Predicting What’s After the Mobile-App Era

First it was the browser. Now it is mobile apps. What will the next iteration of content consumption look like?

I was recently diving into some interesting statistics that illustrated just how rapid the mobile growth trend is occurring. While doing so, I couldn’t help but think that a new experience will emerge that will change how we receive and take in content.

We all know that eyes and attention are increasingly going to mobile devices, whether it be to phones or tablets. This trend will not change for the foreseeable future.

Standalone mobile apps dominate the manner in which we currently access various content and media.

What we don’t know is if the current way of receiving or requesting information will remain in the near future. Or maybe a better question is whether the current ways should remain.

Context matters.

The devices that we carry with us everywhere should know our location, our preferences and (to some degree) our intentions.

So why do we need to continue to actively seek out content by going directly to an app? In a future of smarter technology, shouldn’t the manner in which we get information or media happen far more seamlessly?

With that said, I know some may automatically assume that Google Now is what I am referring to.

It’s not.

Tools like Now will be extremely helpful in many cases, but it is unlikely that it will be the end-all or be-all for various forms of mobile content like music, social media status updates, daily news, bank account balances, grocery lists, etc.

The various applications that currently live on your phone, along with the companies that make them, need to find a far better way of appropriately pushing information to consumers at the proper times.

At a very broad level, this could be defined as apps being able to recognize when/where I tend to frequently access them and then proactively provide me with information accordingly.

As a rudimentary example, if I immediately check my email and then Twitter every morning when my alarm goes off, why do I still have to do this again every single day? Shouldn’t my emails and Twitter stream automatically open up (in that order) upon the alarm being signaled?

Shouldn’t the content exist far more ubiquitously than within an ‘app?’

This concept goes well beyond the semantics of whether an app is defined as a button that links to content within a phone. It’s about the app not being necessary.

The browser was the interface for accessing all content on the internet. The app is the interface for accessing function-specific content/media.

Doesn’t today’s technology make the need for an access point unnecessary?

So what will the next information experience look like? Intelligent content delivered to you at various points of the day, beyond just your phone.

Because household devices are increasingly getting smarter and the ‘internet of things’ is becoming more pervasive, the process of seeking out content will become unnecessary.

Your phone will talk to your laptop, your air conditioner, your refrigerator, your house. And all these devices will talk back to you and your phone.

The mobile apps on your phone that serve as a control unit will become obsolete because the data will become self-determining. Smart TVs and laptops will push relevant news to you at times when you are home or will defer to your phone when you are on the go.

Social, mapping and review-based apps will disappear as the manner in which you search for things will automatically tie in all these features.

The future will include smarter processes with more seamless integrations.

How far away from that future are we? I would venture to guess not that long.

To be clear, I’m not claiming to have clear foresight into what this future experience of content consumption will look like. I am confidently claiming that a new one will emerge and will likely be the new long-lasting mobile experience.

Any thoughts?

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