The mobile world does not mean only apps. They are a big part of the picture, but the canvas itself matters just as much - the devices and the operating systems. After all, we wouldn’t be talking about mobile apps without mobile phones, tablets and other smart gadgets.

When looking at the future of the mobile app development industry, we should also take a look at the latest trends in the hardware they run on. These are the key items which you need to know to plan your future updates and new features for your apps.

Following the motto “knowledge is power”, we decided to prepare a comprehensive digest of the latest trends, announcements and developments in the mobile world. These may not be spectacular product or software releases, but they set the general trend for future developments. In turn, these developments will influence app development and what end users will expect from them.

Thus, these are the most recent notable mobile news and trends:

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference Unveils New App Store, Wearable Operating System

The annual Apple WWDC held in San Jose, California between June 5 and June 9 brought to light a new look and new rules for the App Store. This is the most major redesign to the App Store since it was launched back in 2008. The top changes in the looks and functionalities of the App stores are: the Today tab, and a clear separation between apps and games in different tabs. The Today tab will showcase curated newly launched apps.

The iOS 11 will bring new, dynamic styles of UI elements, and this will mean a new approach to app design. These new features will include large title bars which integrate the search function, smoother and more touch friendly swipe actions and landscape style tab bars.

The iOS 11 version for the iPad family of tablets will introduce the Windows-style emulation in terms of multitasking. Thus, users will be able to drag an app from the dock and split the screen, using two apps at the same time.

During the same event, Apple presented watchOS, the proprietary operating system for the company’s range of wearable technology (smart watch). The new version of the OS introduces Siri Watchface (the live voice assistant), fitness coaching through monthly challenges and a new Music search function.

Qualcomm Presents Brand New Fingerprint Sensors at the Mobile World Convention in Shanghai

While Apple and Samsung are still working on the finer details of their own proprietary technology, the mobile components manufacturer Qualcomm unveiled their brand new range of fingerprint sensors at the MWC Shanghai 2017 (June 28 – July 1). This new sensor will be able to read the fingerprint from under the OLED display, glass and metal surfaces.

Compared to older generation readers, which beamed through a 400 microns thick screen, the new Qualcomm device is capable of reading fingerprints from a depth of maximum 800 microns for glass surfaces, and 650 microns for aluminum surfaces. The reader will use ultrasonic technology and will be also able to work in an underwater environment or when the phone display is turned off.

The new fingerprint reader developed by Qualcomm will be available starting this summer on OEM devices and is compatible with the most recent chipsets, Snapdragon 660 and 630.

The International Data Corporation Forecasts a 50% Growth of the Wearables Market by 2021

Smart watches, fitness monitors and GPS trackers are not a passing fad; they will become one of the most in-demand gadgets in the near future. The International Data Corporation (IDC) recently published a report indicating that by the end of 2017 wearable sales will increase by 20.4% compared to last year. By 2021 the total sales of wearable technology will almost double in volume.

The wearables market will expand from the B2C to the B2B environment, creating a new category of users: corporate employees using smart watches and other wearable as business communication and computing devices.

As Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for the Wearables division of IDC, stated: “Expect digital assistants, cellular connectivity, and connections to larger systems, both at home and at work.”

As the wearable technology penetrates the market, device prices will drop. Also, developers will have new opportunities to specialize in building apps for wearable gadgets, enriching the user experience on this new generation of devices.