In June 2021 alone, over 34.3 thousand mobile applications were released in the Apple App Store. According to Statista research, the mobile application industry would hit a staggering $808 billion by 2022. Apple’s latest report for the results of Q3 in 2021 reveals indeed very interesting numbers.
Instantly, Apple reports an exciting revenue record: $83.4 billion, with international sales accounting for 67% of it. In other words, app development is a fast-paced and hypercompetitive industry. 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Since its introduction in 2014 to replace an outdated Objective-C, Swift has undergone a series of improvements to make it inherently safe, simple, and fast. It remains one of the most in-demand languages of 2021. Swift isn’t just for Apple hardware. It is available for developing apps that target Windows 10 as well as Apple’s Arm-based Macs, Linux servers, and AWS’ Lambda no-server platform. The last iteration promised 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 version 5.5, 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.
However, there are two most significant features in Swift that benefits it among other programming languages:
It refers to the set of regulations and rules which emphasize the order, as well as inter-dependencies of words, within any programming language. Although Swift has been a segment of objective C, you will come across several differences when it comes to the conditions, invocation methods, cycles, classes, enumerations, and declaration of constants. You will be able to prosper your business by offering an out-of-the-box user experience.
It happens to be the incorporation of open-source libraries containing the solutions for routine jobs and enabling the reduction of application size, thus saving lots of space in the devices’ memory.
For now, Swift has been listed in 15 the most popular languages in September 2021. So, keeping an eye on Swift’s evolution is essential for making a smooth transition and building superior products in the future.
Trend 2: 5G Technology
The topic of mobile app development trends cannot be discussed without mentioning 5G technology. Despite being around for numerous years, 5G has not yet become standard in many areas, but it will by 2022. This will be the next generation of mobile technology, replacing 4G.
According to the most recent data, Apple took the top spot among vendors in the global rankings for 5G smartphone shipments, with 40.4 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2021, and the forecast number of 5G subscriptions worldwide by 2025 will be 3billions.
Besides, the network has lower latency, further ensuring seamless connections. In the mobile app development industry, 5G’s faster connection speeds open up endless possibilities. When 5G becomes more widely available, apps that depend on technologies that require faster connections will receive a much-needed boost. Mobile app development can use this technology in different industries like AR/VR, Smart Cities, IoT, Supply Chain, and Transportation.
Trend 3: Security Enhancements
The standard definition of online security calls it the mix of rules that are followed and actions that are taken to make sure cybercriminals don’t compromise online user data and privacy. 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. It provides many different ways to protect your information while using an iPhone or iPad, but on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 were added even more features designed to be more safe and secure. The email address and internet activity can be hidden, tracking of app permissions are allowed, unsecured passwords monitoring added, and much more. However, while some of these measures will work throughout the system, others may need to be incorporated during development.
These are some of the things that are new with iOS app security:
- Stable Work: Latest security tools make mobile apps much more stable by enabling users to access them quite often.
- Increased Confidence: The latest tools of Apple make App Store applications quite secure, which helps attract a larger customer base.
So, for an iPhone app, the development company that considers its products safe, taking into account such features is not just a viable option but a part of core responsibilities. The apps development company in Singapore learned many tricks about developing safe and friendly applications in order to avoid all cybersecurity risks.
Trend 4: Privacy Enhancements
Along with security, privacy has become one of the main concerns for users and developers alike. Apple, which 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:
- Mail Privacy Protection allows you to hide your IP address and load remote content privately in the background so it is harder to track an Email activity
- App Privacy Report gives you more control over permissions, and the power to revoke them where needed
- Precise Location allows apps to use only your approximate location
- Apple’s iCloud Private Relay – a VPN-like service routes your web traffic through multiple servers and keeps your location private
- HomeKit lets you store encrypted video footage in iCloud
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 requirements 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. There is an entire list of requirements to this information:
- What type of data the app is collecting
- Whether the data can be linked to a specific device or identity
- Whether app design adheres to App Store Connect privacy practices
- Does the app use third-party code
Likewise, 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
The global augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market is forecast to reach 30.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, rising to close to 300 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. These technologies will become excellent and part of the great turn in raising gaming and entertainment mobile apps. 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 takes this concept to a new level by leveraging the hardware potential of the latest iPhone and iPad revisions. In the context of AR, this means the more accurate placement of virtual objects, creating a more believable image.
The new version offers several improvements to iOS 15:
Thanks to the location anchors you can for example place the names of the monuments of a city in their exact position and in Augmented Reality. Also, the user can move around the object and visualize it from all angles.
The use of Augmented Reality allows displaying items without having to download an actual app.
It is possible to track and detect faces to place virtual content on them and even create real-time facial animations.
In ARKit 5 this feature has been improved, allowing now to better capture body gestures and poses, as well as providing improvements in accuracy and distance.
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: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Automatic face identification is no more a feature – it has become a standard. Filters and funny stickers were one of Snapchat’s expert drivers. As machines can identify images and process the natural language, AI-powered specializations in apps should and will develop.
AI applications differ depending on the context. It may be a speech recognition feature, smart filters implemented in the camera, or even an automatic assistant setting up the camera before taking a shot. Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant are amongst the most-known examples of AI-powered mobile apps, but the chances for applying AI in custom mobile app development are limitless.
Also, it is possible to use the smartphone to analyze a working industrial machine’s sound to spot the signs of approaching failure – sometimes the machine’s sound changes only lightly, in the way the human ear cannot stain, but the device is. As has been said, AI is one of the hottest mobile app development trends.
