The dominance of iOS
For many years, the default launching pad for developing mobile applications was Apple’s iOS operating system. iOS was developed by Apple and launched in 2007 to exclusively support various Apple devices like iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Mini, and Apple TV. The operating system is based on direct manipulation with the use of multi-touch gestures. Apple continuously releases updates to its iOS operating system and is currently on its latest version, which is iOS 7.
Since a majority of consumers are iPhone and iPad users, iOS was a smart natural choice for mobile app developers. When Android arrived in the playing field, armed with great functionality and customization options like no other, it completely changed the game.
The first Android devices
The Android operating system is based on Linux and was also made based on direct manipulation. In 2005, it was financed by Google, who later bought it. The first phone powered by Android operating system was launched in 2008.
The competition between the iOS and Android got started and it gets stiffer by the minute. While more and more experts are saying that it’s time to rethink about bringing apps first to iOS, some are continuously betting billions on focusing on iOS.
Here are some important points raised by both sides.
The development cycle
iOS was way more developed than its counterparts until Android came into the picture and kept up with it. Critics claim that Apple’s iOS never really developed through the years and is stuck in its 2007 interface. On the other hand, Android has greatly matured. The newly launched iOS 7 brought back some faith into the Apple brand, as it introduced a lot of new features geared towards better user experience, which Android has becoming very known for.
What has been detrimental to the iOS success is the way it was built. Apple puts a heavy hand control on its applications by releasing and providing them only through the Apple Store. Developers are discouraged by the Apple bureaucracy because they can’t put a new application out there and improve it over time; developers need to submit a complete version of the application before it’s released.
Google’s Android, on the other hand, encourages developers to bring their applications to the market right away and to fix them along the way when the need arises. Apple’s control can be seen as a good thing for end users, as they can be assured that only the best applications are approved, while it’s a trial and error situation over at the Android camp.
It’s all about the money
The fact is that to be able to build and release an application requires a lot of money. Developers, including start-ups, need to raise $800,000 to $1.2 million of capital to be able to do what they do. This is not some small change and developers or their financiers need to get that money back soon. This pushes the developers to make a polished, almost perfect applications that will be able to bring back the capital and eventually some profit.
Looking at the money situation, Apple’s App Store brings in double the revenue than Google Play. Recent data says it is actually not just double, but close to triple, as the exact figure is actually 2.6 times.
With the amount of money poured in building an app, it is but normal that a developer would want a sure market and iOS has an advantage here. Start-ups are going for iOS because money comes in easily with its in-app purchase options. iOS also leverages on very active marketing and advertising. iOS applications are also advertised heavily even on Facebook and bringing them to App Store and encourage more downloads and purchases.
However, in a recent survey made by Vision Mobile, they found out that 44% of the more experienced developers with 3 to 5 years experience choose to develop iOS applications while some 31% of developers who are just starting prefer Android.
Developers want to be able to make applications devoid of restrictions. Apple iOS applications are developed using an Apple exclusive language called Objective-C, while Android applications are created using any modern operating system like Linux, Windows, or Mac.
Android is all about nurturing a good working environment for developers and goes out of its way to do so. Android makes it easier for application developers by making available a free software development kit that can be downloaded, installed, and used right away. Becoming an Android developer is made simple with only one setup fee and an unlimited number of application submissions. The approved submitted applications are also quickly put up for sale in Google Play, while a submission for Apple App Store may take weeks before it gets approved, which can spell a big difference especially in a highly competitive app marketplace.
Meeting market demand
There is perhaps an app overload these days, as there are thousands of applications available and being downloaded. New applications are added to the existing ones every day and end users are having a hard time going through them. Most users stick to their favorites. For a new application to be successful, it has to get the attention of the market.
According to experts, as more developers launch their applications via Apple iOS, it creates an advantage for Android developers to stand out. There are many applications launched over at Android, but they lack really good and beautiful apps. This need can easily be fulfilled by new start-up developers if they really want to. Good applications fall in line in Apple Store, while the scarcity of such in Google Play is a chance for good Android applications to shine and catch the attention of the users.
From my very limited experience I can tell you that I started with Android simple because the barrier to entry was very low. A small fee and I was in. My first re-skinned app was approved within hours. I can appreciate Apple wanting to make their app store a premier destination, and it is, but Google Play makes it easy for first time indie developers to dive right in.