App developers will face a number of decisions every day as they try to bring their apps to market. However, one of the most significant choices they will arguably have is whether they should develop an app for iOS or Android first. There are, of course, pros and cons to both platforms, but when it comes to choosing between the most popular operating systems for smartphones, which way should you go?
In this guide, we’ll break down the key differences in developing an app using Android and iOS so you know the best place to start with your app.
One of the first and most obvious differences is the different programming languages used by these platforms. For Android, developers typically use Java or Kotlin as their programming language. This can be an advantage if your team is familiar with these languages – particularly with Java, as this is a programming language used outside of app development, making it more versatile.
On the other hand, iOS apps are most commonly developed using Objective-C or Swift. Swift is more popular as it was designed for Apple products, which can help to make the process smoother.
Given that a programming language will be the foundation of your app, you need to consider which language you choose carefully. Consider your team, their skills and experience, and this will help you to make the right choice for your app.
The presence of a back button
The device that your app will be present on will inform the design choices that you make. One of the most obvious considerations is the presence of a ‘back button’.
Apple devices don’t have a back button. The closest thing that they have is a single button (granted, many Apple devices don’t have any buttons at all now). As a result, an option to go back to a previous screen or page needs to be built into your app’s functionality. If you aren’t able to do so, you won’t be able to create a smooth user experience which will spell disaster for your app.
On the other hand, there are many Android devices that still feature a back button or function. This may not be a pro or a con per se, but this is certainly something worth considering as part of your development process.
In any venture, the cost is an important consideration. The key factor that will determine the cost of developing your app is its complexity. The more features and functions that you have, the more time (and therefore more money) you’ll need to develop it.
The cost variation due to platform, however, typically comes when it comes to hiring developers. Developers may charge more for Android apps than they do iOS, as they will need to make the app suitable for a wider range of devices, which can mean more time spent on the build process. Be sure to get a quote from a prospective developer before enlisting their services to limit the chances of any surprise expenses.
It’s no secret that Apple has a famously small catalogue of products. Their smartphones are updated or relaunched every 12 months or so, and their older devices fall out of favour fairly quickly. This means that developing for iOS can be fairly straightforward, as you only need to keep a handful of devices and their specs in mind when designing your app.
For Android, however, the opposite is true. Not only do you have different makes to consider (Samsung, Huawei, and Google, for example), but the various models that these manufacturers offer as well. For maximum reach, you’ll of course, want a presence on all of these devices, but this means you’ll need various versions to fit each one.
This is one of the largest and most significant differences between the two platforms.
Return on investment
If you want to profit from your app in some way (it’s probably fair to assume that you do), then you need to consider which store will get you a better return on investment. On the one hand, Android’s use across various brands is very appealing – you have access to a diverse portion of the market, whereas Apple’s exclusivity can be seen as a limitation. On the other hand, however, this can lead to a more streamlined store, with less congestion and competition.
Whilst there is certainly money to be made through both operating systems, many sources conclude that over the lifespan of the respective stores, Apple has paid out around $155 billion to developers, whereas Android has only paid developers $80 billion on their platform. Despite Android’s larger market share, the earnings through their store are significantly less than that of Apple.
One factor to consider here is users. Apple products are often more expensive than Android devices, which means that those who own them typically have more disposable income that they can spend on things like apps.
As you can see, the two major development platforms are vastly different from each other in more ways than name alone. When choosing which platform to use, be sure to carefully consider each of the points that we’ve explored in this guide. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong platform to choose, but rather what is a better fit for you and the product that you hope to create and the consumers you’re trying to reach. If you’re looking for support with app development in Scotland, the team at Zudu is on hand to assist. Reach out today for a free consultation.