iOS App Development vs. Android App Development: Which is Best?

by Mario Tatis
Blog Post

According to Statista, the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected exceed five billion by the end of 2019.

As the use of smartphones increases everywhere, the world of app development is growing right along with it due to evolving business needs and user preferences.

But app development proves to be a complex endeavor, and from the very beginning of the process companies and developers are faced with a challenging question:

“Should we develop an iOS app or an Android app?”

iOS App Development vs. Android App Development

iOS and Android use different coding languages.

The basic language used while developing Android apps is Java, whereas programmers building iOS platforms use Objective-C and Swift.

One of the advantages of today’s online community of developers is that regardless of which coding language you are working with, there are other developers out there who are willing and able to answer your questions.

When you find yourself at a roadblock, simply run some searches online and you should be able to receive firsthand information and guidance from a developer who’s already overcome your issue.

However, your decision to work with iOS or Android might be determined by the hardware you have access to. If you want to learn how to program for iOS, you’ll need to have an original Apple device, such as a Macbook.

Android has a larger global market share.

If you’re hoping to reach the most amount of potential users possible, then you may be better off developing an Android solution over an iOS app.

According to StatCounter, Android held a global market share of 72.35% as of November 2018, while iOS showed a 24.44% market share.

Chart showing Android app usage vs. iOS app usage.

The average user of iOS apps differs from the average user of Android.

Taking a look at demographic statistics allows you to examine the “average user” of each type of application.

DDI Development recently shared the following chart, which compares the average users of iOS and Android apps:

Chart showing the average Android user compared to the average iOS user.

Which of the users described above looks closer to the ideal user of the app that you’re hoping to bring to market? This should help determine whether you should be building in iOS or Android.

For example, if you’re looking to build and launch a solution for younger men who fall on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of average annual income, then you should probably focus on Android app development.

The design principles for iOS and Android apps are different.

If you’ve used both iOS and Android apps in your personal experience, you’ll recognize that they embody a different design and feel from one another.

An app’s design is closely related to the development process that’s responsible for creating the app in the first place. That’s why the design will be visually different depending on whether the app’s development team used iOS or Android.

Both iOS and Android have their own interaction and style that is a direct result of the official design guidelines put in place by Apple and Google.

Take a close look at both the iOS design guidelines and the Android design guidelines before choosing one platform over the other.

The development costs for iOS apps is higher than for Android apps.

One of the beautiful aspects of modern mobile development is that if you have the time, you can start the development process for free.

Apple and Google both provide free documentation that allows you to test your idea for an app on both platforms. The only costs associated with the coding are when you choose to work with a qualified development partner, but if you choose to start things off yourself, you can avoid spending your hard earned cash.

Aside from paying your outsourced development team (if you choose to work with one), the only cost differences between iOS and Android apps come when it’s time to upload your solution to the market.

If you chose to build an iOS app, you’ll be required to pay $100 per year, with higher prices for enterprises, in order to make your product public in the App Store.

On the other hand, if you chose to go with Android, you’ll only have to pay a one-time fee of $25 to upload your app to Google Play.

Take these costs into careful consideration early on in the development process. If your monetization plans don’t go as you wanted them to, you might not see a return on your investment.

Below are some valuable resources that will help you to determine your cost of development:

iOS and Android have different revenue models.

When it comes to revenue models for mobile and web applications, there isn’t necessarily a “right way” and a “wrong way” to bring in capital. However, it’s still important to consider the differences between how an iOS app and an Android app will enable revenue growth for your business.

Android maintains a larger percentage of ad-supported apps, while iOS relies almost entirely on purchases. Surprisingly enough, even though iOS makes users pay for their apps, those apps still earn more revenue when compared to Android applications.

In Q1 of 2017, iOS made a staggering 70% more revenue than Android apps!

Just take a look at the following data from The App Solutions:

Chart showing Android downloads vs. iOS downloads.

Chart showing Android vs. iOS indexed spend.

While Android users were responsible for significantly more app downloads, the indexed customer spend for iOS users was much higher.

Android apps can get into the hands of users faster than iOS apps can.

Once development is complete, it’s time to upload your app the its respective online market.

If you’ve built an iOS app, you’ll need to wait for a couple of days while your app is reviewed before it’s available to users in the App Store.

This review process limits the number of applications that make it to market with restricted content or significant bugs that will end up negatively affecting users.

Contrastly, if you chose to build an Android app, the review process only takes a couple of hours and your app will be directly uploaded to Google Play.

While the speed of getting your app into the hands of users in just a matter of hours might sound enticing, it should be noted that this fast review time makes for less safe circumstances for users, as solutions are not as meticulously reviewed.

But on the plus side, Google has implemented a unique Bouncer system into Google Play that automatically searches and removes Android market software that is potentially harmful or inappropriate for users.

It takes longer to update iOS apps once they’ve been launched.

Once your app is in the App Store or Google Play, it’s likely that you’ll want to make some updates from time to time.

Similar to the initial launch of your app, this updating process takes longer in the App Store.

If you’re trying to update an iOS app on the fly, you’ll most likely have to wait at least two weeks, which can seriously impact your business strategy and/or product roadmap planning.

Android apps, on the other hand, can be updated every two hours or so.

All this being said, if you have an experienced team of developers and testers on your team, then Android will be more suitable for you.

Final Thoughts

Choosing whether to build an iOS application or an Android application is a decision that should not be taken lightly, but arguing over which option is better is pointless as both platforms have become easily accessible to users over recent years.

Each type of app comes with benefits and disadvantages, so the “right” decision will depend on your business needs.

The following infographic from Ruby Garage does a great job of breaking down the most significant metrics about iOS and Android platforms. Feel free to use it during your decision making process.

Infographic comparing Android and iOS.

Click the infographic to enlarge.

At Koombea, we have a team of expert developers who are vastly experienced in both iOS and Android development. We take a consultative approach with each and every one of our clients, and our knowledge will help you choose whether to go with iOS or Android for your next mobile application.

Interested in discussing your next project? Contact us today!

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by Mario Tatis
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