Why I Still Love iPhone Apps
In 2014, the number of mobile apps accepted into the iOS App Store reached 1.2 million. That figure put Apple on par with Google, whose Play Store hosts roughly the same number of Android applications. These may be impressive and very welcome statistics for smartphone companies, but, at the same time, they increase the effort young developers must make to promote their own app inside the vast sea of applications that are all competing for users’ attention.
This fast proliferation of mobile apps might also be a little daunting for consumers. According to recent studies, the majority of smartphone users download zero new apps in most months. This is true despite the fact that applications are dominating mobile usage and that people are spending a rapidly increasing amount of time on their smartphones. Most users seem content with just the applications they already have on their handset.
It takes a lot of savvy marketing work to convince people that they need to download one more messaging or photo sharing app, but the chances for young startups who develop well designed and useful mobile applications that have some sort of added value for the user, might be slightly better. If, for example, you find yourself in need of a smart new guide to help you navigate the neighborhoods in Paris, chances are you will turn to one of the app stores and download the application that seems most useful, most aptly designed and with the best functionality. In all probability, this will be an iPhone app.
There has been a lot of debate over the years about which mobile platform is best, iOS or Android. While the consumers’ choice for a smartphone depends mostly on the price, the choice for developers of mobile applications is made on very different grounds. Building on the iOS platform is easier and cheaper that building for Android, mainly because of the fragmentation of the Android smartphone market. Most young developers don’t have the time or the financial resources to build apps that work well with a wide range of devices from different manufacturers; even though all Android phones use Google’ operating system, each one might be running different variants of the software as well as having different technical specifications.
Because young companies need to focus their attention on what will provide the best value for them, they usually build applications for iPhones first. Many successful companies like Snapchat didn’t even venture into the Android world until after they had achieved tremendous initial success with their iOS application. The fact that in-app purchases and advertising are significantly more profitable on Apple’s platform than on Android, makes the choice that much easier for nascent startups.
So if you are not too tired of all the new app releases and still remain eager to discover a new, beautifully designed and well thought through application that will improve some aspect of your life, even to a small degree, keep searching the iTunes App Store. You are more likely to find what you are looking for amongst the sea of iPhone apps than amongst the sea of Android applications.