Once again, we'll talk about the interminable controversy: Which is better iOS or Android? This time, we will focus on how to start development and for which platform first. Agree, it is not so easy to choose in the conditions when it comes to the two giants, which are equally good and meet a number of requirements. So, let's find the difference between Android and iOS.
Let's imagine a situation when you have an idea for a startup. You ideate a perfect application which can become a leader in it's niche. So, you decide to start development. I suppose, the first thought is a question of how much it will cost you. Of course, the answer to this question depends on many factors. One of these factors is the platform which you will create your application for.
See also: Mobile app development cost
I think, you know perfectly well that in order to embrace the maximum market sector, you need to build your application for both platforms. But there is one thing. What if the idea is not as good as it seems at the first stage? What if some or even all of the functions need to be improved and modified?
In this case, the ideal choice is to start from a single platform, and only then to add the following. It is caused by several factors.
First of all, you get the opportunity to check how good your product is. You can get some feedbacks from early users and quickly make adjustments.
Secondly, you save almost half of the money needed for the development. In this case, the math is very simple. If you choose to create an application for the two platforms at the same time, then you need to spend twice as much money. Then, making adjustments and improving your application, you will need to pay twice again.
Therefore, it is reasonable to try and analyze your product with one of the platforms. Of course, there are situations when you need to create an application for both Android and iOS simultaneously. But we'll talk about it later.
So, knowing that you need to choose one of these operating systems, the next question is 'which one? And what is the difference between iOS and Android?' As in many cases related to mobile development, the answer is 'it depends'. And it's quite logical because each case is unique. Every application requires a special approach.
Usually, developers advise you to make your app for iOS first. But there's quite a reasonable question: 'why ios is better than android?' So let's compare iOS and Android development to find out the answer.
In this article, we will puzzle out different cases and determine which platform should be chosen in each of them. Thus, you can understand how to act in your particular case.
Main factors influencing the choice
In this part, we'll consider factors that can influence the decision in favor of one or another platform. Among them will be obvious ones as well as those that aren't paid attention to. But this doesn't make them less important. Here we go. Let's find some differences between iOs and Android.
Factor 1. Fragmentation
One of the most important factors, which often outweighs the value of all the other ones is the market fragmentation of Android. On the iOS market. there are just a few devices that can be called easily in less than a minute. By comparison, there is a huge number of devices on the Android market.
It is difficult to even imagine how many different sizes of screens, hardware, and other options exist there. It definitely complicates the development process. And this fact will affect all stages of an app creation - from design to testing. Often, this factor becomes key one when selecting.
Factor 2. Price
The second point in the question 'Which is better - Android or iOS?' comes up from the first. This is the price for Android or iOS development. The cost of creating applications for Android is a bit higher than for iOS. The main factor that affects the price is just the same - fragmentation of Android devices on the market. The price won't differ globally, but anyway, the price for iOS development will be lower.
Factor 3. Target Audience
When choosing, take into account the characteristics of your target audience. First of all, consider it's geography. It's not a secret that Android is the world market leader. Let's look at the charts.
From these charts, we can see that Android is more common in South America. This also applies to countries of Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. On the contrary, we see that iOS is popular in North America and Europe. This fact should be considered when choosing the first platform. Since you have a clear understanding of where your target audience is, you will be easier to determine which OS you need to focus on.
Factor 4. Aptitude to 'shopping'
So, what is the difference between Android and iOS in this issue? As it is known, Apple users are more tend to buy paid apps than Android users. Also, this applies to in-app purchases. Be sure to note this fact while choosing.
Factor 5. Leaders experience
When the question is an important choice, it is worth paying attention to the experience of previous successful startups. Here we see that the majority of the flagships developers, such as Instagram or Twitter have chosen iOS for the first launch. And then later, convinced of the success of their brainchild, created their applications for other platforms. Of course, we shouldn't follow what others do blindly. But the success of these applications speaks for itself.