Nevertheless, making an app that would exceed user expectations is a recipe for success. Thus 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. Something to be on the lookout for in the dawn of AI-based products.
Trend 7: IoT and Connectivity
The Internet of Things (IoT) has already permeated the consumer segment and is now conquering the enterprise segment. Still, recently the technology came into the customer market with smartwatches, smartphones, smart home devices, and smart fridges. The IoT market is set to be deserving of up to $1,319.08 Billion by 2026.
Merging the Internet of Things with smartphones makes it possible to provide advanced tools to control their machinery. Smartphones and apps are currently the intelligent centers of intelligent devices to be in the nearest future. Many new mobile devices will force the cross-platform mobile development paradigm in many software development agencies. To build an app running on both a smartwatch and a mobile phone, in the same way, is not that easy.
Still, the Internet of Things is used in logistics, Smart City systems, agriculture to monitor soil conditions, Apple Watch to assist diagnose heart problems, and so on. So that 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%. Apple is actively contributing to this effect with the Apple Watch and its ever-expanding list of apps.
The latest iteration of its operating system, watchOS 8, expands an already impressive feature list:
- Portrait mode photos from iPhone
- The photo collection from your Memories is displayed in a unique mosaic grid
- Photos sharing via messages or mail
- Smart home control
- Security cameras monitoring
- New contacts app
- Focus syncs across your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Mac
- Mindfulness app
- Sleeping respiratory rate
- Fall detection for workouts
- Audio controls
On top of that, it contains some privacy tweaks like an indication of microphone use. Even so, developers should look after the powerful new SwiftUI Canvas API that lets you take advantage of the GPU in Apple Watch for rich programmatic drawing. That being said 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. Wearable technology offers enormous opportunities and we are talking not only about watches, but about bracelets, and even jewelry. With some creativity, it can even be utilized in iPhone game development to create a truly unique experience.
Trend 9: iBeacon and Mobile Commerce
Bluetooth-powered beacons are not new technology itself, but they increase attention, as they enable the connection between the online and offline worlds. The beacons’ functioning concept is such that at regular intervals, they broadcast Bluetooth signals to devices (tablets, phones, etc.) within their range that are Bluetooth Low Energy compliant. According to Grand-view research, the Bluetooth beacon business will be worth $58.7 billion by 2025, with an expected Compound Annual Growth Rate of 95.3%.
For example, the user passes by the business, ignoring the advertisements. The store’s sensors connect to their device and deliver a notification to the user at this point. It can include any type of content, call to action, or basic knowledge. The business can benefit from beacon technology by getting information such as the number of times a customer visits the store or what are his likes. Below you may see the whole process in steps:
|A small wireless device called a beacon periodically transmits a radio signal||The signal is detected by nearby devices by Bluetooth||The device identifies the beacon by its ID number||The server checks the action assigned to this ID and responds||The user receives a personalized offer or message|
As a result, iBeacon is a new trend in iOS app development that helps businesses to enhance marketing in modern ways.
The same situation with M-Commerce (Mobile Commerce) – very beneficial for businesses. It usually uses native mobile apps and should not be confused with e-commerce, which uses mobile web pages. Using a mobile device, consumers or businesses can buy or sell goods and services. Mobile commerce is ready to reach $22 billion by 2022, so the mobile app development industry will focus more on making native apps as the market grows. M-commerce is one of the most promising trends in mobile app development, touching almost all retail industries. According to a study, 71 out of 102 respondents (approximately 69.61%) said that they are using online mobile shopping apps not websites to buy things so there are enough users for new applications to develop. As more consumers switch to mobile shopping, m-commerce apps will become more popular in 2022.
Trend 10: Cloud-based Applications and Blockchain
No list of trends would be complete without a mention of the cloud. Cloud-based mobile applications use cloud computing technology alternatively of the device’s hardware. The operating system no longer restricts you. It may be more comfortable to create a cross-platform application this way. Your mobile device does not need to devote too much production, thanks to cloud storage and processing abilities. 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. Moreover, with the spread of 5G Internet, cloud-based mobile applications will outclass non-cloud applications. Nonetheless, the number of iCloud users growing year on year may be firmly regarded as another major iOS mobile app development trend. And it is a very exciting trend since this enables the program to be more lightweight while ensuring the security of users’ information and as we all know privacy and security are the top priority.
And if your main idea is to build a decentralized database – the blockchain is the answer. These decentralized databases do not require a gatekeeper to be a single service provider or company. Due to this, apps using this technology are more secure since no one individual can access sensitive user data by altering databases so no one would change or delete its records. So what are the main advantages of such a database?
- The high level of user trust: no one can modify the databases in an attempt to get access to sensitive user data
- Easy to develop: no need to re-create the app structure, just adapt ready-made properties to project requirements
Thus blockchain technology will become an essential part of mobile application development in 2022 as security becomes more critical.
These are the top 10 development trends to look up for in 2022. The list is not very long, there are a lot more trends to look after. Development trends are changing quickly, and everyone involved in iOS app development needs to stay tuned for regular ones. One of the iOS development trends that would never lose its relevance would be privacy and security topics.
As the customers would always want their data to be secure and all the activities to be done highly safe and secure. There are more things to consider, but be ready to keep up with the trends that will appear soon or you may not stay as competitive as the market is. If you need a tailored and customized iOS app development, we’ll be happy to discuss your project!