IOS exclusive apps

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by socojo112, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. socojo112 macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2012
    I've been having a debate with a friend about application development on ios and android. I think that we've come to a point where all of the major apps are being developed for both platforms, but my friend thinks that the app experience is still better on ios. My question is what are the ios exclusive apps, and what makes them better than the ones found on android
  2. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    From a developer perspective, it's pretty simple. If you write the same app on iOS and Android, you make more money from iOS. Not a bit more, a LOT more. You don't have unlimited resources in most cases, so you focus your effort on where the most reward is - and you end up either writing for iOS only, or writing for both (and often still putting more effort into the iOS versions).

    So basically if you're going to write a serious app that takes a lot of time and effort, in most cases you write it for iOS. You might consider an android port as well, or add one later. That means that most of the time the best apps appear either on iOS only, iOS first, or on both. Android first/only is rare.

    The flip side to that is a bit more complicated. Some apps aren't possible on iOS because of apple's restrictions. For some of the apps I've considered writing, the only viable option is android. Some developers love open source and go with android for that reason. Others look at market share numbers and think android is obviously the way to go (I know people who've done this, then tried an iOS port of their app.. and switched platform fast!) Also, the laxity of the android market rules means you can quite easily sell "spam" apps (make a simple app, upload a hundred nearly-identical copies with different names - giving you huge exposure for minimal work, something that's very hard on iOS). You can sell utterly pointless apps, such as an app that just sets a wallpaper picture. Or even malware, if that's your thing. Take a look through the darker corners of the android market and you'll see what I mean: masses of junk apps, blatant copyright infringement, totally misleading descriptions, all sorts. These things really swell up the android app store numbers unfortunately - and it's why people say the app store has much higher quality content.

    There are other reasons devs pick iOS too:

    - Better development tools (although buying a mac is an expensive start for a small dev trying their luck).

    - Easier sales. The app store works really well on the whole - it's easy to find the best apps, and easy to buy them. This isn't always the case on android.

    - Support. It's pretty easy to support an iOS app. There's only a few (very similar) devices, most of them have a pretty up-to-date OS, and there are few problems. On android? 100s of devices. Different CPUs, GPUs, memory, storage, screen size, screen shape even! Making an app that works everywhere is hard. Then you have the OS: lots of versions with big performance and feature differences. Most devices only get a couple (if that) of updates, so you have to support a wide range. Your app is pretty unlikely to work everywhere, and you're going to get a lot of support requests, eating up your time and budget. There are issues with the market place too, meaning a lot of customers can't get the app installed. And did I mention that there are multiple app stores on android? It's a nightmare!

    If you take all that together you get a good picture of the differences: iOS is pretty easy to dev for, easy to sell apps on, and will give you the most profits. Android is pretty hard to develop for (especially for anything complex like a high-end game), not so easy to sell on, and less profitable. Most devs want to support both of course, but in practice you usually have to focus your efforts, and iOS is the obvious choice.
  3. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    The obvious iOS only apps are anything developed by Apple. Take a look at Pages or garageband which are a lesson in how phone and tablet apps should look
  4. socojo112 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2012
    great post. I've heard that developers could make more money from ios, but now you're actually giving me the reasons why. It's clear to see that both sides have there advantages due to restriction and non restriction.

    I think a contributor to why ios brings in more money is the the appstore like you pointed out. it's been around a long time and people are familiar with getting content off of it whereas the android market has had serious makeovers the past few years. only now is the market set up nicely to where it's very easy to find the content you're looking for and premium apps are showcased. I do think that there should be some restrictions in the android market like apple has for the appstore to get rid of all of the garbage apps.

    Im not a developer so i cant give you great answer but Im pretty sure that the development tools have changed for android since their last update to 4.0. the effect is that it's supposed to be easier to develop for all of the different hardware by using what's called a holo. holo explained I do see your point from the developer side saying that multiple app stores is a nightmare, but as a consumer I've always looked at having multiple appstores for android as a benefit because you can shop around for the best deal before you make your purchase.

