The first question you should ask yourself when developing a mobile app is “which operating system should I choose?”
While there is a good argument to be made for either Android or iOS, as an iOS developer, I’m here to sway you away from the dark side (I’ll let my Android coworkers explain why they think I’m wrong).
It’s no secret that Android is currently dominating the global market share, but the fourth quarter of 2016 saw Apple secure the number one global smartphone vendor position for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014 according to gartner.com. This is big news especially if your app is primarily targeting a U.S. based audience. Although Android has more users in the USA, the amount of iPhones sold in 2016 surpassed that of Android (iPhone 77,038 units sold , Android 76,782 units sold) perhaps because of a certain exploding phone problem *cough cough* Samsung Galaxy Note S7.
Here is where things get interesting. If you’re looking to monetize your app, and it’s likely that you are, iOS apps are the clear winner. According to an article from app institute.com “Apple generates 45% more revenue per user from In-App purchases than Google does from In-App purchases on Android. iOS users are also 10% more likely than Android users to make an In-App purchase.” Apple devices also tend to be more expensive than the average Android device, leading to a targeted audience that is more willing to spend money on technology.
This example really comes down to preference, but in my opinion, iOS products offer a much more crisp and engaging user experience. Apple has strict guidelines when it comes to UI/UX standards and it really sets them apart from the competition.
If you’re looking for a brief summary, Apple believes its designs stand out because content is very clearly displayed, easy to interact with, and navigation is easily understandable.
App Store Review Guidelines
I’m sure I speak for most iOS developer’s when I say this is a thorn in our sides, but our loss is the user’s gain. Apple again enforces strict guidelines when submitting an app to the App Store. Apps that crash take up too much storage space, or do not ask the user’s permission before using certain hardware or software components of the device. Location, notifications, etc. will be rejected. These guidelines ensure a much more predictable and positive experience when downloading from the App Store, something Android’s Play Store does not offer. If you are interested in the full list of guidelines they are available here.
Mobile apps, regardless of operating system, are extremely useful if you’re looking to make your product accessible to users at all times, trying to build brand recognition, or looking to provide extra value. The question of “which operating system should I choose?” is a debate that will go on for as long as Android and iOS continue to dominate the smartphone market and in reality the best answer is “both.” Just remember, if you have to choose, choose iOS.
iOS Developer at Haneke Design in Tampa, FL