Android or iOS: Which Platform to Choose For Your Mobile Product Development?
Mar 22, 20219 min read
Co-founder at Ideamotive. Technological advisor and software consultant.
Developing a mobile app is a powerful way of boosting an existing business. This is an opportunity to gain customer loyalty, offering them the convenience of using your services on a smartphone or tablet.
Getting started on an application begins with an idea or solution to a specific problem which shifts to choosing the operating system for the app development.
The only two options worth considering on the market today are iOS and Android. (Do you even remember Windows OS...?)
How not to make a mistake when choosing an OS and what criteria should you rely on? Read on to find out the answers.
Android App Development: Pros & Cons
Android applications are created in Java, C++, and Kotlin with the help of Google tools like Firebase, Android SDK, and Android Jetpack.
Now, let’s take a look at the advantages of Android development:
Fragmentation: Android now runs on not only smartphones and tablets but also TVs, refrigerators, car audio systems. Accordingly, the range of applications is enormous, which opens more business opportunities.
Any system is suitable for work: it doesn't matter if it's Windows, Linux, or Mac-based - Android Studio and SDK programs are available for all platforms.
Development Environment: Android Studio development system is based on the world's best environment - IntelliJ IDEA. This environment has smart code analysis, easy navigation, automatic code formatting, etc.
Code: the code can often be large, but developers do not print each character on their own, mostly only the first couple of characters can be written and the IDE will continue on its own: development environment analyzes the code and can automatically generate some of its parts.
Open-source systems: right in the code editor, you can see how standard elements, for example, buttons/lists/radio buttons, are made, and write your code based on the existing one. iOS has large ready-made non-separable blocks (ready-made cabinets), and if suddenly such a block did not suit you (you want a different color, a different size), you will have to throw it away and build your own.
But everything has a downside. Besides Android advantages, businesses that develop apps for this system deal with the variability of devices and versions leading to spending more time for app testing by QA Engineers. The diversity of Android devices makes it difficult to create a product that is perfectly suitable for each device. The system is installed on smartphones, watches, radio tape recorders, refrigerators, and tablets of completely different brands, each of which, in a competitive environment, is trying to bring its own “flavor”. As a result, devices do not work in the same way, and developers cannot know all the parameters of each gadget. For example, if you make a video recorder application, be ready that not everything will work out as planned. For instance, the system may not see the camera, turn the image over, or have problems with video recording if it is installed on different devices.
iOS App Development: Pros & Cons
Unlike Android, iOS has a closed source code, so the system operates exclusively on Apple devices. Developers build iOS apps in Objective-C or Swift languages using tools such as XCode, iOS SDK, Swift Playgrounds.
Key advantages of iOS app development are:
Income: it is a known fact that owners of Apple devices make more in-app purchases as opposed to Android users. This is a huge benefit for business owners.
Certainty in devices: if you choose to build your app on iOS, you will only have to adjust them to Apple devices. The development will take much less time as compared to the Android app building.
Development tutorials: each device of the Apple line - iPhone, iPad, iWatch, Apple TV, Mac OS - requires its own approach. iOS developers have access to detailed style guides that make the development process faster and easier.
Transparency of updates: every year Apple improves the guidelines for iOS application development but does not leave developers in the dark: it explains how to replace the current code elements with more productive ones. In addition, the iOS community, although still small, is very active and always ready to help.
Considering the disadvantages, we should mention an entry threshold. To publish apps to the AppStore, you have to pay $99 yearly. Also, your app might be rejected if it’s slow, has poor content or safety problems. In addition, it can take more than a week to publish the application because the moderation is done manually.
Android vs iOS Development: Which One to Choose?
So, iOS or Android? These rival operating systems have been fighting for supremacy for many years, and during that time, each has acquired an army of fans. Well, everyone has their own truth, so we are going to disclose it based on in-depth research and our extensive expertise in mobile development. Consider the pros and cons of each OS and you will be able to determine the appropriate development area.
Also, ask yourself:
What is more profitable?
Since the release of the iOS application is complicated by the policy of the App Store, you will have to pay for the work of mobile developers for a long time to polish the program to the maximum good outcome. Launching on Android is easier; and therefore, requires less investment. Saving money is not always the best option, but in this matter, it is more important than not.
By 2020, 85% of smartphone owners in the world use Android. Only 12% are fans of Apple devices. And the most densely these 12% are concentrated in the USA, Canada, and Western Europe. Therefore, the benefit of Android lies in its wide audience reach. Most likely, the trend will not change in the coming years. The only time it is profitable to start with iOS right away is when it comes to applications for the wealthiest segment of the population. For example, if you decide to launch applications for your business: feel free to start with iOS, seeking a release on the App Store. You will need large investments, but they will pay off quickly enough.
What is the purpose of the application?
The key purpose of app development for any entrepreneur is, obviously, profit. However, it can be profitable in different ways. There are three main types of approaches to app development and monetization:
Self-service startup. This is an application that is an independent product, not a continuation of the process of digitalization of a company and its brand. Such applications are often paid. Sometimes they offer customers a substantially limited free version.
Continuation of the marketing strategy of an existing company. Many enterprises, especially in the service industry, create their applications to improve the service. Customers can place orders via the Internet with just a few clicks. This is very convenient and gives the company a significant competitive advantage. Most often, these applications are free.
Intermediate options. Some firms create apps to improve their service. However, they also place ads and add paid features. Thus, the program promotes the brand, while at the same time making a profit on its own.
Still, the main goal that you need to focus on is to bring a meaningful value proposition for a customer. This is the only condition that will allow you to monetize an application on iOS or Android, or simply draw attention to your company, its products, and services.
Once you are firm about your goals and needs, it is time to learn the specifics of each OS. We have selected the main factors that affect the success of the application.
