Why Android Gets Apps Later Than IOS

Description: There are too many operating systems, devices, and models for app developers to keep up. This diversified market makes the future of apps look  more corporate than entrepreneurial.

Source: Mashable.com

Date: March 6, 2013


Even though there are more Android phones than iPhones in the United States, the number and variety of Android apps lags compared to Apple’s offerings. For instance, Android users had to wait a year before they got Instagram or Pinterest apps. New research helps explain why.

There’s got to be more to the story than the number of phones. Flurry, a mobile-app analytics firm, released a report this week that helps explain the problem, laying out the challenges app developers face. It also shows that Android apps are unlikely to catch up and that small developers coding for either device will get squeezed out of the market READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Which operating systems or devices do you think would be most profitable for app developers to focus on?

2. How can app developers meet the needs of all users?


22 thoughts on “Why Android Gets Apps Later Than IOS

  1. David Fox

    I think developers should focus on developing applications for android devices. Although developing applications on an android device, means that there is a larger compatibility requirement they need to meet. However, coding for android does have its benefits as well.

    Android developers typically program in a language called java, which is used world-wide in many different types of areas. It is compatible with the internet and many other types of platforms. A developer who works on an entirely different platform or industry can come and program on android devices without having to learn a new language. Android developers (java) are often involved in open source software and code that enables community members to be involved and improve the overall product. By learning how to program in java, they do not limit themselves to just one product or company, and if the developer decides that he doesn’t want to do app programming anymore he still has useable skill that he can take to other jobs and projects. Android typically generates a community, not just a user or fan base, and is steered by that community to new ideas and developments instead of just proprietary software / ideas.

    Developers who code in the android environment, now have tools that help them port their applications to other devices. An example of this is how google has now made a conversion tool called j2obc which converts java to the objective c language. See: http://google-opensource.blogspot.ca/2012/09/j2objc-java-to-ios-objective-c.html

    Developers can meet the needs of all users by coding for android, then porting to iOS.

  2. Will Mammo

    Although having a larger market segment is a benefit in most cases, it shows a great disadvantage in the development of Apps. With Android having a larger consumer base than Apple, an app developer would think that leaning its business towards it would mean higher profit. But stats have shown that ” 1 IPhone user is worth 14 Android users”, which clearly defies the logic behind having a larger number means better. Also in the past, Apple has consistently been receiving a great customer loyalty. With the many different types of Androids out, it is very difficult to adjust the apps according to each phones specifications, which is why Android Apps are usually released after a while of Apple Apps.So, by having a narrow view and a specific target market, Apple has become more beneficial and profitable than Android in the development of Apps. In order to meet the growing demands of App users, the App developers need to form into a company rather than being individualistic. Since android is expanding greatly, having a company to meet the demands of different App specifications would be very beneficial. That way, it can reduce the ratio of 1 to 14 between Apple and Android.

  3. Yaqian Diao

    In my opinion, Apple devices would be most profitable for app developers to focus on. It is because that the Apps are developed and used when Apple devices appear in the market. Customers would download lots of apps after they buy iPhones, iPads and iTouches. But a lot of apps for Android are produced lately. When people buy Android phones, they may prefer just using mobile phone functions. On the other hand, Apple has more clear display and it is much more fashionable. Therefore, Apple is more popular within customers, especially the young people. When app developer create new app, they can produce two types of app for both Android and Apple devices to satisfy the customers’ needs.

  4. Carlie Willimont

    I think due to Apples iPhone popularity it makes sense for app developers to focus on Apple. The capability for apps to be transferred from the iPhone to iPad and to other devices makes the apps more useful and convenient and therefore more popular. Developing apps that are common and popular ensures users will use want them and utilize them and therefore they will be more profitable. App developers can meet the needs of all users by developing accessible apps to all users, that can transfer to all your devices. Having apps that work on all devices and are the same format on all would be great because then you never have to worry about unsaved information and data on your applications not be transferred to other devices. Users want convenience and the capability to be able to access all your apps on all devices.

