While the iOS versus Android debate usually centers on consumers choosing a device, the question of which mobile platform is best to target first is just as important for app developers. It might seem sensible to launch on both platform simultaneously to maximize your audience, but this isn’t always the smartest move. A good balanced approach is to launch on the platform you assess as more likely to bring you quick sales. At the same time you can use this platform as a practical testing ground, and then take user feedback, reviews and bug reports to refine the app before launching on the other platform.
1. Target Countries
Do you know which countries you’ll be targeting? Android versus iOS use in different markets varies depending on factors such as income, demographics and tech savviness. Sites such as Kantar World Panel offer device sales breakdowns for several leading markets, something that’s particularly relevant if you have an app with localized appeal.
Overall, iOS apps generate more revenue than Android apps, even though Android racks up considerably more downloads. That could be because of the type of apps involved, assumptions about disposable income among the respective users, or Google’s more generous refund policy. Again, local markets vary widely: for example, iOS revenue is disproportionately high in China, while Android revenues tend to be higher in developing nations. Tech Crunch has some country-specific data that could be useful for particular markets.
3. Type of App
Another factor is the type of app you have developed. Some apps, such as casual games, are popular on both platforms, but there are variations. As a general principle, more sophisticated utilities such as the Afterlight image editing program do better on iOS, while simple, single-purpose apps such as a flashlight tool do better on Android. It’s worth checking the Google Play and iTunes stores to compare downloads across platforms for existing apps similar in theme and design.
4. Complexity of Development
Sometimes the decision comes down to sheer practicality. Designing for iOS is a more streamlined process because you deal with fewer system editions, and you need only a couple screen sizes and dimensions. On the flip side, Google Play may be a better bet if your app has any form of adult or controversial content: the iOS review policy can be frustrating and unpredictable.
Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer to which platform is better for launch; individual circumstances will favor one or the other. As a rule of thumb, seek out iOS development for rapid market appearance and maximizing revenue. Android development may be better for a specific local market with a strong Google platform, mass audiences rather than a high purchase price, or content that might fall foul of Apple’s guidelines.
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