Android vs. iOS App Development: Is it Still a Competition or We have a Clear Winner

The growth of mobile application development industry is synonymous with the rise of the smartphone market. Both iOS application development and android app development have their specialities and success stories. Some of such success stories are companies like Uber, Instagram, King (Candy Crush Saga), and more. As per the reports released by application measurement company App Annie, the mobile app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion by 2021. This statistic loudly points to the fact that more people are ready to invest their time and money in these applications.

The smartphone market today is unequally divided between two major players, devices running on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems. There is a demanding market for both android app development and iOS application development services. We know how to use both these technologies. But do we know what it takes to implement them, or their inner processes or the monetization methods? Let us learn more about them.

Features and Differences

When we compare the two technologies in question, both are very different in the way application developers, and companies have approached them.

  • Technology:

Android applications are written in Java and iOS applications are written using Xcode. Xcode supports multiple programming languages like Swift and Objective-C. As it is with newer technologies, they come with faster implementations. This is where Swift beats Java in terms of lesser lines of code for the same application and hence gets earlier into the app store. This might change however with the increasing adaptation of Kotlin, a fully supported programming language on Android.

  • Design aesthetics:

Both Google and Apple have proper design guidelines for their custom application development. To encourage more developers to follow the aesthetics, Google has launched a course on material design. Apple strictly follows through principles of Clarity, Deference, and Depth (CDD). Some designing goals common to both are: simple, minimalistic and geometric.

  • Fragmentation:

Since Android supports multiple device types, which would differ in screen size, DPIs, aspect ratios, development for Android would mean the developer needs to come up with a responsive design for all device types. Another issue with Android when fragmentation is considered is that people might be running older versions of Android. This is relatively a minor issue in iOS devices.

  • Review and release:

The review and release process of applications going into Play Store is easier and faster than those going to App Store. To release an app into Play Store, the developer needs to sign up, upload the APK, pay one-off fees and in 2 hours the app is reviewed and released. For publishing an app to App Store, a recurring annual fee is charged, the developer applies, and it can take up to two days to release the app.

The reason for this trade-off is because Google sticks to automated testing and release processes whereas there are real people, in addition to automated tests, involved in reviewing procedure followed by Apple. The rejection rate for an app is also higher in later than informer.

  • Target audience:

Many studies have proven that iPhone users are a loyal customer base. They are geographically accumulated in economically stronger nations and are likely to spend more money on apps. Android device users are spread throughout the globe. Devices supporting Android are much cheaper than iPhones and iPads. These customers are also not as likely to spend on apps. So definitely the utility apps, who want to monetize a particular market, should not miss out on releasing an app in App Store.

  • Monetization and profits:

Though Android apps have more consumers, iOS apps still generate more revenue. Monetization models are totally different when comparing. Play Store has more availability of free or less costly apps and mainly makes money through ads. App Store’s model is based on generating revenue from app purchasing and objects to ad-based revenue model.

  • Development costing:

Android development is more time consuming which implies that they are more expensive. If you want to get your app out faster with lesser costing, anyone would prefer iOS first. But since iOS continues to be a niche market, it is always recommended to have the same application in Play Store as well to not miss out on customers.

Current competition: iOS 11 vs. Android Oreo

To reach a consensus which is the winner in the race of mobile application development, it is essential to keep up with operating system upgrades and new releases. Both Apple and Google released new OS versions last year, namely iOS 11 in June and Android Oreo in August, simultaneously.

Some of the highlight features released in iOS 11 are improved voice assistant who can now translate into different languages, drag and drop support, augmented reality and payments through iMessage using Apple Pay. Android already provides AR, drag and drop, speech translations in previous versions. Some highlights out of Oreo are, picture-in-picture, native password manager, custom icon support and better notification display using dots.

Due to more than a month delay between releases of iPhone 8 and iOS 11, Apple did observe a volume share fall. There have been 9 version updates after the release of iOS 11 on Sept 19 which raised many voices in the developer community.

Both are winners in their own way

Google has outreach its apps to a large number of users, and the company continues to improve quality of features and is releasing new features to target the niche captured by Apple products. Because of varied device support, the demand for custom apps for Android will still stay on top of the market. Apple continues to try entering the developing markets with its devices which is a clear indication of growing competition in future.

Conclusion

Prompt Softech is one of the top iOS and Android app development company in India. Decisions to go with Android only, iOS only or both come with the kind of app project, the involvement of stakeholders and the application’s target audiences.

Ritesh Sutaria Author

Ritesh Sutaria holds over 15 years of experience in Product Engineering and leading an organization. He is a technical expert with sound knowledge on all Microsoft Technologies with a proven track record in technological developments for diverse customers' applications. He currently heads Prompt Softech as CTO (Chief Technical Officer) and looks after all the technical projects of the company.

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