December 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Apple iOS Still Attracts the Most Developers, Despite Android Popularity

Android is more popular than iOS among users — most likely because it tends to cost less. In fact, an NPD Group study released on Tuesday found that Android now has 53 percent market share in the United States, as compared with a paltry 29 percent for iOS.

If you want the best smartphone, what you really mean, to a degree, is that you want the best apps. And if you want the best apps, you want an iPhone, despite the fact that Android is outpacing iPhone in the marketplace.

When we first made the point that consumers would do well to “follow the herd” when selecting a smartphone, we assumed that app developers would build stuff for the most popular devices.

That appears not to be the case.

Even as users flock to Android, developers are headed the other way.

This graph from Flurry Analytics shows how the ratio of Android to iOS developers has changed throughout 2011:

Developers prefer iOS. You should too, if you like apps.

Developers prefer iOS. You should too, if you like apps.

Clearly, if you want the platform with the best apps, you still want an iPhone.

Why would app developers prefer iPhone if more people are buying Android?

Here are a few reasons:

  • It’s easier to develop apps for iPhone, because you only need to deal with one operating system. On Android, countless variants require testing, and just because an app works on one Android doesn’t mean it’ll work on another.
  • iPhone owners are more likely to pay for apps than Android users.
  • iPhone owners have more money, so it’s more expensive to display ads to them, which means a bigger cut for the developer.
  • If you build something for the iPhone, it also runs on the iPad.
This should be a scary statistic for Google, even as it celebrates having snagged over half of the U.S. smartphone market, beating out heavy competition.

(via VentureBeat)

  • Adil

    For music apps in particular iOS is hands-down better if you’re trying to create something with responsive audio, since audio latency on Android is ridiculously high whereas on iOS it’s sub-5ms. At GDC earlier this year someone asked Ge Wang of Smule the “what about Android” question, and his first response was “latency”.