There can be hardly any doubt about the fact that the present mobile app development scenario is divided between the two leading mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android. Because the two are different and have their respective value propositions, app publishers are often confused about choosing between them. Which one of them is better for my app project? That’s how they ask and ponder over this dilemma.
Whether you are an Android mobile app development company or a development firm with iOS expertise, the dilemma bothers you. You cannot shun your eyes from the success stories on the other side of the fences. How to get rid of this dilemma? What are the key considerations for preferring one platform over the other? Let’s try to explain.
As for using programming languages and tools, both of these platforms have significant differences. Let’s explain these differences first.
Android tech stack
You must use Kotlin, Java, and C++ programming languages for Android app development. On top of these, Android developers also rely on a whole array of tools for Android app projects, such as the Android Jetpack component library, Firebase backend, Android SDK, and Android Studio as IDE.
iOS tech stack
iOS operating system with a closed source code is only capable of working on Apple devices. The key programming languages used for iOS app development include Swift and Objective-C. Some key iOS development tools are iOS SDK, XCode as IDE, Swift Playgrounds as another development environment, and TestFlight for installation and testing.
Quick comparison: Pros and Cons
For developers and app development companies, iOS and Android have several strengths and weaknesses. Let’s quickly look at these key pros and cons on both sides.
- Android operating system offers us an open system and hence allows easy integration of many device-specific features from manufacturers.
- The Google Material Design guideline of Android paves the way for an engaging and intuitive user experience and interface.
- Android offering a diversified device ecosystem allows app developers to build one app that can run on smartphones, tablets, Android smartwatches, Android televisions, Android car infotainment systems, and a few others.
- As for app release, Android has less stringent rules for publication, and the review of an app may just take a few hours before approval or rejection.
- With a highly fragmented ecosystem comprising many devices and OS versions, apps often lack consistent user experience across different devices.
- The fragmentation of devices and OS versions also poses a serious challenge to app testing as one app must go through many combinations of devices and operating system versions.
- Because of the multitude of target devices and consequent increase in development and testing time, Android app projects involves higher cost.
- iOS platform is still mostly used by high-net-worth individuals who get more revenue through user spending on apps.
- With a limited number of high-end flagship devices, it maintains more consistency and standardization of UI and UX.
- IOS style guide is more meticulous, covering every detail of the UI design, and this ultimately results in a better look and feel of the app.
- By offering a closed ecosystem, iOS ensures better security from cyberattacks, hacking attempts, malware infections, and other security breaches.
- A longer review process and stringent review guidelines pose serious challenges for new and startup app products.
- iOS lacks flexibility in terms of accepting experiments with the user interface and user experience of the app because of its manifold restrictions and regulations.
Time to market
For every app developer, the app development time and time to market are a natural concern. There are differences in development time and the entire period it takes for the app to hit the App Store or Play Store. Faster development time not only provides a competitive edge but also helps reduce the cost of development by taking fewer development hours.
Since Android has a very fragmented ecosystem of devices and OS versions, testing each app may take longer. On the other hand, iOS apps requiring to pass through stringent quality control and review processes may also face delays in launching the app after it is developed.
App release and review restrictions
Whether applying for a developer membership to iOS App Store or just submitting an app for review before publishing it, every step involves a lot of waiting time and frequent rejections to push you to fix several things. In stark contrast, Android apps need to face the least restrictions, and they get the nod from the store authority jus5 within a few hours.
On a serious note, the stringent quality considerations and parameters laid by iOS can also benefit end users by ensuring a top-notch user experience. On the other hand, the same can be scary for freelance developers. Android, in this respect, can lack consistent quality for end-user experience but can be rewarding for app publishers with the assurance of an easy and faster review process.
Development cost and earning potential
As for using multiple methods for monetizing and generating revenues, iOS App Store and the Google Play Store stand equal. But because of a higher concentration of high-net-worth user bases, iOS apps earn more than Android apps. On the other hand, Android app development costs more than iOS apps because of their fragmented ecosystem. So the bottom line is that Android apps enjoy far less ROI than iOS apps.
iOS smartphones and tablets over the years ensured a stamp of premium quality that shows through their features, user experience, and look. Ultimately this results in a shorter design and development time and more standardized testing for a specific set of device screens.
Monetization & Market Share
Now, at last, we must spare a few words on the respective market presence of these two operating system platforms and their successful monetization policies. Let’s look into these aspects.
- iOS is more dominant in Western Hemisphere, particularly in North America and Western Europe. So apps targeting these markets should prioritize iOS first.
- For iOS apps, popular monetization methods include app purchase, app subscription, in-app purchase, and retail forwarding.
- iOS users spend more on apps than their Android users, and for in-app purchases, iOS stays ahead of Android users. Although Google Play leads in download volume of apps, iOS apps enjoy much higher revenue through in-app ads.
- Android is dominant mainly in Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia.
- Android users in number are several times ahead of the number of IOS users globally,
- For most Android apps, in-app ads remain the most effective monetization.
- Android app users are more reluctant to spend on apps because of a lower concentration of monetarily solvent players among users. This is when a free app is launched to widen audience reach; Android seems to have an edge.
So, the dilemma between the two platforms can be easily solved by analyzing your target audience. A thorough analysis of multiple parameters where you need to excel with our upcoming app will guide you to choose one OS platform over the other.