Go to any of the app stores and look around at the top app categories and you’ll notice that many are entertainment, productivity or messaging/communications related. Lately, AR apps have become popular as well but this could be temporary. We say this because eventually, many apps will have AR built-in.
Is there a theme to most of the top apps? Yes. Applications you would or could use quite often.
What is worth noting is business apps – or those which replicate functions of a search engine such as hotel booking aren’t generally at the top.
Why? Well, how often do you really need Expedia? Are most people on a plane every week? No. So why do you need an app that you might use a few times a year?
Some years back we at TMC launched an event focused on HTML5, the technology which allowed developers to build cross-platform apps called DevCon5. The idea behind the event was, not all sites needed custom apps. It had great momentum until Mark Zuckerburg made a public comment about how HTML5 sucked.
And he was right. For Facebook, it sucked. Why? Because native can generally do more than web-based apps. And people were spending hours a day in Facebook. For this and other apps used for so much time, a web substitute isn’t as good.
But we were right with our vision for the event. We don’t run it anymore but we understood that eventually the web would win. We were right. At least for a lot of solutions.
As evidence, we present the fact that Delta is retiring its iPad app. We admit, this isn’t really evidence but one imagines the airline has analytics that shows 99% of people don’t travel enough to download and use an app on their iPad to interact with their airline.
Granted, the iPhone Delta app is still alive and well and works on the iPad but at least this shows us that appmania craze is at least slowing, if not stopping.
Speaking of Delta, the company really was ahead of its time. It developed an innovative augmented reality feature in 2013 – allowing passengers to see through a glass bottom on their flight on the iPad app. We never tried this feature because we thought it might scare us to death – perhaps this too is why the app was discontinued. Users were developing heart conditions or at a minimum, using their airsick bags more often.
Many predicted the web was dead and then that it wasn’t. But in reality, tech hangs on longer than we think and often evolves to meet the challenge of newer and more exciting disruptive technologies. Today’s web development environments with responsive designs can be quite amazing and most people may not even be able to tell the difference between web and native apps. This is certainly the case for us when we use one of the two YouTube apps on our iPhone X. We can’t really tell the difference. Part of this of course has to do with tremendous broadband and processor speed increases.
Although we weren’t planning on writing a New Year’s prediction piece at this time, we will go out on a comfortable limb and state in 2018, we’ll see more ink devoted to how the web is evolving and that dedicated apps just aren’t all that important.