  5. James Mahoney

    From what the article says it seems like there isn’t any debate when it comes to which platform apps are more profitable; this being Apple’s IOS. The problem that android has is that they have too many platforms that their system is being offered on. Since there are so many companies that use the android platform they all make their own phones that support the system. For Apple they only have a handful of devices that operate on a few systems. Android companies are driving away app developers because of their competition with each other to sell phones for their individual company. Also the fact that there are more android systems users than IOS users in the United States is a moot point since there is an overwhelmingly greater amount of use when it comes to Apple products (1 Apple user = 14 Android users).
    Sadly many of small app developers will have to either go out of business or join with larger companies to develop their ideas. Since the only apps that any chance of surviving are the ones the have instant and long lasting success, developers will have to find more efficient ways to program apps so they can be used universally across all devices. Now I really don’t know if this is possible or even begin to explain how they would do it, but since there are so many devices and operating systems it would be a good start.

  6. Eric Choi

    I think there was at one point iOS that was the most dominant and app developers heavily focused on iOS as a main device to develop apps. But now, android apps are increasing and coming around the same time, or at least just a tad bit later than iOS app due to the increase in android phones such as Galaxy s4 or HTC nexus. Another factor of increase in android is due to the higher apps, higher customization, insertable micro SD card that can increase the memory instead of buying higher memory devices which costs more. Due to this trend, you can forecast that in the future, there will be more emphasis and apps for android will come out first than iOS apps.
    The only way app developers can meet the needs of all users is through the reviews, and comments through when the app gets updated (via itunes or google play). With this interaction, the app will get more people to use the app because it meets the users needs.

  7. Jill

    If an app needs 14 android users to be successful and only one iOS user to turn a profit, then it makes financial sense to follow the money and go after the iOS users. However, a manufacturer who only follows the money may miss out on other opportunities to create an app that other companies want to follow. A great idea will sell no matter which iOS system it’s written for.
    Until the operating systems are more similar to each other it will be difficult for a manufacturer to meet the needs of all users. But the smartphone industry is extremely competitive, and it is to a smartphone company’s own advantage to keep their operating system exclusive. For example, if I want to switch to a different phone, but they do not have the apps I need, I will have a difficult time switching to a different smartphone. When an app is going to be used by everyone (like checking a bank balance or a social networking site) developers will need to find a way to quickly convert the apps code from one operating system to the other.
    Unfortunately, this eliminates the opportunities for small developers. With the higher costs of developing the same app for different systems, it is cost-prohibitive for these small developers to make their millions creating apps. While a larger company can absorb those costs easier, the little guys are eliminated. This results in less choice for consumers who will be limited by the larger developers only creating apps that generate the most income.

  8. Songxuan Wu

    I think IOS would be most profitable for app developers to focus on. First of all, more and more users choose iPhone because it is very popular and easy to use. Even though iOS mainly develop in iPhone, the iPhone control a big smart phone market. Besides, according to the article records that one iPhone user is worth 14 android users, for example, iOS system has itself positive that is running multiple applications and task at the same time. For me, I use iPhone 4S in a long time, and this is my first smart phone. I quickly understand how to operate 4S because its function is very suitable the most customers.
    Not only smart phone faces with completive market, the app developers also need to consider how to control the electronic market. In recent years, the game market transfer a growing number of people to app market, and this is a good chance for app developers who must improve their production as soon as possible because the electronic system has too much uncertainty in the future. In this situation, the app developer can offer some fresh factors, high quality and cheap price app production. In addition, the app developers had better to simplify the processing of download; it will be more attract more people which try to use the new production. The feedback from the customer is also important, to some extent, it help app developer to collect the uses’ advises and information that will enhance the production’s quality and competitiveness.

  9. regi

    The article clearly says that “one iPhone is worth 14 android users” so the obvious answer is that android apps are the least profitable for developers to focus on right now. It seems that everyone has an iPhone and those are the people buying and using most of the apps. I think a lot of people buy into the Apple culture and will continue to use them – so it would make sense that apps for the iOS platform continue to be developed as people will continue to buy them. But both my wife and I have android phones and we would use some of the apps that are available to the iPhone users. However, we also find that there are plenty of apps available to us and an app to do whatever we want. Even though there are fewer android apps there are still a lot of them and enough for people to be happy. Do android apps really need to keep up with iOS apps? Or can they just continue to develop at their own pace? If they want more of the market and money they need to develop faster and to produce many of the same apps available to iOS users.
    While it may be more profitable for people to develop iOS apps right now I think that in the near future android apps will give iOS a run for its money. With companies like Samsung and LG selling more phones it may be time for developers to focus on android apps. Perhaps if app developers got together and developed apps for iOS and android users at the same time they could better serve all of the cell phone users, make people happy, and make more money as a result.