    I'm gonna see if i can find some videos of them on youtube
  5. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    Holo is all well and good, but how many devices have 4.0? How many current devices will get upgraded to it? In 2-3 years it will help perhaps, but for now it's not something most devs can afford to support, because it limits the market heavily. (This is another big issue for android: we can support the latest features or we can sell to a big market, it's hard to do both.)

    The dev tools I'm referring to are the tools themselves - Xcode for iOS and eclipse for android. People complain a lot about Xcode compared to the windows dev tools. They think the same about eclipse compared to Xcode, making it 3rd rate if Xcode is 2nd..

    Stores are a problem because to sell through lots of them means a ton of extra paperwork. Devs want to spend their time coding - bureaucracy and support stop us from doing that. And sometimes it gets more complicated. E.g. the kindle fire. A lot of those things are getting sold - it's the number one android tablet by a long way already, so devs want to write for it. Except that it only accesses the amazon store, and the rules for that store aren't exactly good because we have to sell our apps on that store cheaper than anywhere else. I.e. we have to undercut *our own prices* to sell on the fire!
  6. socojo112 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2012
    I look at this time as the last one that's going to through badly. android 4.0 is a complete remake of the os so companies have to learn it from scratch. and thank you for the explanation on the dev tools. Is there anyway that the tools themselves can be changed or is it too late to change them?

    again i see the point from the developer side that multiple app stores is bad. I didnt know that you had to undercut your prices... that's really bad business IMO, but I would recommend just developing for android 4.0, which is on the transformer prime and is going to be on tablets at release according to what i've seen at ces.
  7. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    They're regularly updated and continuously improve. Eclipse has a bad reputation for being slow and 'clunky' though - it's possibly slow because it's built in java, if it doesn't improve much then at least computers will get faster. Clunkiness generally needs a major redesign though, which tends to take quite a while with these very big + complex software systems.

    At the moment android 4.0 gives you perhaps a few hundred thousand potential customers - against perhaps a few million kindle fires and tens of millions of iPads. If you can target iOS 4 or android 2.x you have a market in the hundreds of millions. It's going to take a few years for that to change around unfortunately, so most devs are going to be targeting older versions of the OS.
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    It's also about the money. Apple has built their ecosystem around money, people who buy nice looking stuff that is more expensive, and who actually use their credit card for iTunes stuff. That not only leads to more profits for Apple, but also a lot more purchasers with the cash and the willingness to pay for apps.

    Now the more money there is being spent on apps, the more money there is tempting developers, the more development companies can invest in hiring better developers and better designers to make more of their apps more polished, less buggy, and more attractive looking. Why would as many Android app makers spend that kind of money?
  9. socojo112 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2012
    what I have noticed with google is that they are slow to make certain changes but I dont see google not trying to come with some kind of fix for developers.

    apple definitely went into the market at a good angle, but androids approach hits everyone else that's why they have a larger market share. so the money's there, but like you and psonice are saying the process for developers to make money on android is flawed
  10. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    Eclipse isn't made by google, but it's an open source app so they could contribute (or make something to replace it). It's not something they could do in a month though either way. That said,

    It's not particularly 'flawed' - there are flaws, but there are flaws in the app store too. I'd say there are a few other reasons why iOS is more profitable for devs though:

    1. Google didn't particularly care about paid apps to begin with. Remember, google are an advertising company - all their other businesses are there to drive advertising. They make no money from android itself. Free apps are actually best for them, because free apps usually have adverts embedded. I think now they're aware that quality apps are important for the platform, so they're improving on this.

    2. Tons of people who buy an android phone aren't buying a smartphone - they're replacing their old 'feature phone'. They want something that makes calls, takes photos and maybe browses the web. These people are much less likely to buy an app. iPhone buyers are more likely to be buying it as a smartphone, and many are buying it *because* they want to buy apps. That means more people buying apps on iOS.

    And yes, I know point 2 is very general - of course lots of people buy high-end android phones to run apps too, but this does affect the android market quite a bit I reckon. It also means there's a large number of low-end android phones with small screens, slow CPUs and an old OS.

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