Launching your first app – iPhone or Android

You’ve come up with a great idea for a mobile app and now you’re deciding on which app to build it on. Budget’s a bit tight so you choose to only develop on one platform, iPhone or Android. This is a question faced by many budding webpreneurs so we dove into the web and here’s what we’ve found. iPhone trumps Android in this battle. Here’s why:

1) Show me the money: “… a developer who got $1 on the iTunes App Store would get $0.23 from Google Play” was reported by Flurry in March 2012 (in an article by The Guardian UK). iPhone users have forked out more cash for apps as Apple had paid app developers more than $700m in the final quarter of 2011. Whereas an estimate by Horace Dediu of Asymco calculates that developers would receive $210m for the entire year of 2011. This is corroborated by CNN Money which used analysis from Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster that “Apple has about 85% to 90% market share of the total dollars spent on mobile apps” and Apple developers received $3.4 billion in 2011 compared to Google developers’ $240 million (note report was done in 2011).

2) Got OS?: Once your app is built, you have to make sure that it plays nice with the mobile’s OS. With iPhone, this is not so much an issue as nearly 80% of users adopted the latest version of iOS (5.1) within 15 days (as researched by David Smith, an iOS developer). This means that if you’ve designed your app to run on iOS 5.1, you can feel safe that your app can be run by the majority of iPhones. Android is built upon the idea of an open platform, as such there is severe fragmentation of Android smartphone models on top of which only an estimated 10.7% of users have the latest version of Android OS (IceCream Sandwich) as of July 13, 2012. Which means that if your app can only run on the latest version of Android OS, you’d be reaching only 10.7% of your potential users. To top it off, you need to worry about backward compatibility and designing for the plethora of smartphone models.

3) It’s All about the Users: Matzner, director of Fueled was quoted by Business Insider to have said that iPhone users tend to be more affluent and hence have the purchasing power for apps. Moreover, they are usually early adopters (as attested by the queues of Apple junkies camping outside the local Appstore for the latest gadget) and are more willing to try new things. The iPhone user community is also said to be more engaging which is important as an app developer as that is how you can get the feedback needed to improve the user experience of your app.

There is a lot more material out there and the game is always afoot. Based on our limited (time and research material) resources, it seems that the majority of findings support the development of IPhone apps first over Android phones. So if you want to play it safe, the Iphone route is the way many companies have gone.

At the end of the day, it is your choice. The important thing is to go into your development with as much information as pragmatically possible. If you’re passion is Android and you’re an Android fan, then go ahead and start your development. You’ll have to ensure that your business plan and design for app takes into account the various challenges of developing in Android.

If you’d like to have a chat about mobile app development, feel free to contact me at or visit our website

Simple Disclaimer: I’m not an agent/reseller for either Iphone or Android/Google. We were interested in the subject and wanted to share our findings. Please ensure that you do plenty of research before launching head first into any app development. Peace.

PS If I’ve misquoted or did not properly attribute, please contact me and I will get it fixed. Any mistake was not done intentionally as I’m after all human… well at least I’d like to think that ;)

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