iOS vs. Android

30th April 2013 · Kevin Howes

iOS vs. Android

Together, iOS and Android claim over 90% of the global Smartphone market. With such shared dominance, discussion over which is the stronger platform is still the subject of fierce debate within the tech community.

Judging by the number of iPads and iPhones in the IT Talent offices, it’s easy to assign iOS as the clear winner and obvious choice for mobile developers looking for maximum reach, but the statistics suggest a different reality. According to data released by Kantar Worldpanel for the last quarter of 2012, Android is outselling iOS with a 70.1% market share compared to iOS’s 21% stake.

Two days after Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S 4, Apple’s marketing backlash boldly splashed, ‘There’s iPhone. And then there’s everything else’ across the homepage of their website. While market share paints a slightly different picture, Apple’s high end focus is confirmed by their 72% claim of Smartphone and tablet device profits. Customers spend more money on iOS, with Apple celebrating higher levels of engagement and superior brand advocacy from its users. Greater market reach or higher profits; do developer’s go where the money is or does Android’s outgrowth of iOS by a 3 to 1 margin have increased appeal?

As Smartphone hardware becomes increasingly similar, the key differentiator is the software, and how users engage differently with the contrasting operating systems.  Apple’s clean, icon-driven interface offers intuitive simplicity for its users, where Android is comparatively fragmented and less straightforward. The flexibility of Android’s UI however presents more creativity in customisation and is better integrated with social networks. iOS and Android fan boys are constantly arguing the changing advantages of the various components of their respective platforms. With each operating system constantly evolving to try and out do the other, it still remains a question of personal preference.

But do they present equal opportunities from a developer’s perspective?

With fewer paying customers on Android, iOS is often the first choice for developers. Additionally, the greater life span of Apple’s established OS means more mature API’s and better tools in place. With so many variants and the need to support so many devices, Android appears less dev friendly.

When considering the respective platforms, it looks to be a case of stability vs. versatility. Apple’s closed ecosystem offers a stable yet heavily regulated and more restricted platform. Google’s Android on the other hand is an open source platform which enables the use of third party tools, more flexibility and an open developer community, increasing their potential for market innovation.

With so many variables, different approaches and unique characteristics, will mobile supremacy ever be claimed? It’s unlikely!

Looking further into this debate from a developer’s perspective, our forthcoming Talk IT event, which will be taking place on Wednesday 19th June, will be ‘iOS vs. Android’, featuring presentations from industry experts.

IT Talent’s ‘Talk IT’ meetups are open to all industry professionals, all levels and positions welcome, with IT Talent consultants in attendance for onsite recruiting advice. To register your interest and for more information about out forthcoming ‘Talk IT’ events, please join our meetup group.