Looking to develop a native mobile application but unsure whether to choose iOS or Android? This article explores the key parameters you should consider before deciding, including your target audience, app audiences, device types, and programming languages.
What To Take Into Consideration While Choosing The Best Platform For Your Mobile App?
If you are considering launching a native mobile application, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is which operating system to choose. And since nowadays, the field of mobile app development is one of the fastest-growing branches of business and technology worldwide, you’d better make a smart choice. The one, that will be best suited to your business’s needs. But no worries, we are here to help! Let's check some of the key parameters, that should be taken into consideration while choosing the best platform to develop your app.
Since Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android together are making more than 99% of the mobile app market there is really no need to even consider any other operating system. But even choosing between these two most popular ones can be a tough one. What should we look at?
1. The first and most important aspect is your target group and app audiences. Their income, interests, demographics, behaviors, app consumption, etc.
2. All the devices that each OS can operate on, together with its specifics.
3. Suitable programming languages, and accessibility to the developers coding in those languages.
4. Last but not least - the costs of creating and running your app (developers, maintenance, (and publishing in the app stores).
Let’s have a closer look at each of mentioned criteria.
Remember that designing your product audience and persona should always be the first step in your app development. Who is your desired user? Where does he live? How old is he? What is his income? How does he consume apps? And what are his other habits? All of this will help you design a better product. And this starts with choosing the right OS.
You already know that Android and iOS together cover almost all mobile users worldwide. But how do those two biggest operating systems divide the user’s share? According to Statista, Android users are an advantage with 73% against iOS with 26,3%. But to see a bigger picture we should dig a bit deeper into the geo- and psychographics of the users.
Even though, Android users constitute the majority of app users globally - this is actually not the case in all the countries all around the world. In North America, it is iOS that reigns among the OS, with 55% and even more if counting the USA alone. So to decide which one will be more useful for you, you should decide which market is going to be your main goal, to reach a bigger customer base and therefore expect more success for your application.
It is also worth noting that Android’s biggest interest areas are in fact the lower-income regions and developing countries. This is obviously thanks to the wider price range of Android devices. However, despite Android's sales dominance globally, it is actually iOS that leads the profit share. The reason for this is the fact, that an average iOS user is usually more actively and steadily engaged, and as a result, spending more money and generating more revenue for us.
We will add one more piece of data to stir the pot. There are actually way more Android apps available to download than iOS. Comparing the data from Statista for the 3rd quarter of 2022, we will notice 3.48 million Android applications on Google Play Store compared to 2.22 million apps on the Apple Store. On the one hand, more apps on the Google Play Store mean more competition and difficulties to stand out, on the other hand - more interest from the users and movement on the store.
Another thing to consider is the type of device our target group uses most. And this is quite a complex topic since there are many device parameters to look up. Let's focus on the few most important ones.
Choosing An Open Or Closed Operating System
In the case of Android, we can use an open operating system. This solution is based on code provided by the "Android Open-Source Project" - AOSP for short. Why would its creators offer the AOSP as an open-source platform that always will be accessible to basically anyone? The reasoning behind this is to ensure keeping the app market innovative. This allows the developers to download the Android source code with no trouble and modify it flexibly to offer better solutions and more adjusted functionalities. This is quite opposite of Apple’s idea of running a business. In this case, iOS is a completely closed OS, where Apple has absolute control over its software and hardware.
Programming Languages For Both Operating Systems
To build a native app we need to know how to code in the language specific to each platform.
When it comes to Android, developers have quite a big choice. The most popular languages are Kotlin which already has replaced Java as Android’s development’s official language and Java itself - one of the most popular languages worldwide (especially in mobile app development) and most frequently used for Android apps.
In case of the iOS, the most popular languages are Swift, and Objective-C. Swift is a rather new language, which was released in 2014. It has many useful features and recently has become more supported than even Objective-C - the original, object-oriented programming language from Apple.
No matter, which OS you will choose, before you start looking for developers, make sure that they are proficient in the language you need, or even better - already experienced with both.
Cross-platform applications are currently very popular, mainly thanks to frameworks such as Flutter or React Native. Developing applications using these technologies saves time and budget. If you know that you want to test your app on two markets - Android and iOS - creating a cross-platform app will be a good idea.
In case you want to learn more about hybrid and cross-platform applications, make sure to read our article on how to choose the right programming language.
