App Development Trends in 2024: Unlocking the Future to Scale Business

app development trends - featured image

In 2024, having a mobile-first, customer-centric approach will help companies thrive in a fast-paced mobile app industry. With over 6.9 billion smartphone users worldwide estimated this year, it’s unsurprising that mobile apps will play a major role in different industries.

In fact, mobile apps are becoming the lifeblood of every transaction, and expect that innovative solutions will spring out from them this year and beyond.

While generative AI remained the focal point in the tech space last year, join me as we unwrap app development trends in 2024 that will shape how companies build products and services.

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML)

APT2024: Image of a team working on AI/ML

In mobile app development, AI and Machine Learning (ML) drive dynamic and responsive applications. With AI and ML adoption, app developers can harness substantial processing and learning capabilities. Developers can transform apps into context-aware tools that provide convenience to users.

Being context-aware means that app developers can create apps that can detect and react based on the data they can access, whether it’s a tailored push notification based on the user’s interaction with the device or location-specific weather forecasts and navigation assistance on Waze for driving or Strava for outdoor activities.

All these point back to users. With constant developments in AI and ML, including generative AI sparked by the rise of multimodal AI models like GPT-4 and GPT4-V, they can help mobile app developers and publishers armed with the best app development tools build dynamic, creative apps to enhance the overall user experience.

2. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

APT2024: Image of AR/VR in real life

AR, or Augmented Reality, enhances the real world by overlaying virtual elements onto it. VR, or Virtual Reality, is a technology that immerses users in a simulated, computer-generated environment. Brands like IKEA, L’Oreal, Walmart, and H&M are capitalizing on AR to leverage customer experience automation.

In a business context, Facebook has launched Horizon Workrooms, a VR software for Oculus Quest 2, specifically created to enhance remote meetings. The platform has already been successfully employed for internal meetings within the company. Of course, tech giants like Apple and Google are also capitalizing on these technologies.

For instance, Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore empower developers and streamline the creation of AR/VR experiences, sparking a wave of innovation. ARKit 6, the latest release, introduces a 4K video for capturing high-resolution AR experiences, ideal for professional video editing, film production, and social media apps.

Google’s ARCore comes with Geospatial Creator, wherein developers can visualize, build, and launch captivating 3D digital content in real-world locations. With access to the same 3D map source as Google Earth via the Map Tiles API, developers can craft immersive experiences using real-time localization and augmentation.

In travel and tourism, the Singapore Tourism Board uses Geospatial Creator to curate an AR-guided tour, breathing new life into the city-state’s iconic landmarks, shops, and historical monuments.

I could go on with examples of how AR/VR is used in the physical world. But the bottom line is that they unlock endless possibilities and out-of-the-box features to enhance app interfaces.

These mobile app trends are not going away soon — they will be a catalyst of innovation this year and beyond.

3. Blockchain Technology

APT2024: Image of blockchain code

Blockchain is like a digital ledger that keeps track of transactions or information. Instead of being stored in one place, it’s spread across many computers called “nodes.”

Each time a new transaction happens, it gets added to a “block” of information, which is then connected to the previous blocks, forming a chain. This chain of blocks creates a secure and transparent record of all the transactions, making it difficult to alter or tamper with the information. It’s like a shared database that everyone can trust without needing a central authority to oversee it.

Blockchain technology is increasingly used in mobile application development because it can make data transparent, traceable, and secure. It’s helping businesses, big and small, make mobile payments faster and safer. It’s also used in software development to improve supply chains, make products easier to track, and create faster and cheaper items.

By using blockchain as a decentralized record of transactions and product journeys, retail apps can provide trustworthy information from start to finish. This prevents fraud and counterfeiting. For instance, Walmart uses blockchain to track products like mangoes, which makes the process faster and allows for quick response to contamination concerns.

The demand for software developers will increase as blockchain, in its nascent stage, attracts more talented people to work on different on demand apps and technologies.

As of December 2022, there were over 23,000 active developers involved in blockchain technology in the US. Experts predict that this number will skyrocket to 1 million by 2030. It’s a rapidly growing field.

4. Super Apps

APT2024: Image of super apps inspiration in a mobile app

Super apps provide multiple services, making things easier and more convenient for users. They have features like messaging, digital payments, food ordering, and trip booking — all these are in just one mobile app. Aside from simplifying the user experience, they encourage greater user app engagement and app retention.

The best example I could think of and a pioneer in this field is China’s WeChat. When I lived in the Mainland a few years ago, I was fascinated by this Swiss army knife-like app that does everything for me.

I could pay bills, book a taxi, pay for groceries at a local store, connect with friends, and share anything on the WeChat Moments feed.