  10. Xinying Du

    Many people now use iPhones. There are also some customers choose android. An ios system does not have many versions as the android system. iOS still represents fewer phone and operating system combinations than does android . And fewer combinations mean less development work and testing for cash-strapped programmers. There are more people to use apple than android. Ios system can run many applications at the same time. As the article said that one iPhone user is worth 14 android users. I think that if ios want to work better, the designers should make a version of systems so that the apps on all available app stores.For me, I have iphone 4s for a ios5. When the system promoted that there have a new version of system to stall, many friends said do not stall it. They said that ios6 is not as good as ios5. It has more disadvantages like flash back problems. Many app developers are working by themselves. I think ios should be improved so it can benefit every customer.

  11. Cameron Pituley

    As the article says it is much more profitable to develop applications on the iOS operating system rather than the android operating system. Even though there are more users of the android operating system, the ridiculously large number of platforms supporting the android operating system makes it difficult to program the same application for all devices. Based on this it is much easier to program everything for the iphone and make changes for the different versions of the iOS. The fewer combinations available in the iOS market results in less development work which makes the operating system of choice clear for many broke programmers. The article also states that “the iOS platform average 14 times the number of active users compared to device models running on other platforms”. Even on the basis of active users alone it makes much more sense to develop for iOS to ensure your product is getting used. Word of mouth is a great way to expand your market especially in the app market.
    I believe that app developers are not able to meet the needs of all users. There will always be some kind of barrier in the two markets because of the pure number of devices in the android market. Unless it gets easier to bring your code to multiple platforms in the android market there will always be more people programming apps for the more profitable iOS. If there was some way that developers were able to transfer their products from iOS to android with minimum effort I could see the app basis for android increase rapidly.

  12. Crystal S.

    I think app developers have a general idea of who uses what types of apps in the general population. They would have to decide which ones are most profitable, but usually those apps that are more profitable and in high demand by the public are also the same apps that developers try to create. This causes high competition among existing developers and brings more entrants to the market because everyone is trying to get a piece of the profits. This would definitely drive prices down therefore creating a high supply and give consumers a better price in which to pay for popular apps. For app developers to meet the demand of all users would be hard, they would have to find out what the market wants and create a plan to see if it would be profitable to pursue certain areas. Developing apps is a business and obviously app developers would only create those apps where there is a high demand so trying to meet the needs of all consumers is something I do not see happening at this time. Maybe in the future developers can add features to certain apps that can be self programmed by users to fit their individual needs. Any product that is developed usually is to fit the needs of the market where there is a high demand, so if a certain app is not in high demand I do not see it being profitable to produce a product where the cost exceeds the profit.

  13. Litchi Peng

    I think IOS would be most profitable for app developers to focus on according to the article. At the beginning, it was Apple came up with the idea that cellphone can be a tinny computer and then more and more apps are developed for Apple. As the article mentions, “one IPhone user is worth 14 Android users”. In addition, the article said, “for app developers to make a decent living, they have to sell 50 apps an hour, 24 hours a day, for $1 each” and “in a blog post outlining the difficult conditions facing today’s app developers. New app versions are expensive to make, especially in light of the proliferation of devices.” Therefore, we can see that developers can test the users’ tastes or if the app can be accepted by users by developing for IOS since this is a good I
    In my opinion, app developers have to what users want to in the first place then they can satisfy users. I think the ranking helps. Developers can see which app is downloaded by most users. Second, developers can use the apps that are developed by competitors. Knowing their advantages and disadvantages is important so that they can make the apps more profitable. Third, it is necessary to ask users for feedback. There are two groups’ users which are IOS and Android. I guess for the Android, the creator can develop a more testable system so that app developers can achieve developing two kinds of apps for both of system.

