Android vs iOS, 2016

Published on Aug 22, 2016 in App Development
android vs ios

Do you remember those Mac versus PC commercials? Put on by Apple, those commercial would pit a pudgy man in a tweed suit, representing PC, against a younger, geeky yet seemingly hipper actor, which would represent Apple. A conversation would ensue in which a feature of the two systems would be compared and contrasted, with the Mac systems coming out on top every single time. Fast forward a decade and a half, and Apple finds itself again embroiled in another conflict.

Undoubtedly, today’s most prevalent technology resides in the palm of your hands. The smartphone has revolutionized the way people communicate, but it has a larger effect on how people interact with technology. And there are no bigger platforms in the mobile smartphone industry than Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Both companies continue to push the boundaries of technology and consumers reap the rewards of their endeavors. The technology brought to bear by both companies is so evenly matched that the values to be compared and contrasted no longer revolve around features, but on marketshares and adoption rates.

With a combined marketshare of 98.4%, Android and iOS practically own the smartphone marketplace. However, that 98.4% is not evenly split between the two platforms.

There is a difference… a big difference. More than two-thirds of that 98.4% is owned by Android and overshadowing iOS in terms of shear user numbers. It seems that Android is the platform of choice for many established and emerging markets such as Europe, Asia, South Africa and Latin America. This is not to say, however, that iOS is down by the way side. Indeed, iOS still dominates four of the most powerful markets in the industry: North America, Australia, UK and Scandinavia.

Those at the correlation between the platform and its region of prevalence can look towards the prices of the devices. Android devices are, generally speaking, lower in cost than the ultra-refined and aluminum bodied iOS devices. This makes Android devices more cost effective and appeals to the residents of emerging markets such as China or South Africa.

Android has made a name for itself by allowing the everyday person to use the power and advantages afforded by smartphones. On the other hand, the more expensive Apple devices (iPhones, iWatch and iPads) enjoy high user rates in affluent regions where users, once again generally speaking, have a surplus of income.

android smartphone

The standing of a platform among the EU5 (European Union 5) comprising of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK is a key indicator of its performance outside of the North American marketplace. Android at the beginning of the 2016 calendar year made waves when it announced that it has experience growth within the EU5 that has not been seen for 2 years or more. Needless to say, this news only compounded what the industry already knew. Android sold better that any other platform in 2015.

Apple has a right to be worried. For years now, Apple has dominated the marketplace with well-crafted devices, a slick and intuitive OS, a rabid following and strategically released products. Its devices and iOS platform became synonymous with the smartphone revolution and spearheaded their integration with the general populace.

But these days the marketshare that it once enjoyed is being eroded by the more affordable, yet equally powerful Android platform. While Apple has traditionally been very comfortable about being the more expensive, but superior option, Apple CEO Tim Cook did betray this notion by mentioning that Apple may be vulnerable to price competition. To further bolster this thought, the more cost effective iPhone SE was released at the end of the first quarter of 2016. Meant to compete head-on with cheaper Android devices, the effects of the iPhone SE have yet to be seen, but all eyes, especially those of Tim Cook and Apple shareholders are on it. Apple has further stated that it is looking to reduce the cost of its devices by 9% year over year for the next foreseeable future, in direct reaction to its main competitor.

Apple's saving grace has always been its ridiculously high satisfaction rating. Its users love its products. Well-designed, well-engineered and well-made, Apple products have made its users into fanatics over the years.

Apple has for the longest time believed that the higher cost associated with owning its products was justified by the “experience” of owning that product. When the rise of smartphones occurred, Apple relied on this tried and tested idea, and became the best mobile platform on the market. For years Apple has relied on this tidbit of emotion and thinking, and never worrying about its marketshare. However, it seems that Android has given it reason to pause. One simply cannot ignore a company who owns more than two-thirds of the worlds smartphone market.

Mobile app development for iOS and Android

Over the last couple of years, Apple has been forced to watch as its market strongholds have slowly begun to fall under Android banner. However, there is still one area of the industry where its position is absolute and it still reigns king. The world of mobile apps.

Let’s face it, mobile apps make us want to use our smartphones, and use them a lot. According to market data for both platforms, Android users download more apps through Google Play than their Apple counterparts through the App store. This should come as no surprise due to the shear number of Android users out there. It is the platform with the highest amount of users and therefore should (by probability alone) have more downloads.

ios smartphone

Apple, on the other hand has less users and less downloads, but it has higher revenue. This means that more people make purchases through Apple's Appstore (whether it is a paid app or an in-app purchase) than its Android counterpart. This also should not come as a surprise as iPhone intentionally targeted consumers with expendable or surplus incomes, and can therefore afford paid content.

The interesting part of this is that this statistic holds true for whatever market is examined. It doesn’t matter if it is in North America or Asia, Australia or South Africa, wherever both platforms are present, you can rely on iOS users to spend way more than Android users. This is an key fact for mobile app development companies and mobile app project owners that still don't know where their audience is or which platform they have to choose to have a successful mobile app.

The battle between iOS and Android is far from over. Actually it has just begun. No platform holds a technological upper hand over the other and so must attract users with other factors. Apple, who has enjoyed the seat of power in the smartphone industry for nearly two decades has been dethroned by Google’s Android. And even though it maintains a strong base of loyal consumers that are not afraid to put their money where their mouth is, they are still outmatched and outgunned by Android which holds the overwhelming majority of the marketshare.

It really seems that this is Android’s time. Its powerful OS combined with its very affordable devices has made the powers of a smartphone accessible to the rest of the world. But Apple will not be taking this lying down. If the iPhone SE is any indication of the company’s heading then it is safe to say consumers, the industry and the world are in for some interesting years coming our way.

We have already asked our mobile app development companies about the best platform to develop a mobile app. The answers, as this article, are very different among developers.

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AppFutura has been around to list IT companies and marketing agencies for some years now. During this period, the team has published hundreds of AppFutura tips but also important information for the companies to know more about a specific topic of interest. Among some of the articles, you will find different posts of AppFutura team members that are not quite recurring contributors, like our CTO or our finance controller, as an example. From AppFutura tips to improve your presence online on our directories or some information regarding our company.

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