Fast forward to today, and now companies are exploring super apps to make a customer’s experience seamless. WeChat has become an essential part of daily life in China, with over 1.3 billion active users each month.

So, what’s in it for businesses? This integration simplifies a customer’s digital life by reducing the number of apps they need, saving device space while transacting with greater convenience. Super apps also help businesses make sense of customers’ preferences — through data collated using just one app.

Facebook’s main app now includes Meta Pay, Marketplace, Gaming, and more, which suggests that the social media giant is actually considering building a super app-like platform.

In my observation, super apps have the potential to seamlessly blend with society, offering a single platform for a wide array of personal and commercial interactions. But localization of features must match the target region’s lifestyle and digital habits, that’s why they are dominant in Asia, China, and Africa, and they are still in the early stages in the US.

5. Low-Code/No-Code Development

APT2024: Image of a man creating a website

Low-code/no-code development is one of the mobile app development trends this year as it makes app creation faster and easier. These platforms use visual tools and drag-and-drop features, so both professional developers and non-tech folks can quickly make and use apps. Businesses need to adapt and innovate in a rapidly digitizing world, and this democratization of app creation helps them do just that.

This trend is actually being used in shopping app development by some brands that need basic yet functional online stores. For example, mobile app builders for Shopify are simplifying the process of building online and mobile stores, resulting in speed to market. In just a few weeks, you can launch the store — even a service provider like Vajro says a brand can have a functional one in just 60 minutes.

There is growing competition among tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon in the low-code/no-code development arena. Microsoft’s Power Apps platform is at the forefront of this trend, followed by Google’s AppSheet and Amazon’s Honeycode. These platforms have the potential to make software development accessible to everyone and empower those without technical expertise.

Using app- and AI website-building tools that don’t require deep technical knowledge allows businesses to respond faster to market demands and customers. It’s a faster, simpler way to bring ideas to life.

6. Internet of Things (IoT) Integration

APT2024: Image of an IoT inside home

In 2024, integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) into mobile apps is a major trend. It changes how we interact with technology and the physical world. With IoT integration, our mobile devices and watches connect to the internet, giving us more control and convenience in our daily lives.

Imagine you have a smart home automation app on your smartphone that connects to various IoT devices in your home. With predictive analytics in IoT devices, you can control your home’s temperature, lighting, security systems, and even kitchen appliances from anywhere in the world.

For instance, if you’re leaving work and want to return to a warm house, you can adjust your thermostat remotely through the app. If you’re on vacation and want to check on your home, you can view live feeds from security cameras or receive alerts if any sensors detect unusual activity.

IoT in app development has a promising future. It brings advanced solutions through integrated technology. As IoT evolves, we’ll see more apps controlling devices and using data from IoT devices for predictive insights and smart automation. By integrating IoT with AI and ML, apps become even smarter and cater better to user needs.

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IoT app developers must understand IoT protocols and possess hardware and software development skills. Familiarity with programming languages like JavaScript, Python, and C++ is helpful. Using an IoT application development framework can assist in managing tasks like data collection, processing, and transfer.

7. Cross-Platform Development

APT2024: Image of Google's Flutter website on cross platform development

Source: Flutter

Cross-platform development will be pervasive in the mobile app development industry this year and beyond. It means developers write one code and use it on multiple platforms like Android and iOS. This approach simplifies the app development process and is increasingly becoming popular among developers and publishers because there’s no need to write separate code for each platform.

Facebook developed React Native, one of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks. React Native allows developers to create native-like apps and progressive web apps using JavaScript, a widely known and used programming language.

Google’s Flutter is also another open-source framework that uses the Dart programming language and is known for its versatility, allowing developers to build apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and more.

With cross-platform development directing the trajectory of how to build mobile apps, there’s less need for separate development teams for each platform, which can significantly reduce labor costs.

However, app developers must also invest time in upskilling to be knowledgeable about these frameworks.

8. Cybersecurity

APT2024: Image of a man securing servers

Cybersecurity has become a critical trend in app development due to the increasing reliance on digital solutions.

As the threat landscape evolves with more sophisticated cyber-attacks, such as ransomware and phishing, focusing on cybersecurity during app development is essential to protect sensitive data and maintain user trust.

Cybersecurity is important because mobile apps handle personal and financial information, which can be targeted by cybercriminals. To protect against data breaches and comply with regulations, developers need to incorporate strong security measures.

A significant development in the realm of cybersecurity is Cloud Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPPs). It’s a single platform that makes it easy to secure cloud applications. It focuses on embedding security from the start and provides a comprehensive approach to cloud security.