  14. Liz Martin

    I think this is a tricky question. If there are more Android users than Apple users as the article supports, I think we get the impression that it’d be better to develop apps for Android. But if there are dozens of different OS’s for Androids, then the developer will lose money while trying to match the app to all the different software versions. If the developer instead chose to make apps for Apple devices, this problem would still arise with Apple’s multiple iOS’s. I think that there is less variability in the Apple devices than in the Android ones, so choosing Apple over Android could probably be slightly more profitable, even though most people are buying Androids (I have an Android too). Maybe a study needs to be done on whether users choose phones according to the availability and variety of apps or Just for the phone (or other reasons). Perhaps those people who are huge app users buy Apple. Or perhaps a study could be done on what type of apps the majority of users of Apple and Android use. Perhaps people who buy Android are aware that many of the fun, game apps are not available, but the majority of their app use is for productivity or work, instead of games. And if that’s the case, maybe developers could think about which company to cater their apps to differently. I think it depends on the developer – for brand new, small-scale app developers, I would think making apps for Apple would be most profitable. I think that only those app developer companies with a lot of resources will be able to make a profit developing for both.

  15. Ahmed Awad

    There is war that always goes on whenever there is a new feature in iOS or android is released this is also known as the “the holy war”. However from a developer’s perspective, it’s important to realize who will be the majority of the users that are going to be using your app. Nowadays, its wise for a developer to make apps for the Apple devices rather than android. The edge that apple has over android is there is only one iPhone that apple release ever year* or six month. So for a developer, he has to develop for only one device that is will 100% work for all current iPhones. And there won’t be any sorts of revisions of the same for different iPhones since there is only one. This saved time can help the developer to add features and scale their apps. However it’s different story for android devices and its quit the opposite. Since android is an open source ( apple being closed sources) any manufacture can grab from Google a copy of android and make an operating system out of it such as Samsung or Sony. For the developer their app might run best on Samsung devices but not he Sony one, so they might have to spend lots of time to optimized there app and hoping that it works with all android devices. That makes the developer to spend lot of time on the design of the app rather than adding new features to it. But because android is being open sources it gives the developer a lot more advantage over a closed source like apple. But I think overall that for a developer to maximize their profit they are best to develop for apple rather than android because the developer has to spend less time to initially design their app and they can use the extra time to expand that app.

  16. Kristina Madarasz

    I think that apple should be the focus for app developers as all of the apple products seem to be user friendly and the most popluar. The apps can be used on and transfered to such as the ipad along with the iphone. If it is a well known app company such as Angry Birds, I would recommend that they sell their product all across the board so that everyone can enjoy the product, but if it is a brand new company trying to make its mark and only has so much money to develop an app and can only make one app, I would recommend that they develop their app for apple as it is the most recognized app store and can be easily found and shared and rated by users.

    In order to meet the needs of all users, the developers could make a version the the apps on all available app stores for all systems. This would customize to the users needs and would ensure their app would have the opportunity to be purchased by everyone. If the app was just available on apple’s app store, a large portion of the population would miss out on being able to purchase the app since not everyone has an apple product to do so. However, this would be very difficult to keep up to date and constantly be rolling out new versions and fixing bugs on all the systems. I would then recommend only choosing the top 2 best selling app stores and focus on making great products instead of just good.

  17. Kai Zhao

    Since Apple is one of the most popular smart phone supply companies, they may want to hear more voices from their customers’ opinions. Personally, I do not suggest them focus on the number of units being sold. We all know that Apple has already get enough market to sell their phones, so they may want to focus one maintain their customers and keep develop and renew their smart phones’ technics and applications. These operating devices are various, which provide ton of options for App. Moreover, Apple’s smart phones are usually being renewed yearly or semi annually, so they could try different operating devices and do research afterwards to see which of these operating devices would fit the best for their phones.
    Smart phones are having a very competitive environment. For Apple’s smart phones, their main competitor would be Samsung. Due to users’ needs for smart phones will be most likely constant or improving trend, they have a huge market and great potential of customers. The high needs for App developers to meet are applications, fresh looking, and quality. IPhone keeps their phones a certain price for several years and renew their phones every half a year or a year so that users always have something “new” to purchase. Moreover, they have been doing a great job for their marketing part. It is more like a fashion to take pictures with Apple’s smart phones or having them in pockets, especially in Asia.

  18. Calvin Chu

    Comparing with these two operating systems or devices I think the ios system is more profitable for app developers to focus as it is more popular and common.More than that, as ios do not have that much version as Android. It is easier and better for the app developers to test the app on ios system. It saves their time a lot. Not only that, as more people are using the ios system, it is more profitable to make app on ios system as you have a bigger opportunity to earn more than focus on Andriod. Lastly which is only my thought, as everyone know, programmer usually work by themselves, unlike others from computer program company. They have no support on money and help. Therefore, delay happens a lot.
    So far I do not find a way that the app developers can satisfied every different customers’ need. I won’t deny that they can do that in the future but not now. Since the market is big, there are lots of different customers looking for many different products or have different thoughts. I suggest they do a research on the market, understand what people’s need and focus and develop on the specific thing to meet the most customer’s need.

