probably have to wait until the Worldwide Developers Conference in June for an official announcement, there’s little doubt it will be rolled out this year.

It is already possible to get a feel of the upcoming changes to the operating system functionality. For instance, the Control Center is projected to be redesigned to make it more in line with the one from macOS Big Sur. Moreover, biometric authentication will get an overhaul by combining Face ID and Touch ID components. The changes will probably cover all devices from iPhone 7 and up.

Now, at least some of the apps will be affected by these changes. As a rule, more than 80% of Apple devices run on the latest iteration of iOS. This essentially means the iOS mobile app development company might need to update its practices to keep up with user expectations. This is especially true for enterprise applications, where additional security offered by the dual authentication procedure will be a welcome addition. As a leader in iOS mobile app development in Singapore, we consider it a key component of a good application.

Trend 3: Security Enhancements

Striving for data security is a never-ending pursuit, with new vulnerabilities being discovered faster than the known ones are being fixed. So, in addition to issuing regular security updates, Apple also introduces tweaks that create a more secure environment. The most recent examples are the introduction of Family Sharing to avoid disclosing Apple ID and a built-in tool for catching weak passwords.

However, while some of these measures will work throughout the system, others may need to be incorporated during development. So, for an iPhone app development company that considers its products safe, taking into account these features is not just a viable option but a part of core responsibilities.

Trend 4: Privacy Enhancements

Along with security, privacy has become one of the main concerns for users and developers alike. Apple, who was not exactly an example of transparency early on, has since exhibited quite a commitment to privacy throughout its products. The latest version of iOS boasts an impressive list of precautions intended to protect personal data from leaking to external parties:

  1. A persistent notification that indicates the use of a microphone or a camera
  2. The option to share an approximate location instead of the precise one
  3. Permission to access the local network
  4. The ability to configure granular access to photos and files
  5. Clipboard access warning

For users, these are all welcome changes that strengthen confidence in their device and apps installed on it. However, from the mobile app development perspective, certain prerequisites should be fulfilled to enjoy these benefits. For instance, if your app is designed to gather data, you are expected to describe how exactly you are going to use it. In fact, there is an entire list of requirements to this information:

  1. What type of data the app is collecting
  2. Whether the data can be linked to a specific device or identity
  3. Whether app design adheres to App Store Connect privacy practices
  4. Does the app use third-party code

Similarly, the permission to track the user’s location is managed on the level of the AppTrackingTransparency framework, which aims to make the prompt as clear and reliable as possible. Again, in the long term, these changes are equally beneficial for developers and users, so acknowledging them early on is necessary for fostering trust with the audience (and avoiding issues during release).

Trend 5: AR and VR Integration

AR and VR Integration

The augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market shows no sign of slowdown. By 2020, it was already estimated at US18.8 billion – showing a more than 75% increase over the previous year. As you might expect, such a lucrative opportunity is already being noticed by device manufacturers, who are adding the support of technology to their products. Apple is not an exception: their ARKit framework provides a way to integrate iPhone’s camera and motion sensors into an AR-capable application.

The most recent version of the framework, ARKit 4, takes this concept to a new level by leveraging the hardware potential of the latest iPhone and iPad revisions. Perhaps the most exciting news is the support of the LiDAR scanner, which generates highly accurate depth information of the surrounding environment. In the context of AR, this means more accurate placement of virtual objects, creating a more believable image. The new version offers a number of improvements:

  • Creation of scene geometry
  • Near-instant object placement
  • Simultaneous tracking from front and back camera
  • Multiple face tracking
  • Realistic people occlusion

In other words, an iOS mobile app development company that wants to create a top-tier AR application should be familiar with these features.

Trend 6: Machine Learning

Making an app that would exceed user expectations is a recipe for success. In iOS app development, machine learning (ML) is probably the most effective way of doing it. Apple has long focused on innovation, perhaps with the launch of the very first iPhone. Now, we can see the company adapting to the growing demand for AI and ML technology with the Core ML framework.

With Core ML, the app can use data from various ML models in a unified manner and incorporate new user-generated data entirely on the user’s device. The framework can also leverage available hardware resources to optimize performance or fine-tune data from other libraries. Definitely something to be on the lookout for in the dawn of AI-based products.

Trend 7: IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has already permeated the consumer segment and is now conquering the enterprise segment. By 2020, the market size of industrial IoT has already exceeded USD 77 billion. To stay ahead, Apple has introduced HomeKit – a software platform that enables the interaction between iOS and IoT devices. Still, it is worth remembering that HomeKit is not something that will work out-of-the-box. Still, it is a promising direction to explore for iPhone application development that can play out well in the long term.

Trend 8: Wearables

By now, mobile app development has gone far beyond the screens of your iPhone. Wearable devices are gaining more traction by the minute – and are expected to grow even more in the oncoming years at a CAGR of over 15%. In fact, Apple is actively contributing to this effect with Apple Watch and its ever-expanding list of apps.

The latest iteration of its operating system, watchOS 7, expands an already impressive feature list:

  • Sleep tracking
  • Activity data
  • Maps and navigation
  • Family settings
  • Watch faces and complications

On top of that, it contains some privacy tweaks like an indication of microphone use. Even if your company is not targeting the wearable market directly, being familiar with these features certainly helps with making the app more responsive, informative, and convenient. With some creativity, it can even be utilized in iPhone game development to create a truly unique experience.

Trend 9: Apple Pay

Apple Pay

We’ve previously talked about different ways to monetize your mobile app. Still, Apple Pay is a perfect starting point, with a solid foundation of more than 65 million users in 2020. It can be used for a broad range of different payments:

  • Physical shopping
  • Online shopping
  • Club memberships
  • Ticket booking
  • Food ordering
  • Bank payments

Combine this with Apple’s exceptional security and simplicity – and you’ve got a product that has everything to become a de-facto standard in the digital wallet domain. Hence, as a reliable iPhone app development company, we can’t stress enough how important it will be not only in 2021 but in the following years as well.

Trend 10: Cloud Technology

No list of trends would be complete without a mention of the cloud. In Apple’s ecosystem, it is represented by CloudKit, which provides an easy way to move data between apps and iCloud containers. Aside from an impressive 1 PB of storage space for each app, the main strength of CloudKit is simplicity: with the CloudKit dashboard, the developer can monitor activity and manage database schema. So, if you want to benefit from granular control over your app throughout its life cycle – don’t miss out on this bit.

Conclusion

By no means is our list conclusive. There are definitely more things to consider, but we feel as if all of the above will be shaping up iOS app development throughout the year. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re here to help. On the other hand, if you need a tailored and customized iOS app development in Singapore, we’ll be happy to discuss your project!