Android vs iOS : Which Platform to build your app for first?

Mobile development is the fastest-growing domain in the software industry, full of opportunities and freelance job possibilities. Mobile development—and the job of the mobile developer—is changing all the time, with updated versions of operating systems (OS), new devices, and new technological capabilities.

If you’re building an app, developing for iOS or Android is one of the first decisions you need to make.

While your goal may be to launch on both platforms eventually, it is risky and expensive to build an app for both iOS and Android simultaneously.

Instead, most developers choose to build an app for one platform to start and then launch the app on the other platform later – once the first version of the app is established and successful.

ANDROID AND IOS: OWNING THE MOBILE MARKET SHARE

The most popular operating systems are Android, iOS, and Windows. Currently, iOS and Android have taken over the majority of the mobile industry. According to recent stats, the two platforms account for around 96.7% of the entire market.

With such huge audiences, iOS and Android offer plenty of opportunities for those who want to pursue a professional career in either OS, each with its own pros and cons for developers. Some mobile developers eventually strive to learn both operating systems to diversify their skill sets, but for beginner mobile developers, it’s best to choose the OS you’ll want to learn first and go from there.

An introduction to basic mobile app structure

No matter which platform you choose to learn first, there’s a basic principle of mobile development you should master: the Model View Controller (MVC) pattern, which dictates the process a mobile developer follows during development. In this three-tiered structure, the business logic, screens, and assets are managed separately in different files and directories within the same project.

The three-tiered MVC development approach can be summarized into three key steps:

  1. Screen design.The design screens analysis is done and the native controls (“Views”) are finalized, which leads to the implementation of the designs in the application’s UI.
  2. Add the design assets.The proper assets are added to the project and static binding of these assets to the UI Views is done.
  3. Programming the app functionality.Finally, the business logic for application is written in the programming language like Java (Android) or Swift (iOS).

Mobile development is not just writing code in a programming language like Java or Swift—it’s asset management, designing and coding the user interface (UI), whether in XML or via an interface, then linking both together to achieve the end product.

Once a developer is familiar with MVC design and its principles, here are some other things to consider that might help a developer select a mobile operating system to specialize in.

Android Vs iOS 

Demographics     

It’s very easy to find data with help of the Internet, and this data will help you understand the usage of iOS Vs Android on your target market. For example, if your target customers are Android users in the country of China, and using Xiaomi devices, then build your first version in the Android by learning through an experienced and professional android app development Course, while if your market is US businessmen with the latest iPhones, then hire a iPhone app development tutorial in order to build iOS platform. Don’t forget that Android currently has the largest worldwide platform share, with a specific standing in developing countries as well as in lower income areas. However, iOS users generally have higher-education levels, higher income and more and engagement.

Revenue Models

The revenue models behind Android and iOS are somewhat representative of the approaches of Google and Apple. Android has a higher percentage of ad-supported apps where comparatively, paying for apps is still more common on iOS. There is ample data that shows iOS apps earn more revenue, with that number being 70% historically. There is also more recent data that shows iOS users on average spend upwards of 3x more per transaction than those on Android.

Release Cycles

Although Android is open source, it, unfortunately, is locked down by carriers and OEMs. That’s why Android regularly lags behind iOS in terms of the adoption rate of its latest OS version. As of November 2017, more than 95% of users on iOS are on some version of iOS 10 or iOS 11, the last two versions of iOS. By comparison, less than 20% of all Android users are on Oreo or Nougat.

This means that on iOS, you can focus on supporting the newest versions of the operating system with relative certainty your app will still have a broad reach. That focus allows developers to build against newer APIs, stop supporting older devices sooner, and generally, reduces testing and development cycle times.

App Features

Because Android as an operating system is open source, there are even “mods” of Android like CyanogenMod or Paranoid Android. In general, it gives developers deeper access into the operating system itself. For example, a number of years ago, there was a proliferation of home screen replacements including Facebook Home or Aviate, which was later purchased by Yahoo. We’ve also built apps in the past that needed to run on rugged hardware with custom ROM. These are just some of the reasons why certain apps may only be able to be on Android.

Enterprise Apps

Over time, iOS has been able to penetrate the workplace, supplanting Blackberry in particular as a top option for enterprise-wide deployment. Along with other barriers for enterprise adoption, the more locked-down iOS compared to “open” Android has helped push iOS to be known as the more secure option. MDM providers have more sophisticated tools for managing iOS devices and apps. Apple also has had a number of programs for some time (versus Android starting to support that in version 5.0), that are focused on businesses, including the iOS Developer Enterprise Program and its Volume Purchase Program. Last year Apple also announced a partnership with IBM for mobile enterprise apps.

Cost

The cost will be similar, whether you go for Apple iOS or Android. However, in some cases the cost to design the same app can be higher for Android in comparison to Apple, because of a huge number of devices you’ll need to design.

👩‍💻 Who are average iOS users?

If your users…

  • mostly live in North America and Western Europe;
  • prefer creative or entrepreneurial professions;
  • tend to spend more money on the internet and in mobile apps;
  • pay more attention to apps from Business, Education and Lifestyle categories;
  • more inclined to make in-app purchases…

… you should think about app development on iOS platform.

👨‍💼 Who are average Android users?

But if your users…

  • mainly live in South America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe;
  • prefer technical professions;
  • highly appreciate price-quality ratio;
  • pay more attention to apps from Tools, Entertainment and Communication categories;
  • more loyal to in-app ads…

… you may benefit more from app development on Android platform.

Conclusion

There’s no definitive answer for the question “which platform is better for launch”. As a rule of thumb, look out iOS development for fast market appearance and increasing revenue. On the other side, Android development may be better for a particular local market with a powerful Google platform and mass audiences.

The wrestle Android vs iOS seems to become even tougher. No doubt, that each platform has its pros and cons. Moreover, if the one was perfect, why would we need the second?