The difference between iOS and Android developers and why it's not just a numbers game

The difference between iOS and Android developers

When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, and later when the iPhone SDK (now iOS SDK) was introduced in 2008, Apple explained how it was all based on a similar foundation to OS X, and even named the new frameworks Cocoa Touch, reflecting the Objective-C Cocoa frameworks of the Mac. There were and are differences, to be sure, but that core similarity not only made the iPhone, and later the iPad, instantly familiar to existing Mac developers, it made it interesting.

The Mac, though its market share was never large, especially when compared to the well over 90% marketshare of Microsoft Windows-based PCs, had always attracted an incredibly talented, incredibly dedicated group of developers who cared deeply about things like design and user experience. OS X enjoyed not only the traditional Mac OS community, but the NeXT one as well. That talent share always felt disproportionate to the market share. Massively. And a lot of those developers, and new developers influenced by them, not only wanted iPhones and iPads, but wanted to create software for them.

When you take a look at some of the best and brightest apps on the App Store they come from people with a background at Apple or on the Mac.

iOS attracted non-Mac developers as well, to be sure, and game developers, and inspired a slew of brand new developers as well. However, when you take a look at some of the best and brightest apps on the App Store - Twitterrific and Tweetbot and Letterpress and Screens and Omni Focus and Fantastical and Vesper and on and on - they come from people with a background at Apple or on the Mac. And they come from people with no interest, at least thus far, in writing for any other platform. They come from people who self-identify, take pride in, and have considerable passion for being Apple developers. (And that doesn't include any of the Apple-made apps, like iWork and iLife, which are among the best in mobile and, of course, iOS only.)

Android, by contrast, uses Java for its primary development kit, which lowered the barrier of entry for developers experienced in Java. And unlike Cocoa on the Mac, the heritage of Java developers isn't in killer design or experience, but in server-side tools and, frankly, cross-platform interfaces that people had to use rather than chose to use. Talented, brilliant perhaps, but nowhere nearly as many with the same cultural investment as Mac developers. You've got your Pocket Casts, your Press, your DoubleTwist, to be sure, but nowhere nearly the same depth on the bench.

So, when talking about raw market share size and trying to figure out at what point the math favors Android-first development, much as John Gruber of Daring Fireball has repeatedly pointed out that not all users are created equal, not all developers are created equal either.

Benedict Evans writes:

If total Android engagement moves decisively above iOS, the fact that iOS will remain big will be beside the point – it will move from first to first-equal and then perhaps second place on the roadmap. And given the sales trajectories, that could start to happen in 2014. If you have 5-6x the users and a quarter of the engagement, you're still a more attractive market.

People - developers - aren't just numbers. They have tastes. They have biases.

Which rings numerically true, but experientially false. People - developers - aren't just numbers. They have tastes. They have biases. If they didn't, then all the great iPhone apps of 2008 would have already been written for Symbian, PalmOS, BlackBerry (J2ME), and Windows Mobile years earlier. If they didn't, then all the great Mac apps would have been migrated to Windows a decade ago.

Mobile isn't desktop, and 2014 won't be 2008, but it's hard to imagine at least some of the same forces that applied to desktop and the early days of mobile won't also apply now and into the future. Hell, even Google's iOS apps sometimes get the best features first, and the better interfaces to this day.

Evans wraps up with:

A new, cheaper, high-volume iPhone would have the potential to mitigate or even reverse this trend. Clearly, like current low-end Android, it would sell to a demographic with a lower average engagement and purchase rate and so the average iOS rates would drop. However, it would mean that iOS’s reach would expand significantly at the expense of Android. How would a $200 or $300 iPhone sell? Easily double digit millions, possible up to 50m units a quarter.

Beyond that, when I wrote the 3 reasons a less expensive iPhone might make more sense piece a while back, I think I forgot a 4th reason. Gruber, again on Daring Fireball, touched on it today:

All told, I think Apple could build and sell an iPod Touch-caliber iPhone 5c for $399, possibly as low as $349.

Would this cannibalize sales of the actual iPod Touch? Perhaps, but modern-era Apple has never been afraid of cannibalizing its own products.

The iPod touch has been called a gateway to the App Store - the lowest cost way to be able to run iOS apps. Android, however, is increasingly becoming the gateway to smartphones. Thanks to low prices, people for whom price is the most important feature, who don't care about a smartphone other than when their contract is up and it just happens to be the next free-from-the-carrier phone, Android's market share has exploded.

