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How to Make the Decision: iOS or Android? (Part 2.) 

In continuation of our previous article here is the Part 2. Now you have an opportunity to see the list you’ve been looking forward to in full. The list that puts an end to all your doubts and compulsive ideas about choosing the right platform for your mobile app. Take a deep breath and enjoy reading. And be attentive to NybleCraft’s advice! 

#5. How much time will it take to build an app? 

What is your expected time to market? Key differences regarding the integrated development environments for the two platforms impact your timeline! Usually it takes less time to build and release iOS apps than Android apps.

Usually it takes less time to build and release iOS apps than Android apps.

There is an assumption that you need twice as much time to build Android app as to develop an iOS app. When building the same app on both platforms an engineer has to write approximately 40% more code for Android than for iOS.

#6. What are the key differences between developing for Android and iOS?

While developing for Android a programmer is almost 100% flexible, as Android’s technology is quite adjustable. However, iOS is usually easier to work on.

iOS developers use XCode as IDE platform and Swift as the coding language for app development. Android developers use Android Studio. Many software engineers hold the view that Apple’s XCode is better despite that Android is told to be open source, adaptable, and giving developers a significant amount of flexibility. Many iOS developers think that XCode is fairly easy to use especially when having a great (developer) user interface and quick and intuitive shortcuts for building templates and applying in-app controls. On the contrary, Android Studio often seems impossible to understand and Google continues to make attempts to change the environment which makes it even more difficult for developers to navigate.

#7. Android’s operating system has more than 7 versions; iOS only 3 live. What’s the impact on your business as a result of this discrepancy?

Of course, iOS has fewer OS versions that is why it reduces your operational cost of maintaining and updating your app.

As far as iOS is concerned, most users are on the latest version of OS. From a business aspect, the decision is rather easy to make. You either develop your app on the newest version, or you build it and test it for the top two versions and reach most of your users. In general, as a company, you should build, test and maintain both a website or a mobile app that will function perfectly for 80% of all your potential users. As such, iOS meets and very much exceeds the business expectations.

When talking about Android, there is a very different picture. Unfortunately, most users are not on the latest OS today. That is mainly due to the fact that Android market is quite fragmented with OS updates being dependent on the manufacturers pushing these updates to the users’ phones. 

Launching an app on Android means that controlling various versions will be a hassle, increased in-app testing will be needed, and version specific bug fixes will have to be implemented.

And here the answer is clear - iOS is the uncontested winner here.

#8. How important are the publishing policies between the two platforms – do you anticipate regular updates or not?

As you know Android presupposes frequent app updates, whereas in contrast iOS has strict restrictions limiting release flexibility and updates. 

You don’t need any efforts to publish an app on Android. You just submit your app to your Google Play store and it becomes available for downloads, usually within hours of your submitting. Besides, Google Play allows you to publish an alpha and beta version to Google Play. 

On the contrary, publishing an app on iOS may be described as a nightmare, as it requires various levels of approval from the iOS team with red tape reviews. What is more, the app deployment may take up to one week. And most companies should not anticipate more than 2-3 deployments per month. 

#9. Does your business model require staggered releases across devices?

An option loved by everyone is that Google Play allows a staggered release. This distinctive characteristic allows to submit the app gradually to various percentages of users, observe their interactions, and then increase the percentage of users who can access it over time. 

Google Play offers the option for staggered releases while iOS does not – at least for now.

#10.  Do you have to build your app on both iOS and Android at the same time?

Strategically building your app on both iOS and Android at the same time is unwise. Firstly you need to choose a platform, develop an app and finally test it on real devices. 

Most companies understand the need to build a mobile application as soon as possible to be relevant in today’s digital marketplace. And we recognize that. But the last thing we want you to be doing is building your app on both iOS and Android at the same time. While it’s true that developing your app on both platforms would help you reach a staggering 96% of the Smartphone global market, the philosophy of failing fast (build your app fast then fix things later) simply doesn’t apply well in the case of mobile app development because the cost of building the app on both platforms at the same time would impact your ROI significantly.

That is why the strategic call you should make, regardless of the underlying platform, is to build your app on either iOS or Android first, then gauge your audience’s reaction, make necessary changes, bring your app to a mature state where your critical flows have been thoroughly tested and user approved (transactional, profile management, post order in-app tasks, etc), and then move on to developing your app on the second platform.

As we see Android’s app are quite advantageous but still iOS is a better option. Taking all things into account – market share, iOS vs Android demographics, time to market, users’ power purchase, the relative simplicity of the iOS SDK and IDE – iOS remains the best choice for launching your first app.