Android vs iOS App Development

Android vs iOS App Development: What You Need to Know

Branded apps are invaluable tools for engaging customers and generating revenue through digital channels. An app can amplify your leads and sales if you are engaging in search engine optimization, social media marketing, and other popular online marketing strategies. 

Modern-day consumers are highly inclined to use digital platforms. If they want to know about something, read reviews, find a store, or order a product online, they can do so in one go through on their mobile phones or desktops. A branded app can give your business an advantage because, with just one or more taps, customers can review your products, add them to their carts, and then head to checkout.  

The convenience of buying through branded mobile apps is a huge incentive for consumers to buy from a specific online store. People tend to patronize brands that give them a pleasant and satisfying online experience, and apps play a big role in this endeavor. 

Investing in Android and iOS app development can pay off tremendously. But to get the most of its benefits, you may have to decide if creating an app for Android, iOS, or both is better. To help you in this matter, let’s discuss the differences between Android vs. iOS app development and the opportunities these apps can offer to your business.

What’s the Difference Between iOS and Android Development?

When creating an app, developers often must choose between today’s two biggest platforms: iOS and Android. Before anything else, here are a few quick facts about them:

  • Android is the most widely used platform in the world. It commands 70.77% of the global market as of August 2023.
  • iOS’s global market share is 28.52% as of August 2023.
  • iOS is more prevalent in the United States (57%) than Android (41%).
  • iOS is also more popular in Japan, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
  • Android is more widely used in India, Brazil, Mexico, and China.
  • iOS users have a higher average salary than Android users.
  • iOS’s top users are Millennials and Gen Z’s.
  • Android’s top users are Gen X’s and Gen Z’s.

Depending on the nature of your business, products, services, or target demographics, these statistics can help you make the best choice between Android vs. iOS development. Of course, understanding your target market is key to knowing where your investment can yield the highest returns.

How does Android vs. iOS app development differ, and which is better? 

In short, there is no definitive answer. Each platform has its weaknesses and strengths and various use cases that can benefit businesses differently. The answer is unique to every business, but even one organization can find many incentives from both platforms.

Therefore, it would be wise to consider the differences between Android vs. iOS app development and weigh the pros and cons specific to your circumstances. 

Five Key Differences Between Android and iOS App Development

Here are the top five factors that matter the most for businesses and web developers contemplating which platform is best for their branded app.

1. Programming Languages

The first difference between iOS and Android development that you should know about is they use different programming languages. 

Android uses Java or Kotlin. Java is a globally popular programming language and has been commonly used in creating apps since early 2000. It is also widely taught in high schools and colleges worldwide. Java is the programming language of choice for enterprise applications because it creates highly stable and secure apps. As for Kotlin, it runs on Java Virtual Machine and is considered the better version of Java by many. Kotlin fixes the limitations and issues with Java, creates apps that crash less often, and the language is more straightforward and easy to understand, even for someone who doesn’t know how to code.

iOS uses Swift or Objective-C. Apps created with Swift are faster and generally perform better than those made with Objective-C. Swift is also an easy programming language to learn, which explains why many say it’s easier to develop iOS applications than Android. But for developers prioritizing stability and performance, Objective-C is usually more appealing because it is the first iOS programming language, is tried and tested to create stable and reliable apps, and has a large community of experienced developers who continue to use and praise it. 

2. Platform Architecture

Another fundamental difference between Android vs iOS development is that developers must consider the underlying architecture for each platform. 

Android is an open-source operating system (OS), which is advantageous because of its flexibility. Android apps can adapt to a wide range of devices, partly because Android is so widely used for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Unfortunately, the versatility of the platform can make things difficult for developers. Since there is a high possibility that Android apps will be downloaded and installed on diverse gadgets, developers are forced to consider a broader range of screen sizes, resolutions, and hardware capabilities. 

There is also a higher risk of device fragmentation – a phenomenon wherein an app is used on a diverse range of devices, browsers, and OS versions. Device fragmentation often leads to polarized app ratings and reviews because people with more compatible devices will have a stellar experience. In contrast, users with older devices will encounter a buggy and sluggish app. 

iOS, on the other hand, is exclusive to Apple devices. Although device fragmentation can still occur, it will be at a much narrower range compared to Android app users. The exclusivity of Apple devices also creates a more uniform user experience. Apart from screen size variations, iOS app developers will easily optimize their apps for different Apple devices. iOS is more convenient this way, so, unsurprisingly, many developers favor it when considering platform architecture in Android and iOS app development. 

3. Timeframe and Development Costs

Let’s consider that iOS apps are easier to code, and developers have fewer variations and fragmentation to worry about. It follows that iOS apps take a shorter time to create and cost less to develop than Android apps. 