A less expensive iPhone 5s could be vastly more competitive than the iPod touch as the gateway to the App Store.

Today, iPod sales are way down, and Android sales are way up. That's why, today, a less expensive iPhone 5c could be vastly more competitive than the iPod touch as the gateway to the App Store.

And if more people are buying iPhones - especially the so-called "next billion" customers getting smartphones for the first time - that'll be a huge boon to developers.

It won't be, "oh, Android has more units on the market than my favorite platform, so I guess I'd better make apps of it", it'll be "oh, my favorite platform now has more units on the market". It'll be how Mac developers likely felt when iOS started to take off.

Add to that iOS 7, which could change the expectations of what a mobile app can look and feel like come this fall, and it may not even be a question of can those kinds of apps go to Android, let alone first, but at all. Created by those talented, dedicated, passionate Apple-centric developers, they'll look like the future, in a world of very suddenly not-so future looking competitors.

Credit where it's due for the smart stuff: Some of this coalesced for me while talking to Guy English and others at CocoaheadsMtl tonight.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts

 

76
loading...
0
loading...
293
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

Lady Gaga to open the iTunes Festival in London on September 1

Next up →

Apple acquires Matcha.tv, a video search and recommendation service

Reader comments

The difference between iOS and Android developers and why it's not just a numbers game

60 Comments

i myself also believe that iphone 5C would attract those customers who are very price sensitive. and once you get onto the apple ecosystem , you buy alot of products that you wouldnt have bought earlier.
i myself started with an ipod touch and now have a mac, ipad, iphone and an apple tv. so it will be a good move by apple.

"Add to that iOS 7, which could change the expectations of what a mobile app can look and feel like come this fall, and it may not even be a question of can those kinds of apps go to Android, let alone first, but at all. Created by those talented, dedicated, passionate Apple-centric developers, they'll look like the future, in a world of very suddenly not-so future looking competitors."

I bet that you don't really believe those things

So what if he believes it. To a small degree at least it's true.
Yes everybody wants to be wealthy but there are some enthusiasts, no I don't mean fanboys, who only work with and on Apple gear. They are the ones who won't write for other platforms.

You missed the point, what it is incredible to say is things like " they'll look like the future, in a world of very suddenly not-so future looking competitors" or "which could change the expectations of what a mobile app can look and feel like come this fall, and it may not even be a question of can those kinds of apps go to Android, let alone first, but at al"

Really, how someone with just a little knowledge about technology and who writes in a blog can say that with an straight face?

You know I've had some exchanges with Rene in the past, & quite frankly he has always been fair & knowledgable in all of his replies. Much more so than almost any other editor on the Mobile Nations network, in particular those from that green centric site you should probably be hanging around.

Rene has actual experience in the tech sector beyond his time here. And he has become a featured guest at places like Twit where his opinion & insider knowledge is valued. Where as you are commenting on a blog & questioning his knowledge? Not that he needs me to defend him. Rene can do just fine on his own. But this is just laughable in a very sad way.

Using the argument from authority?

By the way, you guessed wrong, I don't hang around any green centric site

You can be wrong without any authority, that's fine with me. :)

Plenty of people thought the Mac's GUI would be a joke/toy as well. Time will tell. If nothing else, I applaud Apple for being willing to redo the foundations of their interface to this extent.

"You can be wrong without any authority, that's fine with me. :)"

Good pun :)

"Plenty of people thought the Mac's GUI would be a joke/toy as well."

Missing the point, can you pint where I have said that iOS 7 is a joke/toy?

" If nothing else, I applaud Apple for being willing to redo the foundations of their interface to this extent."

Totally agree with you, iOS 7 is a brave bet.

I think that you're still missing the point, the thing I don't think you really believe is two specific points. You can re read what I have said.

And I still that you don't believe it, you're too intelligent for that

redoing the UI is one thing. How they are forcing it on the devs is an entire another thing.
Entire Apps require a lot of UI love and rework just to bring them up to funtional standards for iOS7. Much less looking good. It ruined an insane amount of work and if you did anything fancy with how you stacked views it is even more of a nightmare.
Choose to use your own color scheme and leave default App guess what you are screwed yet again. My company for our App we used one of our company colors as a main color for a lot of the title bars and whatnot. It screwed us over. Xcode 5 we we tried to compile targeting 6 and it still messed up the UI for the simulator. Device it is ok but honestly none of us devs trust apple long term here.