This category is once again strictly connected to the OS you have chosen. In the case of iOS, there is a strict set of rules you must follow, regarding what is permitted concerning the user interface design and it always must maintain the iOS style. On the other hand, in the case of Android, the rules are way more flexible and provide wider possibilities for customization.
Additionally, talking about UI we need to take into the consideration users’ needs and preferences. How the interface looks like, where to find certain buttons and how they look like. Taking in into the consideration while designing your app is an absolute must-do!
Screen Size And Resolution
This is another factor to think of, while considering the platform. For each operating system, the portfolio of devices on which it runs will be different. Fo example, if you are designing an app for the iPad, you have customize all the designs to its screen size and specifics.
In the case of Android devices, it is a bit trickier since this OS runs on a very broad spectrum of different appliances. And therefore, while developing your app you need to think of many different screen dimensions and resolutions that must be included in the app design. In the case of Apple, the situation is simpler, since iOS only runs on Apple devices and that leaves you with a way more limited number of products and fewer screen sizes and resolutions.
Monetization Strategy Matters
Another one, yet not less important factor to consider is your monetization strategy.
If you compare Android and iOS’s user's likeliness to spend money, you will realize that iOS users are more likely to spend money inside mobile applications than Android’s. So, if this is the kind of monetization model, you are pursuing then we will advise you to choose iOS.
Just in the 3rd quarter of 2022, gross app revenue in Google Play has reached 12.1 billion USD globally. This means a 17.4% increase compared year to year. The Apple Store on the other hand generated 21.5 billion USD calculating consumer in-app spending.
Another popular monetization strategy, and probably even more popular one, is the one including ads as a main source of income. In this scenario, Android is going to be a better choice, since Google’s platform has at least statistically more users, therefore it will be easier to gain more views and profit more from ads.
Android vs. iOS - An Overview
Taking all the factors described above into account, let’s have one more final look at the benefits and disadvantages of both iOS and Android apps.
1. The biggest app platform worldwide, as well as the biggest app market with the most users globally.
2. To build apps for Android you can use any system simply working in Android Studio.
3. Android OS is very popular among many different brands and types of devices e.g.: mobile phones, tablets, computers, smart watches, cars, etc.
4. There are many convenient features, which are helpful to create apps: automatic code formatting, intuitive navigation, and automatic code generation).
5. It is an open and flexible platform allowing developers to reach a high level of customization, create a dedicated UI design, and add some interesting UX features.
1. Many different devices mean that the code has to be written and tested on each of them to avoid any possible mishaps, also it means more work for designers to adjust the app to the different screen resolutions.
2. Android users tend to make fewer purchases and spend less money inside the apps than iOS users.
1. iOS apps usually demand less effort in developing, since there are fewer devices to code for. It also concerns designers and testers.
2. Users of apps for iOS usually spend more money in the app, generating more income for your company (in case you consider the availability of in-app purchases).
3. Apple has a very vivid community online where you can seek advice and more importantly Apple itself every year provides updated guidelines and tutorials for all the developers and the whole community.
1. Developing apps for iOS you need to follow quite strict guidelines provided by Apple. This can also limit your options on what can or cannot build into your app.
2. There is a strict yearly fee for adding your app to the AppStore, and for the Apple Developer Account, it is 99 USD.
3. The process of app validation can take longer than in the case of Android. This is because the apps review in the case of Apple Store is done manually and therefore can take more time, even up to two weeks.
4. Your app must be prepared for high-quality moderation checks. The Apple Store is well known for its high rejection rate and focus on app performance, quality content, and safety issues.
Still Can’t Decide?
If you are counting the pros and cons but still are not sure which one of the platforms will be better for your app, then maybe the best idea is to not choose at all. Instead, you can develop your app for both OSs. Or, in case you don’t want, or can’t afford to finance two native apps, you can build a cross-platform application as an alternative.
Even though a cross-platform app might not provide the same opportunities as a dedicated native app, it is still a very good solution. It all depends on your goals, business objectives, and priorities.
Native apps for sure provide better performance and stability, but cross-platform support different OSs and therefore give your app the possibility to reach a much wider audience.
Also, development-wise, you need only one codebase, to the contrary of dedicated one in the case of iOS or Android native apps.
The right platform or cross-platform choice is an important one when launching a new app. We certainly hope you will make a great one and that maybe we have contributed at least a bit to help you with that. If you want to learn more about mobile applications development, or you have some questions that need answering - please do not hesitate to contact us, by clicking the link below.
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