  19. Jingyi Wang

    Until now according to the article, the most profitable operational systems or devices for app developers to focus on is the ios system. First, it has fewer verson and fewer users, so the app developers do not need to test on the app fewer times before it goes into the market and this will cost fewer money. Second, the users of ios is more profitable than the users of Android, “Device models running on the iOS platform average 14 times the number of active users compared to device models running on other platforms”, “one iPhone user is worth 14 Android users”, “one iOS user was still worth seven Samsung users”. Third, many app developers are working on their own, they do not have a lot of money and energy to do those testing work by themselves, so this can be another reason why Android users have to wait for a longer time for the new apps to be used on their devices.

    I do not think there is a method that the app developers can satisfied every customers need, because each person has their own thoughts, and they will have different thoughts and these thoughts will change with time passing by. The only thing they can do is that they can develop the sofware or apps meets the most urgent needs, or satisfy the majority of people.

  20. Tammie Tuccaro

    I do think that app developers should be doing their research and confirming to see which smartphones have the higher number of units being sold and are being used the most. We all know that Apple and Samsung are major smartphone companies and that the app developers would definitely want to keep up with them and making sure that their apps compatibility features are kept up to date with these companies considering that smartphones are continuously changing. I used to have the new Blackberry up until a few weeks ago. I was so disappointed with the number of apps that weren’t available on their new operating system. My biggest one that threw me for a loop was TD bank didn’t even update theirs to be compatible and I was mad. But as time went on and would come across more apps that I thought would be of good use to me, I was once again let down as they weren’t available for the new BB. I finally switched to the new Samsung Galaxy S4 and the apps seem to be endless and I continuously receive alerts telling me that the apps themselves have updates to fix little things, which is good to know.

    I believe that it would be impossible to keep up to date with all users needs as those numbers are sky rocketing every day. Simply put there are way too many operating systems and phones to keep up with. If they want to make money then they need to be keeping up with the leaders in the smartphone industries and keeping their customers happy.

  21. Sean Annis

    Obviously the IOS market is going to be more profitable in the app market. Apple controls a large portion of the smart phone market and as said in the article, there are less versions of the IOS platform and fewer phones that run that platform as well. So when making an app, it save on costs when you only have to develop several versions rather than the many many different versions that would be necessary to establish a foothold in the android market. Also one has to consider whether making an app as a start-up will be profitable at all. Big companies may find it beneficial to start mass producing apps inhouse. This could potentially squeeze the little guy out of the market. Having a good idea is no longer enough to establish your self in the app market.

    I think the only answer is to program into the night and next morning. But i think it would be more easily accomplished by the phone companies. If they made it so one style of app could be used on many different phones, is would help reduce the price of apps as well as the quantity of different apps would get larger. Otherwise i think it might be smart to target the most profitable types of smart phones and develop apps specifically for a few different phones rather than all of them.

  22. Matthew Malm

    Operating systems or devices that hold the majority of the smartphone customer base should be exploited by developers to maximize profits. The Galaxy S3 pre-orders exceed any other phone by around 5 million. With this in mind, I would say developers should learn C++ in order to develop applications for this device. However, another consideration is the frugal nature of customers in different avenues. IPhones being priced significantly higher then other smartphones may hold more frugal customers who are willing to purchase applications more frequently. With this in mind, I would suggest looking at analytical tools to observe purchasing power of consumers under both competitors. Objective C, which is the programming language used for Apple products, holds limited practically in other avenues. Since Objective C is only used for Apple products. C++, on the other hand, has more interchangeability between devices and if you could develop algorithms and applications for one device in this language, the only necessary changes from device to device would be aspect ratios.

    There is no way application developers would be able to meet the needs of all users. When a application is put in the design phase, the objective is defined. The variation of ideas between users will never be equal to nothing. Everyone has their own ideals on how a application interface should look, how it should be used, etc. In addition, the variation of languages does not allow for cross platform development. You would require programmers from all backgrounds and in a independent programming firm this is unheard of.


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