We are estimating around 4 man weeks of time to bring everything in line with iOS7 with no promises of it looking really good. Now that 6 weeks of time includes testing but that is a lot of dev time to lose. That is not minding the fact that it could grind other development to a halt app. Basicly we are risking 1-2 weeks of zero forward progress due to the forced changes.

iOS 5-6 cost us some time but nothing to this scale.

Apple took a big gamble but they are also forcing the change down on all of us.

Do you realize how presumptuous it is to tell someone else what they're thinking? How incredibly rude?

If you have an argument to make, then make it, don't do the cowardly thin and throw rocks without being willing to put yourself at risk.

As an iOS developer I'm keeping a close eye on Android's marketshare and where it's trending towards and from stats I think what a lot of people miss is iPhone's shipments are not declining, Apple is still pushing millions of new iPhones into the market every single quarter and growth is still happening. It's just Android is explosive because as the author has stated Android has officially become the OS for all phones that are not the major players.

Aside from that I think there are several areas my clients will want to see before Android first development happens:

1) Cost - Android development is more expensive than iPhone development due to nothing other than QA and the major headache of multiple specs, resolutions, OS's etc...

2) Audience - Most Android apps are being developed for a select subset of devices at best. Most the ones I see my Android counterparts producing are flagship only devices (S3, S4, HTC One etc.. ). The development cost per-user you *can* reach must again be lower than iOS for them to make that switch.

3) Revenue Returned - People want apps to make money. Whether it's a promo app, a social network or a game they're all there to make money. iOS having 13% market share now and still raking in over 50%+ of all profits makes it a hard sell to waste more money developing for a platform that will guaranteed make you less money. As Android grows it will expand it's revenue marketshare too. But more importantly I don't think this will increase per-app but rather just volume. Individual clients want high per-app payoff.

1) This is wrong. The QA of Android is *not* a major headache if you do it right. Specs for the most part don't matter anymore (they did as recently as two years ago) when it comes to development. Resolutions don't matter because Android developers code to screen density, of which there are four basic screen densities in Android. O/S versions are an issue, but not as much of one as people make it out to be, thanks to compatibility libraries.

Android also has major advantages when it comes to software development time and cost: ease of implementation.

2) This also is wrong - either your Android counterparts that you point to don't understand Android development or you just don't know a lot of Android developers. The only area I tend to see people targeting specifically is post-4.0 devices. I personally don't have what is considered a "flagship device" yet I have no problem using almost any app. In Android development you don't target a device. You target an API level. Then you build your app using Android's responsive design tools, and it just works on 99% of Android devices. Occasionally, yes, you will have Hardware inconsistencies (especially in areas relating to the camera, which is the one truly fragmented area of Android hardware/software APIs), but an experienced developer learns what these pitfalls are and learns how to work with them.

3) This is the one area that we are in agreement on, and probably responsible for most of the apps coming out on iOS-first, but it is changing. Android revenue per user and profit per developer is growing rapidly, far more quickly than on iOS. It will take time, but if the current trends and trajectories continue, Android will surpass iOS in this area within a year or two.

I dont want to go in to details, but this is fact. I was working on a client project, where iOS team consists of just two person, and android team was of four, with 2 guys (3+ exp). And still we deliver the project on time, all builds on time compare to android.
The thing is iOS has better tools, apis, requires less device testing (as you have to test on less no of devices and OS, we dont have to worry about giving support to more then one version back then current one.). Android is improving on that, i like what google is doing with Android Studio, but still its not match to x-code.
Thats why we like to develop for apple ecosystem. Its a treat to develop apps for iOS and mac.

Then you need to fire your Android developers - there is really no need for 4 Android devs vs 2 iOS devs. I've developed in both iOS and Android, and for a long time you were right, but Android Studio is leaping XCode. Android Studio (IntelliJ) > XCode > Eclipse, in my experience.

As far as being a treat to develop on, that's a matter of taste. I find Android and it's responsive development more of a joy to develop for than iOS, at least in its current incarnation. But that's my personal taste, as your development in X-Code is yours.

Yea you're right Google had to shift their tools off to another company just to get them working properly. A sad example how they don't really care about the quality of the product or their developers just install numbers to steal data and push ads.

But also Mike what kind of apps are we talking about here? Small ones or medium to large ones?

Medium to large projects require a lot more from the APIs and hardware and thus involve way more effort on the Android developers because the ADK is not as full and writing low level performant code in C++ and making the Java bindings for that is never fun.

If you've only ever developed with interface builder I understand your gripe, but spending time to learn how to use Cocoa auto layout and implementing it makes interfaces not just responsive but intelligent ( User's language reads right to left? No problem the buttons will orientate on their own ).