Android is usually more time-consuming because, as mentioned above, developers must consider a wider variety of screen sizes and specifications and do extensive testing across different devices. The Android platform’s diverse ecosystem and the need to address fragmentation often result in longer development cycles. Additionally, Android allows greater customization, which is advantageous from a different perspective, but not so much if you have a short timeframe or limited budget.

In contrast, iOS app development is more streamlined because there’s less device variation, and the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are more consistent. This is why developers can bring new iOS apps to the market much faster, while Android users often have to wait some weeks or months before an Android-compatible version of the app becomes available. Similarly, iOS apps cost less time and money to maintain and troubleshoot. 

However, some aspects of iOS app development can offset its presumed cost savings and increase the total expenses for developing Apple-compatible apps. For example, Swift may be easy to learn, but far fewer developers are proficient in this programming language. By the law of scarcity and demand, choosing Swift as a programming language can lead to higher development costs. 

Apple’s review process for apps is another contributing factor to iOS development costs. The App Store is known for having a strict review process and guidelines to ensure that Apple users have access to high-quality, high-performing applications. Apple also has strict rules for security and compliance, demanding that applications provide a safe user experience. Depending on the review’s outcome, developers might have to do many revisions, extending the project timeline and increasing the development cost.

When weighing the pros of Android vs. iOS app development, you must consider these things if time and capital are a huge concern. 

4. Design Philosophies for UX/UI

When planning an app, you’ll no doubt have some ideas about the aesthetics and functionality, like how it looks and flows from one page to another. App developers and designers will help flesh out those ideas and create a prototype that demonstrates the UX and UI that you want for your app. 

Consider your aesthetic and UX/UI preferences when choosing between iOS and Android. This is because these platforms have different design philosophies and languages. What you want your app to look like might be more suited to one platform instead of the other. 

Android’s design language is Material Design. Google created it and is known for supporting onscreen touch experiences that mimic real-world motions and objects. The philosophy behind this is that mimicking the physical world reduces app users’ cognitive loads because the visuals are familiar and predictable. Android app designers use 3D effects and animations and observe natural lighting rules to make an app feel “real.” This usually translates to CTA buttons looking like realistic keyboard buttons. 

The equivalent for iOS is Apple’s HIG or Human Interface Guidelines. It is a comprehensive guide that covers all visual design elements like color, spacing, typography, and navigational cues. The HIG is focused on simplicity, clarity, and intuitive navigation. But whereas the Android platform encourages creativity and flexibility in injecting “realness” into app designs, Apple is more selective with its app aesthetics. Based on the HIG, it is clear that Apple wants to achieve a consistent “look” that distinguishes iOS apps from others. 

Creatives might find the design guidelines for iOS restrictive. Still, there is an advantage to maintaining consistency: it gives users a more seamless experience even if they switch from one device to another. Ironically, this is where Apple’s HIG mirrors the principle of Material Design: familiarity and predictability allow users to navigate an app more comfortably and easily. 

5. Monetization Options

As a business owner, you’ll want to optimize your app and recoup your investment by maximizing it for sales generation. There are many ways to do this, as evidenced by the different monetization approaches on iOS and Android platforms.

Most Android apps follow a “freemium model” wherein users can download and use the app for free. However, they’ll have to pay an additional fee to enjoy more advanced features. Many Android apps also support advertisements, giving app owners an additional revenue stream.

Many iOS apps are the opposite: they charge an upfront fee (and sometimes with a monthly subscription). Users have to buy them to be able to use them. Given the App Store’s stringent screening process, the incentive for buying is the promise of quality and superior performance. Making users buy apps also demonstrates the presumed buying power and expected behavior of Apple users: many are willing to spend more if it means they get high-quality products and services.

As a business owner or developer, deciding on Android vs. iOS based on monetization depends on your business plan and revenue model. If you intend revenue generation to occur at the beginning of the customer experience by attracting longtime subscribers instead of one-time users, creating apps for the App Store might be the better choice. If, however, your sales plan banks on attracting as many users as possible and generating passive income through in-app advertising, Android apps are the way to go. 

Choose the Platform That Offers the Best Benefits to Your Business

Weighing the pros and cons of Android vs. iOS development takes a lot of study and requires understanding your business and target market. It’s an important decision that merits consulting experts and app design and development specialists.

We are happy to offer our expertise in these matters at Jackrabbit Mobile. Our product development and design experts can help you craft meaningful user experiences that foster trust and loyalty between customers and your brand. We develop website and mobile applications for different industries, assisting clients to build their dream apps from scratch. 

Leverage our expertise in iOS and Android app development and create apps that will bring your business more engagement, publicity, leads, or revenues. 

Contact Jackrabbit Mobile today. 

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