When you’re considering an app for your organisation, at some point you’ll have to decide whether to publish your app for iPhone, Android, or both. But what does that decision actually mean for you & your customers? On one level, you’re making a decision about how much of the potential market you want to target, but you’re also making a decision about what kinds of potential customer you’re targeting too.
The two app platforms are quite different technically too. Android apps take more time to develop, since there are hundreds of different phones for Android, and only three for iPhone. This can mean that an iPhone version of your app can introduce the app to the marketplace, with an Android app version published later, providing time to make sure the experience is as smooth as possible.
The core choice you’re making though is about the kinds of customer that you want your app to reach, so here are a few things to consider:
iPhone Users Spend More Money
Although iPhone & Android users download the same number of apps on average, iPhone users spend more money on the paid-for apps, a study from the Online Publishers Association suggests. They also spend more on in-app purchases, like additional content and game levels, which makes them an attractive prospect for many app developers. Not necessarily to make money directly from apps, but by considering how this trend might affect other ways of monetizing your mobile strategy.
iPhone Users Love New Apps
Typically, iPhone users are “early adopters”, and are more likely to download new apps and try out new ideas than their Android counterparts. This could be due to the iPhone user experience being consistently good, whilst many Android phones deliver patchy experiences – but this could change as we enter 2013 and better quality Android devices increase in number. If your app idea uses innovative technology or employs interesting experience design, it’ll likely draw the attention of the iPhone masses.
Android has More Users
There are more users of Android phones than iPhones, according to a 2012 Gartner Study, since there are multiple providers and multiple devices people can buy. For smartphones, the customer numbers are estimated at around 49% Android, 32% iPhone, and 19% Other (including Blackberry and other providers). So, if you want to really maximise your app’s reaching potential, consider publishing for both iPhone and Android.
Android & iPhone Users Download the Same Number of Apps
On average, users of both platforms download the same number of apps. Unfortunately it’s more difficult to gauge how much people use those apps, as statistics for this are harder to come by, though there have been some studies into this. But, if your app is an experience, specific to a location, or a novelty, then you want your users to fully engage the first time, as a single quality user experience will be more valuable for your app.
At the moment, unless you’re using specific technology like indoor location apps, the general advice is to publish to iPhone first, as you’re more likely to get engagement and feedback from your users. But don’t discount the Android market, with more users and more new Android devices delivering a better experience all the time.