I have never seen an Android project get finished in the same time frame as the iOS app and I'm normally prepping most their graphics and providing a lot of read through code for all the hard bits.

Maybe you're just working on really simple apps.

You really do not understand eclipse or how that workers. Eclipse is an open source IDE.
Google made a plug-in for eclipse something a lot of companies do. Heck my eclipse install has Android sdk and other android stuff, a Unix plug in, a C plug in and compiler and I believe a few nice GUI creators for desktop, one of which is supplied by Google.

You saying Google not caring by shifting off to other company speaks volumes about your ignorance. Google has brought in a complete Android development studio.
As far s IDEs of the ones I use I honestly hate xCode the most. It is an annoying IDE and allows next to zero customization of the IDE UI. Sorry but development tools need to be very customizable with the windows that have as each developer likes different things to be displayed and in different locations.

I use 4 different IDEs during a year at work depending on the product. xCode is the one that drives me the most nuts as I like my windows a certain why. xCode is the only one that does not follow any of my other standards.

Share with us your experience then. Because in this tennis match, one player already has. So far, one is bringing a story of a comparative experience, same app, two teams, different sizes, while, you're bring personal preferences and taste.

I work at another software company and we do both iOS and Android development. Generally speaking iOS leads Android but that is more due to our customer base and the fact that their is plainly more man power on iOS.
Our Android team consist of some interns and then several other people splitting their time because other projects and guess what until very recently Android did not lag that far behind iOS. The only reason iOS took such a huge lead is well man power. iOS got a lot more man power put to move a project along.

Android keeps up just fine. It able to because a lot of the difficulties in the design and integration points are hammered out during iOS development.
In terms of testing we have a handful of Android devices but all in all nothing special. VERY rarely do we have model specific issue (GS4, HTC one, ect) Hell samsung seems to be the most guilty of not working correctly and samsung only issues.
Our biggest problem with Android has nothing to do with Android but with AT&T. AT&T jacks with it network settings and we have to dig threw it to figure out exactly what it is.

This is my point exactly.

Android development time right now is comparative to iOS but that's AFTER iOS developers have already dealt with all the business logic issues, API issues, design issues, marketing changes, scope creep etc...

Oh key fact you miss. on Android it was done in LESS TIME and with fewer people. We have also done work in parallel and guess what Android moved just as fast as iOS often times keeping pace just fine.

Heck in some areas in even got ahead of iOS but that was more due to man power. Android had the devs at the time iOS devs we were on other projects or pulled off for other issues. I have more than once gotten the business logic or the API issues solve with letting the android person finish it.

It sounds like you are an iOS first shop though. Here is the real thing, a couple of coders, proficient in their respective environments will probably be about as productive as each other if the environments are anywhere near comparable, as I imagine iOS and Android SDKs are. This is providing you only have to code.

But this stuff has to be done no matter what. I imagined he was stating that the coding/implementation times are similar, design time would be extra.

I've got to go watch the WWDC videos to actually see what he is talking about. Because, I think the article is saying is that there will be a whole new schema in iOS 7 to develop apps that won't be easily copied by Android. But, of course, talking about it is strictly prohibited by NDA.

A great quote from their boss: "If you look at the amount of energy we spend on Apple, it pales in comparison to what we spend on Android," he said, before going on to explain the reasons why.

YOu are right we are iOS shop first. I have found that a good developer can jump fairly easily between languages. I picked up xCode in a few weeks and now am one of the key guys on our iOS stuff. I also am trying to get my hands into Android product as I enjoy doing mobile first and for most. I would love to have parts of the products done by the same developer as right now that is where some issues are is 2 different developers go 2 very different routs to get to the same end result. This means that some of the internal designs are very different so the bugs pop up can be very different between products. Both paths are fine and great solutions but they were different paths.

The app which I was talking about is the good enterprise app, and heck even windows app did take comparable time and resource to iOS. And about developers, as far as I know they were one of best in our company, as this one was an important project. And they have done like 4-5 enterprise apps before.
The things where we take lead was the database module (using core data), animation. And why I rate Xcode higher because of its functionality, not because of UI and customisation the tools offers. It has better event handling tool, u just drag and drop event from control in interface builder to your implementation file. Storyboard allows to set the navigation flow, and no need to write glue code for just navigating between different views. The thing is Xcode was always design with MVC in mind, but same is not the exact case with other tools, may be android studio, but still its a work in progress. Xcode do has its performance issue as its a case with any big product, but its improving with each iterations. I dont have much Android experience, but the time I have spent so far, I hate eclipse for android dev, do see good potential in Android Studio, but right now I am using Intellij.

