When an idea starts taking its shape into an app; the most important decision is – on which platform should it be launched? However, there should be an appropriate budget if the developer decides to launch on both platforms. Because, firstly, they would have to look after all the areas at once, on both platforms. This increases the limitations, time and costs. Secondly, if there is a problem with one code, it needs to be changed for both platforms.
An app could either be for Android or Apple. And it can be for both platforms – usually called cross-platform apps. However, many of the developers rather choose to launch an app for one platform and then across others.
According to 2019 market analytics of mobile platforms, Android and Apple both account for almost 98.6%. However, out of this share Android holds almost 70% market share. But, Apple apps have an even higher monetization value despite holding just a 28% market share. Hence, it comes down to these following factors:
App abandonment is a problem for many app builders. A study has revealed that almost 23% of users would stop using an app after using it once. This means that apps are unable to offer what consumers want. Developers wouldn’t want that to happen to their app after putting so much hard work into it. Hence, the geographic and demographic characteristics of the target audience prove highly beneficial.
If you have a large audience base, Android is a good option to choose from. However, a bigger consumer base doesn’t signify that your target audience would also fall into that group. Some areas like Asia and Africa are more inclined towards Android. Whereas, Canada and the UK have an affinity towards using Apple apps. Android’s Play Store has almost double the apps there are in the Apple store.
However, that is not a valid base to determine which platform is better. Because the Apple store has proved to be more engaging and profit-bearing. Hence, most of the latest apps usually land at the Apple platform. However, Android remains the first choice and Apple can be followed after that. Even though the Play Store has more worldwide downloads than the App Store, the latter generates more revenue.
The time taken for developing a mobile app is a huge factor to consider. Developing an Apple app is far less time-consuming than its Android counterpart. Since Android is an open-source platform, it consists of more launch cycles and software fragmentations. Moreover, different Android devices have different display resolutions. Plus, these devices are not running on the same operating systems and hence an app has to be customized according to running OS and resolutions.
Additionally, it uses Java for coding, increasing the developers’ work to write more code. It also increases the potential of having more bugs. This makes the launching of apps for all the devices, a little slower. Studies reveal that Apple apps are developed almost 30-40% faster than Android apps. Sending apps for the approval on the Play Store takes a maximum of two days. Plus, the new updates can be launched in a few hours.
However, even Apple has now started providing different screen sizes and operating systems. Additionally, developing an app for Apple might be a little quicker. And it uses Swift language for writing code that is quite easier than Java. But then it takes a lot of time to get it approved for the Apple App store. Apple app store has stricter regulations on quality standards. Also, an app might also face rejection if it isn’t up to Apple quality standards.
Emulators used for Android mobile app development are generally slower than their Apple counterparts. Plus, Android uses XML layouts. Hence, “What You See Is What You Get” techniques are less used in these apps. But since Android is used for open-source app development, it provides more scope for customization. So it offers the flexibility to get the features that the target audience wants. But this also makes it more vulnerable to malware and viruses.
With Android, developers might also have to ensure that compatibility is achieved and maintained throughout. Apps for different platforms might have some crashes and bugs. This usually happens in devices using older operating systems. Plus, almost 50% of Android users were found to be using a device with an older OS for more than two years. This also prevents users from accessing new technology timely. So, apps that have VR capability might not work on older systems.
Whereas, Apple has a closed environment that provides more security to the apps. While the people with Apple devices are more inclined towards updating it to the latest operating systems regularly.
The goal of most of the apps is to earn revenues. Hence, the monetization of apps would be one of the primary concerns. Android users generally prefer not paying for apps. Hence, instead of a paid app, there are in-app purchases in Android apps. On the other hand, App Store users happily use the paid apps. That is mainly because most Apple users are more affluent. Whereas, Android users are more in technical jobs. So, this makes Apple platform a better option from the monetizing perspective. A study has also revealed that developers can earn almost twice the revenue from the App Store than the Play Store.
So, if developers want to monetize their apps through ads or subscriptions, Android is a good choice. Plus, even if the revenue is less, it is expected to take over the Apple App Store in the future.
It all boils down to the target audience for your app. If you want to target developed nations like Canada and North America, Apple would be your best bet. Similarly, if you are targeting emerging nations like China, Asia – Android is good to go. Plus, if you have already developed an app for Apple store and the store doesn’t approve of some features – you can start developing an app for Android too. It doesn’t matter which platform you chose initially. If you have built a niche and your user base for the initial platform, you will find users on other platforms wanting a version for themselves too. So, you can then start developing another version.