Mobile App Development

Why mobile app developers build for iPhone prior to Android…

14th October 2013

If you’re a business or brand seeking to explore the lucrative and rapidly expanding world of mobile apps, the task can seem complex. With a vast range of platforms to choose from; without specialist expertise the process can seem labyrinthian. Recently there has been a huge amount of debate surrounding a relatively simple topic; whether mobile app developers are best off building for iPhone or Google Android first.

Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad etc) are totally separate platforms. So theoretically if it takes 1000 hours to develop a mobile app for iPhone. You can guarantee it’ll take at least the same again to develop exactly the same app for Android. Let’s assume you’re a business owner or marketing manager and you have a set budget for your project. Even if you could afford to develop and launch for both platforms simultaneously, it would not make sense to do that. We’re going to explain why.

These days, success in the world of mobile app development is all about one simple thing – defining what your customers want. Once your app is launched, the objective is to tweak the app to perfection based on what your users want. You can do this easily by submitting updates to your app once it’s live in the marketplace and optimise and nurture your idea to perfection. The mobile app development game is about minimising commercial and technical risk. Rather than optimising for multiple platforms, you should always pick the one that enables you to fail fastest and cheapest. Do it fast and cheap and when you fail move quickly onto something else.

Do you think the developers of the Angry Birds mobile app made it big first time? Nope. They had 50+ failed projects before they hit the big time. These guys were successful because they learned to fail cheap and fast. Notice too Angry Birds was available on iPhone long before the Android version was made available. The same happened with the Instagram app for mobile; it took two years to release the same app on Android after it had been successful on iPhone.

The ingredients of success are always the same. Fail cheaply and quickly and move onto your next project fast. Minimise commercial and technical risk and optimise to near perfection on a single platform before rolling your app out. But why iPhone? Here’s a quote from Waracle’s technical director Mike Wharton, “As a developer iOS enables you to iterate version updates to your app quickly, in a way that Android doesn’t. Not only that, but a massive percentage of iOS users update apps the very day updates are released, again the same can’t be said for Android.”

So there’s clearly something about iOS that makes the process of iteration and speed of optimisation more effective. It’s not just the technical environment that’s easy to use – you also have a vast user base who are conditioned to update their app software very quickly, which is helpful for mobile app developers. Here at Waracle, we have programmers who specialise in developing mobile apps for iPhone and Android. We have coders who can programme for both. Ask any mobile developer who can code mobile apps for iPhone and Android which platform is technically easier to use, and the answer will largely point in the same direction.

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