I agree on some extent, but still apple has by far best ecosystem for developers. Yes target devices, but if an app is fairly complex, say 16 screens and above, and also if its an tablet app, this is where iOS shines. What I like about android tools was its resource management, but with new Xcode they have taken care this for images. But in general my two years exp, of previous company where we used to do full app development, I have never seen an project completing ahead of android. The situation has improved, but still its not good enough, thats why still for many startups iOS is still the first choice of development, as its ease of development, and its user base, which is not governed by quantity but by quality.

One thing to be aware of is when Apple's lower cost phone goes on sale the class of people will change. Over the last 6 years Apple has been priced as a premium product getting a high percentage of people with disposable income. Android however has has low cost phone for a long time now bringing in people with little disposable money who might not be as willing to pay for apps. This is one reason why the money made on Apple's platform is so much higher than Android. As apple pushes in to the low end market it will continue to drag down the percentages of profit per user that is so touted right now on why iOS is a better choice to develop for. All in all these will balance out and Android will eventually over take iOS as a more profitable platform for apps due to the larger user base. As that takes hold apps will continue to get better on Android and while there are more great apps on iOS there are plenty of good apps on Android to satisfy the normal smartphone user. These magical apps that are iOS only aren't for the common person. They want Facebook and Instagram. I'm a tech head and still only use about 10 apps. Just something to think about..
PS.. Google is focusing now more on making development easier as seen by the last Google IO and this will also help to generate better apps for phones and push for tablet only apps.

I think you are right, Rene, but there are some other reasons to consider. I'm taking my friends and coworkers as example, as I am not an expert in app development or mobile OSes.

I live in Brazil and, here, there is a very different idea of user experience, from a consumer perspective. It's not just that Android is cheap, but that it works the same way costing much less. I am talking about people who does not care or even see the difference between what they do on a Mac or on a PC. Android devices came to a point where they run most apps easily and sometimes do much more -- dual sim is a big deal around here. People here pay an iPhone, mostly, as a jewel -- especially considering the high price they must pay in my country.

That said, there are many people who already decided to not buy music or any kind of digital content, to whom "ecosystem" means Rdio and Netflix (and torrent when some of these does not work). To most of those people, the vast majority of today's Androids will suffice. To the few others, that's the same thing to buy a S4 or an iPhone 5, since both cost here 1200+ dollars.

I think your reasoning is still very sound, but the reasons above must also be considered. Sometimes, a dual sim device (or some other characteristic) gives a better experience than good design, from a consumer's point of view.

I don't know what that means to developers, short or long-term, but the new target of mobile devices ("the next billion") has a very different set of needs, and it should be addressed. A cheaper iPhone, for example, makes sense but it is just a piece of the puzzle.

The people you're explaining wont affect app developers much at all because they are unwilling to spend money on apps full stop.

It's also unfortunate the level of taxation Brazil puts on foreign companies trying to sell their products there.

Most of us iOS developers will go back to web development or another interactive platform before we touch foot in the fragmented pile of crap Google has left developers to deal with. If you truly care about user experience or design Android is your worst nightmare.

It's a very good point.

Although, I disagree about the nightmare of user experience. Some developers who want volume give a very good experience on Android. For example, WhatsApp is a big selling point of smartphones, and gives the same -- if not better -- experience on a mid-range Android than on an iPhone 5. No trolling: a third-party keyboard like Swiftkey or Swype makes the user experience a lot better regarding instant messaging apps.

Maybe for some developers, volume matters most. As a consumer, I see "quantity" apps getting better and better, on Android and iOS.

Swype and Swiftkey are the two things I do wish iOS had as they can greatly improve typing accuracy and speed.

I totally agree some developers care more about volume, the majority of really knowledgeable iOS developers do not. At least not any I've worked of, volume is the byproduct of an amazing app.

Am I the only one that thinks the idea of a cheap plastic iPhone for the "next billion customers" is the worst idea for Apple? Apple's entire identity is based upon quality and excellence--in design, engineering and user experience--above all else. This is how they command such incredible loyalty and can get away with similarly incredible profit margins. A cheap plastic iPhone for the masses doesn't feel right. Bringing the product line down to the level of the others feels like Tim Cook cashing in on Steve Jobs et al's body of work for the sake of pleasing shareholders. If this ripoff device comes to market, I have a strong feeling it will clearly mark the beginning of the end of Apple's run at the top.

