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Invisible apps could be the future, but is that a good thing?

Invisible apps could be the future, but is that a good thing?

August 17, 2015

The way we interact with apps is changing.

In the future, we might not even “interact” with many applications at all, on our iPhones and iPads. At least, not in the way we’re familiar with. Because “invisible apps,” that is, applications which allow users to perform tasks without requiring access to a native application or mobile website, really are taking off.

Check out this essay, “The Burgeoning Invisible App Market,” and see what you think. Here, Omar Bohsali outlines the current state of the invisible app market, and he also offers predictions for its future. Admittedly, as someone who lives in the United Kingdom, invisible apps aren’t something I’ve been using (few have launched this side of the pond). But the premise is simple enough. Bohsali uses Digit, the money-saving service, as an example:

Digit is an invisible app that automatically moves money from your checking into your savings account. If they keep delivering on the user experience and keep a rock-solid, secure foundation, they could be poised to be the savings bank of the future.

Digit works automatically, without input from the user; in this way, it’s “invisible” — you’re not manually making transfers, but instead provide authentication for Digit to make smart, educated, algorithmic transfers from your regular account into a savings account. Digit understands overdrafts, it understands your spending habits, and through transferring small (or, in some cases, larger) amounts between accounts, it can help users save a lot of money. There are great success stories with Digit, and I can’t wait for it to launch here in Britain.

Other invisible apps allow users to book transport or order food through messaging services like WhatsApp, or even SMS.

Bohsali sees invisible apps as being hugely beneficial for the end user. He also identifies some challenges facing the market in its current incarnation. Yet from where I stand, it seems curious to me, at the same time, that we’re seeing apps and services emerge which can’t be found using a simple App Store search. I’m used to seeking something out using the iOS App Store application on my iPhone and iPad, but with invisible apps, this can’t happen. At least, not yet.

Are invisible apps the future? Only time will tell. For now, take a look at Bohsali’s article.

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