CNAPPs are great for cybersecurity because companies can innovate and scale apps in the cloud while staying protected from cyber threats.

By consolidating multiple security tools into one platform, CNAPPs simplify the application lifecycle and provide valuable security insights. This approach helps organizations adapt to changing threats and save costs using a comprehensive platform.

I believe the CNAPPs can simplify compliance in the future. They provide security controls that help companies meet regulatory and compliance requirements. With CNAPPs in action, they can identify and fix security vulnerabilities, ensuring applications comply with standards like PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, and more.

9. Ethical AI and Responsible App Development

APT2024: Image of a robot driving a car

The development of ethical AI and responsible practices is gaining attention in the field of app development. As AI becomes more integrated into everyday technology, it has the potential to impact society profoundly.

This has led to a growing recognition of the importance of transparent, accountable, and value-aligned AI systems. Concerns about bias, lack of transparency, job displacement, and the need for control drive the focus on ethical AI.

Ethical AI in app development focuses on creating AI systems that are fair, transparent, and safe. This means preventing biases and ensuring equal treatment for everyone. It also involves developing AI systems with a clear purpose that aligns with ethical guidelines. Trust is essential, and we want to realize the benefits of AI without causing harm or inequality to humanity.

Google co-founded Frontier Model Forum (FMF) to develop AI models safely and responsibly. Additionally, they established a $10 million AI Safety Fund to support research in this field. Moreover, Google set up the Google AI Red Team, which tests AI models and products to ensure security and privacy and prevent abuse.

Another endeavor in this direction is Microsoft’s Responsible AI Mitigations Library and Responsible AI Tracker for promoting ethical AI use. They have also created the Accelerate Foundation Models Research (AFMR) global network to advance ethical AI development.

That said, app developers and tech companies have huge tasks ahead as they take part in embracing ethical and responsible AI use. They should integrate ethics as an ongoing learning process not just for themselves but also for the team members. It’s not a single event, it must be part of their daily routine.

10. Voice User Interfaces (VUIs)

APT2024: Image of a woman talking to a voice over assistant

Last but not least, voice user interfaces (VUIs) let you use your voice to control apps, which makes it easier and more natural to interact with technology. Instead of typing or touching a screen, you can talk to it like you do with your friends.

This means you don’t need to be an expert to use technology, and it’s accessible to people with disabilities, too. Plus, speaking is generally faster than typing — it’s a quicker way to get things done. In the future, we’ll be talking to our devices more and more, making technology simpler and more user-friendly for everyone.

Virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa have transformed how we interact with technology. They let you interact with your devices using voice commands — you can search the web, set alarms, and get the weather, all by talking to your device.

As of this time, voice-activated customer support services are a major advancement. Businesses use VUIs to improve customer support beyond traditional methods. Instead of menus and long waits, customers can talk to the system. This simplifies interactions, making them efficient and user-friendly.

Axis Bank has introduced voice AI for their call center, allowing customers to use their Alexa devices to perform various tasks like checking account balances, blocking credit cards, ordering checkbooks, and reviewing transactions. This saves time for service personnel and makes it convenient for customers to resolve issues independently.

Voice-based customer support is becoming increasingly popular. Voice bots meet the basic customer needs of time urgency and language connection, helping customers effortlessly learn about products and services. In fact, around 41% of customers feel like they’re talking to a human or even a friend when using voice-activated devices.

To create user-friendly voice interfaces, developers must focus on understanding user needs. A well-designed voice interface should support natural conversations, be aware of the context, and anticipate user needs.

For developers, prioritizing user research and design considerations will help them create products that have VUI features in the future.

Work With App Developers That Can Adapt to Ever-Evolving Technologies

It’s evident that the rapidly evolving world of technology will continue to shape and transform our lives in more ways than we can imagine.

As we look towards this year, these app development trends — AI/ML, AR/VR, blockchain, super apps, low-code/no-code development, IoT integration, cross-platform development, cybersecurity, ethical AI and responsible app development, as well as voice user interfaces — are set to have a massive impact on businesses and industries around the globe.

That’s why it’s essential to work with mobile app development services that are not only experienced but also adaptable to the ever-changing technologies that drive our future.

After all, where tech trends go, customers often follow. You might need a solid partner to help you thrive in this ever-changing landscape.

Appetiser’s expertise in app design and development makes us an excellent growth partner for entrepreneurs and innovators looking to take their app ideas to the next level.

With a mobile app development company like Appetiser by your side, you can step confidently into 2024 and beyond, knowing that your business can adapt and scale with the right tools and technologies.

After all, the best way to get ahead is to serve your customers best.

Let’s embrace the future together. Contact us today for a free consultation on your next big idea.

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