You have to think about the market in tiers. In that budget smartphone market, the 5C will still be at the top end of it. Just like the ipad mini is at the top end of what's considered the budget 7" tablet market. For tablets, Apple reached down to grab more marketshare, but they didn't reach down to the point Google or Amazon did.

Whatever the 5C sells for, just expect that you'll find many cheaper android phones. But the 5C will be the "premium" budget smartphone.

That said, I share your concerns. But I think Apple knows how far it can veer before jeopardizing it's premium branding.

I agree, The iPhone 5C at $349 or $399 by any means is still a premium smartphone. Apple will never dominate any market share by volume because you cannot compete with $50 phones that are pumped out by a thousand manufacturers.

Nor do they really want to, they have always been a premium brand and are perfectly happy with a small slice of very very wealthy pie.

The thing is, iPad mini has the size as a difference, people who thinks the normal iPad is too big and want something smaller, it's not a iPad C.

Apple is already selling premium smartphones to the masses, at a discount: refurbished iPhones and earlier model iPhones. People are willing to buy these because they know they can't afford to be a first-adopter of today's 5 or tomorrow's 5s, 6, 6s, 7... BUT they know they'll eventually get their hands on those models. Apple introducing a NEW product that is out-of-the gates inferior to the standard iPhone just seems cheap, and Apple has NEVER tried to sell cheap.

It's hard to believe Gruber is only now "making a case" for a less expensive iphone. What he said has only been talked to death months ago (even in these very forums) and is pretty obvious by now. It's almost the same as the idea of an ipad Mini. These writers like Gruber go through this cycle every time. At first, it's disbelief and trash talking. Then the rumors mount. Then it's like all of a sudden, ding ding ding, the light bulb goes on in their head of why half the internet kept wanting these things to happen and how it's a killer idea.

That said, the only real concern I have is fragmentation. Over time the less expensive iphone will easily outsell the premium version. As a user, I'd want apps optimized for the premium iphone and its advanced or unique hardware features (but an opportunity perhaps as those users will be the most coveted ones for devs). As an investor, I'd be concerned about gross margin taking a nose dive but realizing that it's not realistic to expect much growth at apple's current or gross margins of recent years.

In a way, this is putting money back into the company automatically (for those upset about those billions just sitting there going unused). Less margin, but expansion of marketshare which will produce a massive spillover of benefits for Apple's ecosystem and other revenue streams.

I usually don't like plastic but the 5c, if leaks are real, looks more appealing to me than the current iPhone 5. I'll probably pick up a 5s to play with along with my Z10, mainly because I am a tech-specs whore.

I think the 5C is going to be huge. As they say, people don't care about specs as much. But multiple colors? The iOS 7 adjusts to the color of device? And cheap?

Forget about ipod touch, this is what I get my kid next. It's going to have enormous appeal.

Isn't the general idea here about paid apps? The iPhone 5C customer is the least likely to purchase apps. They will be more like the lower end Android customer who just takes free apps and as long as the apps are good. They don't have to be great. These GREAT apps that iOS has more are mainly going to matter to people who have money to spend. People who go out and buy Starbucks daily. They'll be more than happy to pay for a great app but they aren't going to have an iPhone 5C. The 5C phone will have no bearing on this discussion about better made paid apps being on iOS.

Evans' analysis is interesting but it also ignores any kind of real segmenting. His numbers are global numbers that blur the distinctions between the various geographies and it also glosses over the difference in various market segments. He also does something I've seen him do in other analyses which is lump together all of Android as if it's an homogenous whole when, of course, it's nothing of the sort in either the hardware or the software dimension. Not only do low end free phones have different hardware and software capabilities than the new, leading edge phones, but so do the older phones which still comprise a significant portion of the Android installed base. It's also quite possible that the owners of these devices have very different usage and buying habits. Also, how do these segments look in other markets (EU, China, India, etc)?

This isn't a theoretical concern either - there are some apps that require newer features either of the hardware or the OS. For these, their potential market isn't the entire Android base but those devices that have the features that they need. The example I've seen recently is Tile, the hardware thing you attach to keys, etc so you can track them. It's iOS only in large part because it requires Bluetooth LE. Do some Android phones support this? yes... but the scene there is so fragmented that they can't easily support it so... no Android app.

Never read anything so wrong in my life, as a mobile developer I can say for sure that the programming language or the origin of the programmer has nothing to do with the quality of the app's.