Factor 6. OS versions
If we talk about Android, in addition to general market fragmentation, we can see that users are actively using different versions of the operating system. It is already about half a year since the latest version of Android Marshmallow has been released. And nevertheless, not all users have switched to this version. In contrast, one of the advantages of iOS over Android is that it's users switch to the latest version almost instantly.
It is a very important point in the development since a developer needs to think what versions of the OS the app will be supported on. If in the case of iOS, an app can be easily created only for the latest version, then with Android it is not so simple. If you create an application only for the latest version, you lose the lion's share of your target audience.
Factor 7. Interaction of an OS with third-party applications
In this case, Android is more open. iOS is designed in the way that the operating system is less likely to interact with third-party software. Android, by contrast, integrates with installed applications easier.
Factor 8. Loyalty
As practice shows, users of Apple devices are more loyal to the chosen operating system. And the owners of Android are more likely to switch to other platforms. Definitely, this factor is less important if you plan to develop for both platforms. But if you choose only one, pay attention to it.
Factor 9. Uploading
It's worth noting that the moderation in Apple AppStore is more strict and takes much longer than in Google Play. In some cases, this can be a determinative factor because it is one of the advantages of Android over iOS.
In this section, we will look at what cases which platforms should be chosen. We draw your attention to the fact that set of factors work together. So consider not one, but multiple ones. We have tried to consider the most common cases and find solutions for them.
Case 1. Paid app or in-app purchases
If your application will be paid, or you are going to focus on in-app purchases, opt for iOS. This is due to the factor #4. Namely, the fact that users of this operating system are more tend to spend money on the Internet.
Case 2. E-commerce app
For the same reason as in the previous case, you need to choose Apple for the first launch. After all, how you can see if the functions work correctly and check your application if you have no one to buy your product?
Case 3. Your app is a mobile solution for your website
If you create an application to make your mobile users' life easier, there is one good option. You should pay attention to the metric of mobile visits. If your prevailing audience of mobile users is the owners of Android devices, feel free to move in this direction. And the same works for iOS. Thus, you define users of which devices are your target audience and adapt your supply to the demand.
Case 4. Making money from in-app advertising
As practice shows, the majority of applications built with an emphasis on in-app advertising you can find precisely on Google Play. And iOS, as it has been said, is the best solution, in that case, your application will be paid.
Case 5. App for tablet
As for the tablet market, Apple is in the first place. Therefore, if your target audience is precisely tablet users, you should start with development for Apple tablets.
Case 6. Close interaction with hardware
If your application must closely interact with the hardware of devices, you should pay attention to Android. Indeed, as already mentioned, this operating system is more open to third-party applications.
How to make a decision?
As you can see, all cases are different. And, accordingly, there are different solutions for them. So, there is no strict answer to the question 'What is better Android or iOS?'. In most cases for the first launch, of course, iOS wins. This happens for several reasons. Firstly, as it has been mentioned above, users of this platform are more likely to in-app purchases and to buy paid apps. This is one of the most important factors. And, moreover, the development for that platform cost slightly lower due to significantly lower market fragmentation.
But as you can see above, it is not always a determinative. Sometimes there are other circumstances, which make us opt for Android. That's why this issue is not as simple as it seems at first glance.
Another important point is that if your application claiming to be successful (and we are sure that it is), you should not stop with development for one platform only. Let me explain why. The application, which was created just for iOS or Android can never get the maximum number of users. From the charts above it becomes clear that at least two platforms are necessary to achieve the desired result.
In order to make the final decision, you should consider a lot of factors at once. Sometimes the scales balance between two equally important issues. We understand how difficult it is to make a decision in favor of one or another variant. And we understand that you don't want to waste time and money on unwitting mistakes.
Thus, in order not to make a mistake and be confident in your choice, you need to calculate everything. Best of all it will be done by experienced professionals who are faced with this question almost every day. You may ask, 'where I can find people like this?'. We'll show you. Such people can be found right when you contact us and tell about your issue.
We will help you to understand all the difficulties of the platform choice, application cost, and other complicated issues. Contacting us, you get a safe pair of hands and real friends to deal with.
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Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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