With all of the attention being paid to the mid-September release of Apple’s iOS 7, I’ve wondered how asset manager iPad (mostly) and iPhone apps weathered the updating process. Are any apps taking advantage of the drastic operating system redesign? Were any apps redesigned to reflect the more flattened look?
For answers to those and other questions, the App Details area of App Annie is a useful resource. (See a related April 11, 2013, post What Are The Most Downloaded Asset Manager iPad, Android Apps?)
After a review of the asset manager apps, it looks as if the short answer is No. While a few of the App Details for mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) firm apps include updates for iOS 7 compatibility and bug-fixing, none is flagged as having been “Redesigned for iOS 7.”
This doesn’t mean that they won’t be. The redesign was unveiled only in June and not all have the capabilities to work around the clock, as other app developers have, to deliver a refresh. My guess is that most of the leaders in the Finance category are preparing redesigns in the expectation that pre-iO7 apps will begin to look, and be, dated. (If you need background on iOS 7, by the way, the iTunes Store includes a Designed for iOS 7 section.)
A handful of asset managers, including a few surprising names, haven’t updated their apps since 2012. Let's not hold our breath looking for iOS 7 updates from them, unless... The optimist in me wonders if something big is in the works, the realist makes me wonder if they're rethinking iPad development as a worthwhile activity.
The absence of iOS 7 updates notwithstanding, App Annie's App Details provide updates on the evolving state of the art of asset manager app capabilities, a few of which are highlighted below.
J.P. Morgan Insights App Climbs The Finance Chart
First, how about some respect for J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s iPad app? If your job includes mobile app development for another investment firm, you’ve probably heard all you care to hear about this app, thank you very much.
But, for the rest of us, check out how this late-starter has made up for lost time. Version 1 of Insights by J.P. Morgan Asset Management was released in May of this year and it now ranks #50 on the iPad Top Charts-United States Finance category apps.
Judging from the description of the capabilities—most of the magic happens behind an Advisor/Advisory Firm or Institution/Consultant registration requirement—this app provides an experience that’s unique to the tablet form factor.
J.P. Morgan is building on its leadership of having provided useful charts and graphs for years offline via its Guide to the Markets. It now enables registered users to create custom versions of the Guide by selecting individual slides for presentation and/or packaging them up as PDFs for clients. Awesome.
The app’s overall popularity speaks to the treasure trove of content and its usefulness for non-registered users. The downloads have to be coming from than investment professionals alone.
The image above is just a screenshot of an (un-embeddable) video of how to use the app. Click on it to go there.
Other App Enhancements
The following are selected highlights from other reported app enhancements:
Vanguard iPad app (current release: 3.2, September 30, 2013)
Open an account from the app
Stay logged on for up to 15 minutes when multitasking or navigating outside the app
Vanguard for Financial Advisors iPhone and iPad apps (current release: 5.3, September 20, 2013)
A Briefcase feature for content storage and retrieval
Briefcase content is now automatically synched to Apple devices using iCloud
USAA (current release: 5.8, October 1, 2013)
USAA MemberShop, enabling users to take advantage of USAA exclusive savings from merchants
Fidelity (current release of the iPhone app: 2.2.3, October 1, 2013)
Instantly connect to customer support by tapping “Call a Rep”
Home screen updates, including a U.S. Markets day trend visual
Real-time, streaming quote details available to customers who are Active Traders
Schwab (current release of the iPhone app: 126.96.36.1998, October 3, 2013)
Listen to the Schwab Market Update through the new Media Center button on the main panel. It’s updated throughout the day with the latest news, including a performance summary and key market mover statistics.