The problem is really simple, when you develop for IOS you work with 2 to 3 devices at max, on Android you develop your app to run on more than 3 thousand devices, there's a huge effort in making your app run well in the majority of them.

The other motive why the early Android apps were so crudes was the fact that the first versions of the Android SDK had a really poor support on visual features (animation, native components customization...) and last but not least the fact that MAC users spend more money than Android users, what makes really easy for a company or a developer to invest less time and money on Android app development.

But a lot has changed in the last years, better SDK, compatibility packages and community efforts have made a lot easier to develop for Android and with the exponential growth on Android phone's sales, companies invest a lot more on the platform as a result the the Android apps quality has been improved a lot i suggest you to browse the play store hilights section and take a look.

Great read.

I also think there are inconsistencies to address between the ecosystems that also make a difference

Google allows a lot more freedom with what you can do with in-app purchase for one. They also are being much more aggressive about implementing carrier billing as well - this is a huge help in the emerging markets. Also what Google is doing around allowing developers to reply to comments in the Play Store makes it much easier to foster a community around the app.

That being said iOS users are more willing to pay - by a huge margin.

So many of these tangential issues influence the overall ecosystem besides raw numbers.

smitty
nokpis.com

wow so many sheeps! maybe you all sleep better thinking about you are cool have the same ugly phone like oll others...i try ios and wont ever again...no wonder everybody who really try android change to android...

Rene, I think your view of the world might be limited to your own experiences with Android developers in the past. It's easy to point out defects in people that don't think like you, and what I mean is for example you value UX and design and envision that as the most important thing when it comes to making developers great. Well in all honesty you said that "not all devs are created equal" so you understand that your priorities might not equal be others. I understood the topics you described, and I agree with you when it comes to iOS being more well structured and offers more rigid UI standards, which in turn will make developers focus on that hence generally producing well designed applications.
But I also think you should't put all the platform devs in the same bag, not all Android developers are the same. I'm an Android developer, and my priorities are completely different from what I think you see in most Android developers, if you want to read it I written a blog post a while back regarding that: http://www.pedronveloso.com/2013/06/my-take-on-tecnology.html

Also you miss an important point, that iOS would not evolve if there didn't exist a more free ecosystem for concepts to be tested. Apple is good at capturing existing concepts, but the creativity and great ideas can come from everywhere. Notifications bar, touch screen, cloud storage, cameras in phones ... etc. This was all made possible by an ecosystem that allows you to choose; if you are a creative hardware engineer for example it makes no sense waiting for Apple to embed NFC on their devices to use that. To many people that is the most valuable aspect to developing. So you should consider that once you're holding your iPhone and all seems great, that a lot of the people you criticize might just be people who are far more interested in pursuing their ideas and not rather worried about UX. There is no such thing as "iOS Devs" vs "Android Devs" in my option, only different opinions, ideals and expectations. And I don't don't see why we can't all coexist, to validate your vision you don't have to despise another's ;)

Recent i also think that The Mac, though its market share was never large, especially when compared to the well over 90% market share of Microsoft Windows-based PCs, had always attracted an incredibly talented, incredibly dedicated group of developers who cared deeply about things like design and user experience,so the android ios7 tangential issues influence the overall ecosystem besides raw numbers smithy otherwise developers cannot approved in this situation.

