Which Mobile Platform to Develop an App on? Apple vs. Android:

Developing a mobile app is a big step for any business, large or small. A lot of thought, planning, and resources go into it so you want to make sure you’re making all the right decisions from the start. For example, which platform do you launch your app on? Apple, Android, Google, Windows?

Some companies choose to develop an app on both Android and Apple, the two most popular mobile platforms, but it’s not a choice for all businesses (especially startups) because it’ll cost a lot more than developing on just one platform. What are other factors you need to consider besides which platform?

  • Setting a budget for developing an app
  • Design of your app (logo, colors, etc.)
  • Features (depends on what your customers will need from an app)
  • Functionality (what does your app offer that your website doesn’t already offer?)
  • Timeframe (developing an app can take up to a year, so you need to have a timeframe set in place so you don’t prolong the process)

All of these factors can’t be decided without doing market research in advance, to have a better perspective of who your customers are and what they need. And so, visualizing your app would be easier.

What is the difference between Apple and Android?

Both Apple and Android are two dominating platforms in the market, with Android controlling around 72% of the worldwide market and Apple controlling 27%, which leaves little to no room for other platforms like Windows and Google.

So why is Apple’s iPhone so popular and in competition with Android? Because even though Android phones dominate Asia and Europe, Apple controls the U.S. market, which includes the highest-paying customers and users.

  • Development & timeframe:

It takes a long time to develop a mobile app but some apps can be launched in 2-3 months while others can last for a year. So where does the difference come from? An Android app takes 28% more time to develop than an iPhone app. This is because Apple has a more straightforward development approach and fewer devices and screen sizes than Android. Android has multiple operating systems (Samsung, Huawei, Sony, etc.), over 500 devices so apps need to accommodate the different systems and screen sizes.

Another factor affecting development time would be older software versions, almost %94 of Android users use old versions and don’t update their phones. This means developers would need to accommodate older versions as well, not just the new ones. As for Apple users, they usually update to the newest versions with only 0.7% of users still using old versions, before iOS 8. In this case, Apple takes the win for development time. Since development for the Android platform takes longer, consequently, the cost of an Android app will also be higher than an Apple app. This is why many small businesses and startups start the development process with Apple before moving on to Android.

  • App Quality:  

Both apps need to pass certain standards and security tests before being live on either App Stores. However, even though Android’s Store has a wider range of apps, Apple’s apps are usually of better quality.

Since developing an Android app takes longer, the cost adds up. And so, many companies look to outsourcing developing services, whether to freelancers or overseas development agencies. They outsource abroad for a lower development cost, this option is tempting, especially if you’re low on resources. However, it may affect the app quality if the developer isn’t qualified or is using outdated tools.

If your targeted market is in the U.S., local developers or development agencies may be more familiar with the market, recent trends, and most likely, will have the latest software or tools for development. Choosing a developer can make all the difference with your app’s quality, so don’t just have saving money as your main priority.

  • Apple’s App Store vs. Google Play Store:

Both stores are where you can find apps to download on your phone, whether they’re games, lifestyle apps, or any other app. The apps are listed the same way in both stores but while Google Play is more user-friendly and easy to use, the App Store is stricter but with a simple and sleek interface, that has no clutter.

Android’s Google Play has around 2.9 Million apps on its platform while Apple’s App Store has around 2.3 Million apps on it. Google Play offers a wider range of apps and easy navigation, you can easily find an app you’re looking for through keywords or relevant phrases. While as searching in the App Store may be a bit more difficult because you need to search using specific keywords that were added into the description of the app, so you need to be precise. Google optimized the store, making it friendlier, and it allows you to view how your contacts rated certain apps, their comments, and even communicate with other users using the app to get a full idea of the app before downloading it. Many of Android’s apps also offer customization where you can customize your background, app menu, or other features on your phone as appose to Apple’s apps, which have little to no customization room.

And lastly, you can also download an Android app on your laptop, offering more flexibility in usage. So, in terms of a better, friendlier app store, Google Play takes the lead.

  • Security: 

While we’re at app stores, it’s worthy to note one of the reasons iPhone’s are so popular – they offer top-quality security! Before launching an app on Apple’s App Store, it needs to pass multiple security checks (ensuring it isn’t a fake, detecting any malware, etc.) and so the chances of your phone getting hacked through an app, are pretty low when it comes to an iPhone (this is besides any hacks or threats targeting the app and its own security). It is also why Apple’s apps are of higher quality (and lesser in total) than Android, your app needs to reach certain standards set by the store to be live. Unfortunately, security breaches are higher through Google Play because of the wider variety of apps and lesser security tests before launching. And so, for security, Apple takes the win.

  • Customer Loyalty:

Through general studies conducted, we can conclude that Apple users are more loyal to the platform than Android users – however, this is firmly based on U.S. users and can differ depending on your customer base. A 2017 Morgan Stanly Survey showed that 92% of Apple users plan to stay with Apple in the future while 77% of Android users plan to stick with Android. So, in general, Apple users are more loyal to iPhones than Android users are to Android devices.

But again, you’ll need to do your market research to find out what’s the most-used platform for your customers before deciding on anything.

  • Monetization:

Since Android has a wide variety of apps, most of the platform’s apps are free or for a low cost so making revenue by creating a paid app is not the best option. Because you can find 10 apps serving one purpose, why pay for what you can get for free?

But since Apple’s apps are more limited, there are apps for a higher cost. This doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of free apps as well, but most of the apps usually have paid features or offer in-app purchases. A study by Crew showed that Apple apps make 45% more than Android apps in revenue. Since a majority of Android users are based in developing countries while most of Apple users are in the U.S., it makes sense that Apple users will spend more on apps and make purchases.

Many companies based in the U.S. start by developing an Apple app to recover the cost spent on development then look into an Android app when their revenue surpasses what they spent and some extra. So if you’re looking to gain money, an Apple app is the way to go. But you’ll need to look into marketing strategies and ASO (App Store Optimization) to get your app downloaded and used.

What Now?

After deciding on which platform you want to develop on and setting on the previous factors we’ve mentioned like design, features, etc., you can request a free quote where you’d get a detailed proposal and cost of development for your mobile app.  

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