A central question for all new app ideas is which platform to develop for. The two major platforms, iOS and Android, are both wildly successful, and from a general perspective offer identical opportunities. Both offer robust and well-documented SDKs. Both have a healthy selection of third-party resources and APIs. And no matter which platform you settle on, you have a good opportunity for success.
The question is definitely not “which one of these is good” because both have proven themselves as fantastic platforms. The question of “which is better” is a much more challenging one. To answer that, we’re going to use a tried and true method of decision making: a list of pros and cons.
- Less compatibility trouble: iOS devices come in only a few flavors, which means that apps are less likely to run into compatibility problems.
- Greater revenue generation: It’s a longstanding quirk of the industry, but despite having a much smaller net market share iOS continues to generate more net revenue for developers. The revenue per user on iOS is much higher than on Android.
- Cool factor: Apple and the affiliated apps are marketed with a heavy focus on design. There is no denying that Apple is a stronger pillar of pop culture (though I can’t find any quantifiable data on that…)
- More limitations: Apple occasionally locks features so that developers can’t access them (I’m looking at you, NFC chip!) and has a much stricter policy for approval before you can publish your apps. Apps simply have less flexibility on iOS devices.
- More users: Android controls about 84% of the worldwide smartphone market share. If you are looking for raw user count, there’s no competition.
- More flexibility: Android’s open platform is more flexible for experimentation, and the review process for publication is less strict.
- Compatibility issues: Android devices come from dozens of different manufacturers, in even more unique varieties. This fragmentation makes it much more difficult to ensure the app is optimized for all users.
I’m going to give a slight advantage to iOS in this competition, and here’s why: when building a brand new app, it is usually the easier platform to start with—excluding certain occasions when iOS simply won’t allow for the functionality you want. If your main audience is in the UK then the audience size gap shrinks considerably so you aren’t missing out on as big of an audience, but the compatibility problems on Android will always remain a challenge, and when you are first building an app you really want to limit the points of failure so you can focus on iterating, testing, fixing, and improving the experience. One or two extra obstacles from compatibility can be very distracting during that time.
My real verdict would be “build for both!” But that’s not really answering the question. Building for both means you get the biggest user-base and most revenue. Build iOS first to establish the concept, after that it will be a breeze to replicate on Android so the extra QA that’s needed on that platform won’t really get in the way of anything.
Your particular situation may vary. So it’s best to get in touch with our mobility strategists and build a roadmap that’s unique to your needs. Our app consultations are free, so just call 020-3617-1881 or leave a message on our website to get started!