This article is a joke, your a moron. Based on what you wrote it is clear that you lack any real knowledge of these technologies. Its people like you that keep all the false beliefs about ios alive, spreading these myths and fake facts around like some disease. Here are the real facts and its not up for debate, your entire article is false, ignorant, and mis-leading. The iphone and ios is simple, boring, and limited. The devices themselves, iphone, ipad etc. Dont compare to high-end android devices such as the Galaxy s4 which blows the iphone out of the water. The ios is closed source and developers are limited in what they can do as well. Apple controls the ios and its users. While android is open source which means its developers have free reign over the android os, and the user has complete control over their device allowing for full customization and far more options then ios users. With ios you get what apple gives you. You try to sound like you know what your talking about when you speak of developers and java script, and to someone like me, an actual developer, i am enraged at your false statements and lies that your spreading, heres a fact! 79% of developers choose android over ios, we cant stand apple, and we would much rather develop for an open source platform like android then ios, why? Well you see, its like if i asked a moron like you to paint a picture for me, and then told you that you can only use the colors blue, yellow, and red, thats it, and then another person asked you to paint them a picture and the said you have no restrictions do as you wish. The moron such as yourself is basically saying you would rather have the limited guys offer, and then being the moron that you are justify your dumb decision by giving typical ios sheep responses like, "simple is beautiful" or "it is more polished" thr fact is, ios apps in the beginning were better and more polished as applr had thr headstart and the android os was still new and like anything in development it takes time before it comes together, but now in 2013 android and all android devices have surpassed the ios and its obvious why, android is open source and open source platforms will always be preferred by developers. The ios is being left in the dust, its a lie that apple is the innovative ones, they in fact are not and havnt changed much since the onset of the ios, its users are switching to the much more option filled and exciting android os. It is the ios users who are simple and lack the ability to handle an advanced user experience that android offers. Im going to expose you on this one right here, as a developer i beg anyone who read this mans bs article to look this up, he mentions how android is all java script, thats wrong, we use alot more than that, too much to list look it up on Wikipedia and also check out the info on the eclipse apk developer interface, this guy is a jerk off who wrote an article with all kinds of ignorant crap passing it off as true facts when really the guy doesnt have a clue, any developer who read this crap probably wishes they could smack the bs out of this guy. Point blank, the ios is boring, hasnt changed much, it doesnt even support widgets or live apps, its a dinosaur compared to the new android os jelly bean, the iphone will soon find its demise as people start to see how android and its devices offer way way way way way way more then ios, technologically sound people choose android, period! Ios is fisherprice in comparison its vanilla at best. Android is a full on board os, the ios is NOT, the ios is losing buddy, FACE IT! And stop writing bs articles like this, get a real smartphone and stop justifying the ios inferiority. The iphone has no sd card slot, no ports, you cant even change out the battery, the screen is small, the hardware is out dated. Its because of bs articles like this, that have the unaware consumer believing that apple is the cutting edge and the innovation hub. The real truth, android surpassed ios two years ago and hasnt looked back, leaving applr in the dust

This argument will never end. Both iOS and Android are good. Being unique in their features, both are accepted by mobile users across the globe. With frequent changes in their app features both iOS & Android developers are playing their game. The game is on and it will continue for long time. The ultimate winner is us, the mobile users.

Give me a break. I have been using Objective C since 1984. I worked at Apple for some years as well starting in 2006. In all that time Objective C hadn't changed that much. Still no namespaces. Still the same top level structure. Still reference counting. Still way too much boilerplate. It is not at all a sign of superiority to program in it. As an extremely seasoned developer I find it almost as boring and stultifying to create in as Java itself.

I am also, or was as I haven't programmed in it for years, adept in Java. It is certainly not true that better hackers are on Objective C than Java. Outside the Apple box Java has obviously racked up a lot more and a wider variety of wins and major application stacks.

Apple has this customer/device centric and app-centric focus. They really do not get Enterprise or the view that data/persistent objects are not owned by an app. The view that apps are interfaces against some data is alien to the culture. So Apple is self limiting.

I frankly fond it ridiculous to build up better and better chops on one and only one sandbox using an Apple only language. Yes Objective C is used outside, barely. But almost the entire class stack is proprietary to Apple to do much interesting with the language.

Personally I like a device I can make by own without paying for permission and a device on which I can share what I create without paying Apple to give me permission.

Hi Rene Ritchie,

Please in the future , which development has good future between ios vs android.

i am a freelancer.

Regards
Arvind

I guess when you do start developing on both platforms, what you will immediately notice is the maturity of the iOS development platform compared to that of the Android platform. With its graphical designer and assortment of testing tools both in the simulator as well as on the device itself, you begin to see that you really do get what you pay for in this case. And the development cycle to build, deploy and debug in the simulator is very, very fast. The focus of Xcode is clearly to get out of the developer’s way and provide the necessary tools to quickly and easily create high-quality apps.

With the Eclipse Plugin for Android, you will notice that you do not have any sort of graphical designer when developing the layouts for your Activities. There are also not nearly the same breadth and depth of profiling tools available. What is most annoying is that the emulator requires configuration and can take quite a long time to initialize. This results in longer development cycles. Even once it is up and running, the Android build, deploy and debug in the emulator cycle is nowhere near as fast as it is in Xcode. But keep in mind the priority of Android is to be open. The collaborative nature of open source does not always lead to consumer satisfaction or turnaround time being the first priority.

Mark Simon
http://www.agileinfoways.com/technical-expertise/mobile-applications-dev...

Firstly, You really need to see the new Android L.

And to add iPhone always copy from android, the latest example being, as android announces Android Wear we hear rumors of Apple releasing its wear.

Its clearly evident that Android is the Next big thing, loosers just accept it.