Android vs iOS Development Costs
The financial part of app development depends on many factors, such as target audience, functionality, UX, etc. Usually, it is simpler and quicker to develop an iOS application since it is specifically created to operate on a certain range of devices. Also, Swift development is perceived to be much easier to master than Java. Because an Android app is designed to run on a wide variety of devices, it is more time and money-consuming to develop and fix bugs.
To start delving into any of the areas, a developer needs a gadget with a suitable OS. The obvious leader here is Android since almost everyone has smartphones and tablets built on this system. At the same time, you can create applications for Android using a regular PC and smartphone.
Yes, you can do without a smartphone on the chosen OS and just use emulators. However, this is not the best solution because their performance is much inferior to phones. As a result, you will be wasting your time fixing emulator bugs. Also, you won’t be able to assess the performance of an application. If you don't want to torture yourself, a suitable gadget is a must-have.
Knowing the target audience is one of the most important factors when developing an application. Information about age, income, marital status, profession, and interests will help determine which operating system future users of the application prefer.
While iOS is installed only on Apple gadgets, Android has become an operating system for smartphones and tablets from different manufacturers. Therefore, applications for iOS will work well on all iPhones and iPods, but an application worked out to the smallest detail on an Android may not suit all target audiences. This is where you may need to master cross-platform development. Still, most famous brands put Android on their smartphones. Among them are world leaders Samsung, ZTE, Nokia, Xiaomi.
This is the flip side of the coin. According to statistics, iOS users make purchases via installed apps more often than Android users. Despite the smaller audience, high-quality iOS apps are more valued and are bought more often. Taking this into account it is more beneficial to develop iOS apps. More users are likely to buy it. Apps with embedded ads are more popular on Google Play. If the application is free, then Android is more suitable for this.
While developing apps for iOS and Android is also time-consuming, the release terms differ significantly. Android allows you to launch applications of almost any quality: it will not be difficult for you to release your app.
Apple is very picky about software quality. First, you need to bring the application to perfection, and only then try to launch it. If you have your own company, then the price will rise to $299. Then you can start downloading the application. However, the process does not end there. It will take approximately two weeks for the app to be evaluated. After that, the application is either uploaded to the App Store or gets rejected.
Google Play usually does not require payment for any services. Pre-moderation is performed by robots who primarily check the application for viruses. The moderators only deal with the application in case of a huge number of complaints.
Everything is much more complicated with the App Store. App moderation can take months, and the request may eventually be rejected. But if a program is published, it gets a much better chance of survival in its environment.
Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. While iOS does not dominate the market, there are regions where Apple's operating system is leading. This is observed in countries with a higher standard of living and developed economies, for example, in the United States and European countries. Android is popular in developing regions and China.
iOS has a limited file system, so some ideas cannot be implemented. Android gives developers more freedom because Google gives access to its operating system files and hardware. Most of the gadgets on iOS are much more powerful and multifunctional, so they can handle the most complex and voluminous applications. You can find more valuable info on these operating systems comparison here.
The Apple ecosystem is engaging users. It forces you to use the company's products and give up devices from other manufacturers. For the most part, people will exchange Android for iPhones and not the other way around. Besides, iOS will provide you access to its supporting community and users that are willing and able to buy your app.
What’s Better for Your Business?
Taking into account all the above mentioned metrics will help you make the right decision. You need to evaluate your needs, future app concept, development costs, and only then make the choice. In short, you should select iOS for your app, if:
you are aimed at making a big profit;
you want the development process to be fast and easy;
you put user security and privacy first.
You should pick development for Android, if:
you want to capture a larger audience;
you want to shorten your time to the app store;
customization of apps is one of your priorities.
Android and iOS Development: Tools and Frameworks
Native iOS apps are mostly created with Objective-C or Swift within the Xcode IDE, which contains all the necessary instruments for application development for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. The latest version, Xcode 12.3, is available for free download. Xcode only runs on OS X computers (iMac, MacBook, and Mac Mini). A one-year developer license to publish an app to iTunes or Mac OS X App Store costs $99.
Apple also created a tool specifically for beta testing of iOS apps - TestFlight. However, it only works with iPhones/iPads starting from version 8.0. Testing the beta version of your app in TestFlight is fast, smooth, and is a valuable possibility to improve it.
The basic Android development languages are Java, Kotlin, C#, Python, C++. The number of tools is growing every year: Eclipse, Android Studio, and, of course, IntelliJ IDEA. Android Studio is currently the official Android development environment.
When companies are looking to cut costs, accelerate time to market, and increase their online presence through apps, their first idea should be cross-platform development. Native apps for iOS and Android are significantly more expensive to develop and maintain. Cross-platform frameworks allow you to create an application suitable for both iOS and Android.
The benefits of this approach for the business are obvious:
reduction in development costs;
increased reliability - especially for complex business logic, because it is easier to debug one code, as opposed to fixing it in several implementations in different languages;
no need to hire developers and other IT specialists for each required platform and there is no need to support new requirements in each platform (especially important for mobile apps, where there are many changes from version to version).
React Native, Xamarin, Cordova, Titanium, Ionic, Flutter are the most popular. Each framework has its own capabilities and limitations.
According to internet marketers, the best option is the development of mobile applications for both operating systems. Starting with two apps at once is rather difficult so you might want to consider cross-platform development in this case. But in general, it is better to choose the most suitable platform for you (depending on your target audience) and run applications on it. In the future, having fixed all flaws and errors, you can launch a similar product for another OS.
Hint: almost all successful applications should be present on both platforms. This may double the company's revenue! But if you have doubts about developing it on your own, we can take care of it for you.
Contact us if you still have any additional questions.