Before we dive into the ocean of development, let us explain the basic understanding of what IOS and Android are. IOS is the iPhone Operating System, developed by Apple exclusively for iPhone and iPad only. Whereas, Android is an open-source operating system developed by Google for touchscreen devices like tablets and smartphones.
Choosing the right platform depends on several factors like what your target audience is, what is the preference of the developer, or which platform will provide an overall better return. We will explain a few factors or differences that will help you in making a better decision.
The first thing you are going to notice as a developer is a difference in programming languages, IOS apps are built on Objective-C or swift(developed by Apple for IOS), Whereas Android applications use JAVA or Kotlin(developed by JetBrains) for development.
Compared to Java, Swift is a relatively new language, and development on swift is much faster due to less writing of codes. Kotlin was developed to provide an alternative for Java, to provide as an enhancement for Java. Moreover, Kotlin is now considered as a go-to programming language for Android.
Android provides an open-source platform for mobile makers to integrate with it. However, IOS is a close-sourced platform and can only integrate with Apple devices.
Before deciding to develop applications, you need to distinguish what hardware is required for each. Android applications can be developed on any computer operating system, whether it is Linux, Windows, or macOS. While the IOS applications can only develop on macOS. So you also need to check your available resources before deciding the platform.
Integrated Development Environment:
The different OS uses different tools to develop their applications. Eclipse tool was the famous IDE for developing android applications. However, in 2014, Google launched Android Studio as an alternative for the Eclipse tool. IOS developers use Xcode(supported by Apple) as a development tool for developing IOS applications.
Testing and Debugging:
Developers need to ensure all the time that the app will run smoothly, so there is constant testing going on. The IOS Simulator which is used for testing and debugging of IOS applications, while the Android uses Android Emulator for testing of its apps. Reviews suggest that the IOS simulator is faster and smoother, but, occasionally mispresents the data.
Design and UI:
When designing for IOS applications, developers have iPhone models in mind that have few differences, which make adjustments and changes easy. However, when developing for android applications, they have to adjust the app to hundreds of different screen sizes.
Apple provides more design styles and guidelines than Google, which makes it easier and less time consuming for developers to design UI, the result is IOS apps have an overall more appealing user interface.
The main differences in the design of IOS and Android are navigation bar and buttons. You must have noticed at least once in your life by now, that iPhones have only one physical button for the home screen, whereas Android provides a touch-sensitive navigation bar (back, home, and recent).
Although IOS is more smooth and polished than Android, however, Android offers more customization than anyone else in the market. You can even install custom ROM in your Android phone or activate developer mode options. There are thousands of themes, widgets, and wallpapers you can choose from in android, and then there are custom Skins and UIs provided by phone manufacturers. The home layout of Android can be completely customized. While the IOS has fixed home layout pre-set by Apple and there are many other restrictions imposed like this, leaving little room for developers to play with.
The coding language Java used for Android applications is fully compatible with its new programming language Kotlin, which means that old applications developed on Java can easily be converted into Kotlin. Whereas, IOS programming language Swift is not truly compatible with Objective-C. It creates an obstacle for developers who are transferring IOS applications built on Objective-C to a modern programming language.
Speed of Development:
As we have already understood that Android requires more lines of codes and adjustments, it is not difficult to guess that the speed of development of applications on IOS is faster and fluid than its Android counterpart.
Google uses automated tests and security measures before releasing an app on the Play Store, so normally it takes on average of a few hours to deploy the application on play store. On the other hand, the Apple app store has additional layers of security check, so it takes around 6 days to deploy an app.
The cost of developing applications depends on several different factors, but keeping everything else constant, the cost of Android development is usually higher than IOS. Firstly, Android apps are developed for a range of devices, whereas IOS apps are developed for only one platform and are build keeping specific devices in mind.
Secondly, it is more time-consuming and costly to test run the application on Android because of its range of devices, but, there are some benefits to android’s fragmentation, it can design applications for many different devices other than phones, like Android TV and wearable.
Because of being the closed-source platform, IOS provides a more secure environment to its users, with additional layers of security placed by Apple to ensure reliability. Android, on the other hand, is an open-source platform that is more venerable to hackers.
IOS apps are generally more smooth and optimized due to its closed-source integration, tools used to develop IOS apps are provided by the same company which manufactures the hardware, making it easy for developers to fine-tune the applications.
Revenue from Apps:
Market share does not tell the revenue generation on an OS. Although the Google play store holds more applications and user base, the earnings on IOS is higher. On average, the IOS user spends more on in-app purchases and loyalties than Google users. In 2017, Apple app store earnings were almost double of Google app store earnings. However, the benefits of publishing an app on the Google app store is a larger consumer base and in-app Ads earning, Google app store has twice as many users as the Apple app store.
Before deciding to choose the development platform, one should consider the market share of each operating system. When it comes to market share, Android dominates the market. Higher market share means more users, hence, more earning from advertisements.
If you are still confused about choosing the right operating system, then loyalty is another way of comparing the two. The survey concludes that overall Apple customers are more loyal to their brand than users of other mobile operating systems.
When choosing the right development platform, it is important to take all the aspects into account before making a decision. Both IOS and Android comes with pros and cons, IOS application is generally cheaper and less time consuming, whereas, Android has more users and less deployment time. For example, if your target market is America and upper-class income groups then choosing IOS first will make more sense. However, if your target audience is from Asian countries and middle-class income groups then developing on android first will be a better option. IOS platform provides on average more in-app purchases, while the Android platform has more revenue generation form advertisements. If you want your application to exist on both the platforms, then consider developing on cross-platform frameworks like React Native and Flutter, but there are also some downsides of developing on cross-platform discussed above.
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