Woman using her mobile phone, city skyline night light backgroun

There’s an app
for that.

When Apple launched its commercial for the App Store in 2009, no one could have predicted how true that phrase would ring. Apps have come a long way since. What started out as games and social media platforms has morphed into an integral part of everyday life that’s used on virtually every device. Flipd and Swob are getting in on the action.

As our lifestyles evolve, so too must apps. In fact, mobile app development is arguably one of the most rapidly growing industries, and the trends emerging from this industry are destined to connect us better, entertain us more and make life even easier.

IoT Integration (connecting everyday objects to each other and to the internet) and 5G (which will boost the speed and efficiency of apps) are the most talked-about trends in app development, but there are others on the rise as well like beacon technology (also known as proximity marketing) that use small transmitters to trigger a push notification to a customer’s app while they’re in-store to entice sales, and enterprise mobility apps that enhance remote collaboration between co-workers. There’s also voice recognition technology, mobile wallets and new technology that seamlessly adjusts an app’s display to fit the latest folding devices. The biggest trends to dominate app development however are AI and machine learning, which are making apps smarter by enabling them to anticipate user behaviour, and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These are enhancing everything from gaming to training programs, and are even allowing users to “try on” items while online shopping. 

App on smart phone screen

With so many apps on the market, there has been widespread criticism over the amount of time we spend staring at screens. Flipd has turned screen-time criticism into something positive with a productivity app for GenZ and high-achieving students. Flipd helps students track their progress and productivity toward activities like studying for exams or writing course papers and motivates them to track the amount of time spent on these activities with milestones and achievement badges. It also connects users from anywhere in the world in study groups for additional support and motivation.

With Flipd, users can organize their tasks and activities with a customizable activity library, receive reminders about important tasks and set customized timers to hit, and record, their productivity goals, as well as to schedule study breaks. They can then visualize their progress by looking back at their productivity over the course of a day, week, month or even a year. This shows students just how productive they can be when they put their minds to it.

Flipd was launched in 2016 by Cristian Villamarin, a two-time IronMan competitor who understands the importance of maximizing time, and Alanna Harvey, a sought-after speaker and advocate for digital wellness. The app was initially designed to manage screen time, however, user stats proved that the app’s core demographic — high-achieving students for whom focus was paramount — had a higher interest in how they were utilizing their time. This resulted in the app pivoting from screen management to tracking productivity in 2019, and as of 2021, Flipd surpassed two million users. 

“There’s an assumption that if you’re spending a lot of time on your phone, you’re not doing good things.” says co-founder Alanna Harvey. “We wanted to rephrase the message that ‘screen time is bad’ to ‘let’s put screen time toward something good.’ Flipd is a way in which you can actually spend time on your phone productively. And you can celebrate that.”

M-commerce, otherwise known as e-commerce for mobile phones, is also on the upswing, thanks to heightened viral culture. From online shopping to job searching, our mobile phones have become our most utilized devices and Toronto-based Swob fits right in. 

Swob, which stands for ‘Swipe-Job’, was created in 2017 by brother-and-
sister team Stephanie and Alexander Florio. It’s a job-search app that mimics a dating app in that job seekers can scroll through employment opportunities and swipe right for those they wish to apply for, and swipe left on those they don’t. Whether looking for part-time, full-time or seasonal jobs, users first find a position they’re interested in, receive a prompt to create a profile and upload a resume; from there, they can continue to swipe on jobs that pique their interest. Swob’s built-in filters ensure that companies are matched with only the most qualified candidates.

The idea for Swob came from co-founder Alexander Florio’s frustration with applying for jobs online. He was also using the dating app Tinder at the time and appreciated its ease of use. He had the idea to merge the process of job hunting with the functionality of dating apps, and Swob was born.

Swob currently has more than 90 employers across Canada utilizing the app and sees 500 users daily. And it’s not only Canadian businesses that have taken notice of Swob, but businesses in the U.S. as well. In late 2021, Swob launched in Austin, Texas.

“Attracting qualified candidates to fill positions in retail, food services and hospitality isn’t just about offering the right incentives, it’s also about reach.” says Alexander. “It’s about finding the right candidates in the right place, speaking their language, and tapping into the viral culture that they’re accustomed to. With Swob, employers can do that.”

Quick Facts

$143 billion

was the worldside spend in the App Store in 2020. That’s an increase of 20% year over year.


of time spent on mobile phones each day is spent using apps with social networking and communication.


increase in online shopping
time. Collectively, people spent 82 billion hours in shopping apps in 2020.

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