While we can’t predict popular apps with certainty, it’s all but guaranteed that with each few months, and each passing year, there will be new “must-have” mobile downloads. Since we’ve essentially just gotten through identifying apps in this category looking back on 2018, we’re taking a stab at the ones that we’ll come to view as essential additions to our mobile devices this year. Again, nothing is certain. But convincing arguments can be made for all of the following (and even if they don’t make year-end lists, they’ll be nice to have on hand!).
1 – Anchor
Podcasts have been around for many years, but really seem to have taken the world by storm in the last two. Not only does everyone seem to listen to them by the dozen, but many of us want to record them as well, which is where Anchor comes in. This is an app described as the “world’s first true public radio” thanks to its capacity to let people easily record and share soundbites, called “waves.” It can be meant for audio note taking, essentially, but it can also help people to cheaply and easily produce their own podcasts. Given that these new-age radio shows are essentially turning into the new blogs and websites, it could be an explosively popular app.
2 – Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
This is our only gaming prediction on the list, and frankly it’s an easier prediction than most others. Most anything with the name “Harry Potter” on it is a huge success, and while this looks to be a bold game concept that could easily be underwhelming upon rollout, the thinking is that it will eventually become a favorite for many millions of mobile consumers. It’s hard to say exactly what the app will do, but the idea is that as the user you become a witch or wizard, capable of performing spells through augmented reality, based on what you see in the real world around you. It may be somewhat silly, it may not work flawlessly right away, but ultimately it may be the first game that really makes Harry Potter fans feel like they’re taking part in the magic.
3 – DraftKings Sportsbook
The United States is embracing sports betting, and right now there’s a relatively small collection of digital sportsbooks usable in New Jersey and a few other states that have already legalized the activity. Some of these sportsbooks are basically divisions of large international companies, but in the American market – and possibly internationally as well – the DraftKings Sportsbook app should have an edge. Building on the company’s existing (and wildly popular) daily fantasy sports platform, it will be seen as familiar and trustworthy to the tens of millions of new American bettors. That will likely make it a very popular and strategic download throughout the year.
4 – ViewBug
Imagine a tool like Instagram or even Apple’s own Photos app, meant for sharing but focused entirely on the images, rather than the social context behind them. That’s basically the kind of service ViewBug is offering. It’s a millions-strong network of photographers (many of whom are simply amateurs like you may be), and it’s all about encouraging and fostering quality visuals. With built-in portfolios and contests, tutorials, and the chance to gain a following, it’s a wonderful tool for all kinds of users, from aspiring professionals to people who simply like to see the world through photos. It’s easy to see this app catching on in a big way, and right now it’s still quite new.
5 – WakingNews Alarm Clock
WakingNews Alarm Clock by Yahoo appears to still be in development, but it’s an app that’s already been generating some attention, and it might just be brilliant. The app wakes you up with audio snippets of the latest news, meaning it functions as both your alarm clock and your morning phone scroll (we all do it) at the same time. Not only is this an interesting idea and something people may simply enjoy, but it also might save a lot of us from spending half an hour upon waking up lazily scanning Twitter and various news apps. Time will tell if it catches fire, but it certainly has that potential.