10 March 2017
Developing a native mobile app can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start or what to identify. More often than not businesses that are developing native apps will synchronise the development and release of an app for both iOS and Android. This is something that every business should consider however sometimes the best route is to launch your app for one platform first. Choosing a starting platform is an important task and so we have compiled everything you need to know about iOS and Android to make an informed decision.
Firstly let me identify that iOS and Android are extremely different operating systems (OS) for mobile and that each OS will have a different development process therefore features that are beneficial to one OS may not be applicable to the other.
Native iOS apps are closed source and are specific to the iOS operating system. Apps built for iOS use the Xcode IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and are coded using the Swift or the Objective-C language.
Native Android apps are open source, meaning that anyone can use the Android OS to develop an app free of charge. Like iOS apps, Android apps are specific and can only be used on the Android OS. Apps built using Android use the Android Studio IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and are coded using the Java language.
Developing for iOS costs less than developing for Android for a number of reasons:
Firstly there is less code that has to be written when coding an iOS app, due to the ‘simplicity’ of the iOS code when compared to android iOS apps. On average iOS apps contain 30% less code than their Android equivalents (https://goo.gl/S62zBI).
If you ignore the code bloat that Android incorporates, a further complication arises when considering the sever fragmentation of Android devices. For comparison, Apple produces only 11 unique mobile devices of which an app needs to be compatible with. Android on the other hand is installed on over 15,000 unique handsets, each with their own hardware and Android OS version. This makes programming for Android a more challenging experience, and can increase lead times when considering the vast number of devices of which the app needs to be tested and deployed upon.
Finally, Apple has done a great job in reducing the amount of resource, time and manpower needed to produce an iOS app. This is all thanks to iOS apps having a simpler code base and well documented SDK. This in turn leads to fewer hours being required for a developer(s) to finish the app, which equates to bottom line savings.
The Bottom Line
For many, apps are channels to generate profit from, and choosing a platform that maximises revenue is key. While iOS has fewer handsets available, the small number of devices doesn’t limit its target market. The smaller number of devices makes it easier to target the whole of the iOS user base compared to just a small proportion of the fragmented Android operating system. This in turn compliments the fact that iOS users in general are more accustomed to spending a premium on their handsets as well as mobile tariffs than their Android counterparts. This trait also follows through into ‘in-app purchases’ and ‘app store purchases’, making iOS a very rich ecosystem to tap into. While the balance is slowly shifting, the fact iOS users have more disposable income than typical Android owners, is a key metric to consider when choosing what platform to roll out on first.
As a studio that specialises in iOS development, although we do build Android and hybrid apps too. We feel that if you’re initially launch an app to one platform it should be iOS. Not only does iOS present lower development costs but it also gives way to larger revenue streams within a smaller time frame. Whilst all businesses should be looking to launch their app on both native platforms, the starting point of any app is a crucial one and without the correct launch strategy, any app, no matter how good simply will not make its mark.