For years now the standard practice for mobile development has been to build a mobile app and then submit it to the relevant app store (Google Play or Apple App Store) and then users can download your mobile app onto their devices.
With Android, apps are checked to make sure they meet a set of requirements and then published on the Google Play Store for users to download. From experience its very easy to get an app onto the Google Play Store. Google also allow you to install apps from other sources outside of the Google Play Store with a simple change in the settings. Obviously this carries its own risks.
With Apple its a little different, all apps must meet strict guidelines to even get published into the App Store and the App Store is the only place you can install apps from onto your Apple iPhone, iPad and other Apple devices. This gives Apple complete control of what is available to its users but also reduces the risk of dodgey apps and any privacy issues for users.
These strict guidelines that Apple sets has recently caused some significant issues for a few major developers including Epic Games, Facebook and Microsoft and im sure there are plenty of smaller developers who have also hit some problems in the past. It means that some recent invovations such as game streaming isn't avaliable via the Apple App where it is through the equivalent Android App.
A quick history lesson...
When smartphones first hit the market, mobile connectivity wasn't great. speeds were slow and in some cases there wasn't any data connectivity. So apps were a great solution as they could still run without the requirment of a continuous data connectivity. As connectivity has improved with 3G and 4G and with 5G round the corner, apps have taken advantage of this always connected world.
So now our devices pretty much always have a data connection, it opens up a whole new world of apps... Web Apps. Apps that run in your browser on your mobile device or tablet and don't need to meet any requirements.
We have already started to see this with the recently announced Amazon Luna cloud gaming service. Due to the restrictions that are currently in place on the Apple App Store, Amazon have announced that there will be a web app for Apple devices to access the service. We have also heard Microsft are also looking into this as a way of making the Microsoft Xbox cloud gaming service accessible to Apple device users. I can see other developers following in their footsteps and in turn it could potentially bring further exciting developments in browser technology and maybe even a new mobile operating system that just runs web apps.
With the advances in mobile connectivity and current app store rules, i think mobile web apps are the future and I think we can expect to see alot more of these going forward.