Jeff HodsonFebruary 03, 2017

iOS vs. Android App Development: Which is the Best Choice for You?

The battle for supremacy between the two giants of the operating system world—Android and iOS—grows ever thornier. Once a developer has decided to build an app, the key question that he or she often battles with is “between Android and iOS app development, which is the best choice for me”?

Here are three questions you should ask yourself before making the decision:

  • What is your target audience?
  • What is your budget?
  • What benefits do you expect to reap?

What is Your Target Audience?

There is no better indication of the operating system you should choose for your app development than the behavioral features and preferences of your target audience.
Presently, Android boasts the biggest platform with an 84.3 percent market share. When comparing the two operating systems, Android is more popular in lower income regions and developing countries. The popularity of the platform, particularly in emerging markets, can be attributed to the proliferation of $100 Android phones in contrast to the more expensive iPhone devices, normally priced above $600. As such, app development for Android gives you the advantage of reaching more users in more countries around the world.
More so, if your target audience prefers to customize things on their own, such as easily setting up lock screens and modifying home screens with different backgrounds and widgets, the Google infrastructure is the better choice.
Comparatively, iOS has a much lower market share (13.4 percent), and most of those users are younger, more educated, have higher income levels, and spend more time on apps. For example, in the U.S., the average iPhone user earns $85,000 annually whereas the average Android user earns 40 percent less, or $61,000 annually. Furthermore, a recent study found that users spend twice as much time on iOS apps than they spend on Android apps.
Worth mentioning, if your target audience prefers a highly usable interface that is stylish, uniform, and simple, then iOS will not disappoint you. Therefore, if you intend to pursue the premium smartphone market without much regard for massive adoption, then app development for the iOS operating system could be your best choice.
Lastly, if you want a platform that provides flexibility and the freedom to publish apps to a target audience without many restrictions, then open-sourced Android is your best alternative. On the contrary, Apple has strict development guidelines, which can frustrate some developers.

What is Your Budget?

Your budget for the project will also be pivotal in determining which platform you choose for your application. Typically, the Android app development process consumes more resources and takes more time.
App development for Android is estimated to be more expensive (and takes more time) than iOS, mainly because of fragmentation. The headache of Android developers is to ensure they build a flawlessly responsive design that fits different screen sizes, different versions of operating systems, and different device technical capabilities. Worse still, the Android applications consume more RAM and can be incompatible with some mobile devices.
One developer reviewed the lines of code required to make the same app on both operating systems, and discovered he had to write about 30 percent more code for Android than for iOS. What’s more, the Android development framework cannot match the maturity and intuitiveness of what Apple offers. The Apple’s Xcode has rich development tools that make building and debugging seamless and efficient. Furthermore, since the Xcode is a closed system, it is difficult to pirate apps, which is something the Android framework lacks.
Although the Android Studio allows for beta testing, it still lags behind in terms of features and functionalities. The lower quality Android apps that require constant maintenance often lead to increased costs. This is something you do not want to experience if you are on a stringent budget. Therefore, although having your app featured on Google Play only requires a paltry one-time payment of $25 compared to the recurring yearly payment of $99 for Apple store, the latter seems to be the best choice for launching your mobile apps if the long-term costs are considered.

What Benefits Do You Expect to Reap?

What benefits do you want to enjoy after successfully launching your application? Do you want to drive more in-app purchases or reap money from advertisements? Do you prefer app popularity or app engagement? These are some key considerations you need to make.
According to a recent report, iOS users, in spite of having a much lower market share, spend close to two and half times more on in-app purchases than Android users. Apple users, because they comparatively have a higher income level, are accustomed to spending money, and this translates to increased in-app purchases. Thus, if you want users to buy your apps and make other in-app purchases, then you better follow the money—and it is lying in the hands of Apple users.
Conversely, if you want to benefit from mobile monetization and ad-supported content, then choose Android. Its popularity will ensure you have a broader audience and realize your app development goals by generating constant revenue through in-app advertisements.

The Decision is Yours

The iOS vs Android development battle is likely to continue for a long time, especially as each company tries to beat the other with better releases every time. So, to play it safe in this battle, go for a platform that works best for your needs and ensures you make the most of your app development efforts.


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