So you’re considering creating an app? But here’s the dilemma: should you build it for iOS, Android, or both? This article breaks down the basics of each platform, their user habits, and some key development pointers. Whether you’re new to the scene or just looking for a refresher, we’re here to help guide your choice. Let’s dive in.
What are the differences between iOS and Android?
How do the platforms differ?
iOS is Apple’s brainchild, powering devices like the iPhone and iPad. It’s known for its sleek design and user-friendly interface.
On the other hand, Android is Google’s open-source operating system. It’s used by a variety of manufacturers, giving users a wide range of device options.
What languages are used for development on each platform?
For iOS, developers primarily use Objective-C and the more modern Swift. If you’re keen on iOS development, Swift is a great place to start.
Android developers typically use Java and the newer Kotlin. Interested in Android development? Check out Kotlin.
How do user tendencies differ between iOS and Android platforms?
iOS Users: The Apple store segment led the market, accounting for more than 62% of the global revenue share in 2022. This dominance is primarily attributed to the relatively higher rate of monetization for revenue generated by in-app purchases and premium apps on iOS. The growth in iPhone and iPad users worldwide further contributes to this trend. Learn more from Grand View Research.
Android Users: In terms of the number of downloads, the Google Play store segment held the highest share in 2022. The massive growth in Android smartphone sales, with emerging competitors like OnePlus and Xiaomi Corp. challenging established players like Samsung and iPhone, has led to a proliferation of mobile applications on Google’s Play Store. This wide range of applications, combined with a vast consumer base, ensures robust growth prospects for the Google Play store.
What are the estimated market caps for each platform?
The global mobile application market was valued at USD 206.85 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8% from 2023 to 2030. While the exact market caps for iOS and Android individually aren’t specified, the Apple store segment’s revenue dominance suggests a significant portion of this market value. On the other hand, the Google Play store, with its dominant download share and the rise of Android smartphone sales, also commands a substantial portion of this market value. Explore the full report.
Are there any barriers to entry for developers on these platforms?
iOS has a reputation for its strict app submission guidelines. There’s also a $99 annual fee for the Apple Developer Program. Applying to join the Apple Developer Program can take upwards of a month or more, so do take this into account if you’re looking to publish to the App Store.
Android, on the other hand, is a bit more lenient with a one-time $25 registration fee for the Google Play Developer Console.
Should I build a native app or try a hybrid solution?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of native development?
Native apps are built specifically for one platform. They’re known for their performance and seamless integration with device features.
- Stellar performance.
- Smooth integration with hardware features, e.g. the camera on iPhone
- Consistent user experience.
- Longer development time, especially if you’re building both iOS and Android native versions
- Potentially higher costs, due to different development languages required for each
How does hybrid development compare?
Hybrid apps are built using a single codebase for both platforms. These apps are essentially web applications wrapped in a native shell, allowing them to be installed like native apps but run through a web view.
These days, hybrid apps are becoming more reliable as a solution, helping developers launch and update rapidly. They may be preferred if you don’t need to tap into hardware features.
What development languages are used to create hybrid apps?
- Frameworks: There are several frameworks available that facilitate hybrid app development. Some of the popular ones include:
- Flutter: Google’s UI toolkit for building natively compiled applications from a single codebase using the Dart language.
According to Statista, the most popular cross-platform mobile frameworks are between Flutter and React Native.
- Quicker development.
- Simplified updates.
- Flexibility with the choice of frameworks and languages.
- Might lag in performance compared to native apps.
- Possible integration limitations with device features.
- Potentially inconsistent user experience.
So, should I create my app for iOS or Android, or build a hybrid app?
It can be tough to choose, but we invite you to think of your business goals and your target user.
If you intend to create a one-time payment or subscription-based app and want to see if it can get some revenue, iOS might be a good start. Many apps begin with the iOS App Store to see if they can gain traction, then expand into Android as their app grows.
However, if you’re looking to reach a wider audience, beyond the wealthy users who own an iPhone, starting with Android may be a better fit.
Otherwise, consider a modern hybrid solution like Flutter or React Native, which may reduce development costs long-term. In the past, the quality of hybrid apps was sometimes questionable but it has become much more seamless in recent years.
Which route will you choose?