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Why Developers Still Prefer iOS To Android 614

Posted by timothy
from the addictive-chemicals-are-my-theory dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google Chariman Eric Schmidt recently addressed an Android user lamenting the fact that that mobile apps are often released on Apple's iOS platform well before they finally reach Android. Schmidt cooly and curiously explained that this dynamic will change in just 6 months. Here's why he's wrong. Though Google brags about the total number of Android users, developers care about certain kinds of users (those that pay for apps). A similar dynamic can be found in television advertising, where advertisers will more money for ad spots on less popular shows in order to reach desirable demographics, even though other programs may have many millions of more viewers."
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Why Developers Still Prefer iOS To Android

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  • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:02PM (#38389606)
    It's not only on television advertising, it happens with every kind of advertising. Internet, newspapers, magazines, even billboards. That's what makes both Google and Facebook advertising so lucrating and why Google is so desperately wanting to get their own social network - advertisers can directly target users with certain interests. Advertising to people with no interest about such things is useless. For example, Google has many advertisers targeting searches that might get searched only a few times a month, but when they do, advertisers are happy to pay more than $50 per click. They could get standard banner advertising to tens of thousands users at that price, but those are useless to them if it's a very targeted product or service. TV advertising mostly just works for brand names or products that almost anyone has use for. With internet you can target very specific people.

    Now the thing is, this targeting translates badly to applications and games. When user plays games, he isn't interested in anything else. It's completely different situation to some where the user is actively looking for something. This is why app developers make better money by selling their apps or games. However, Android users aren't as willing to spend as iOS users. They have even got used to the idea of getting their apps for free with advertising. But because advertising isn't really effective for such, Android app space in general suffers badly. On top of that you have to deal with fragmented devices and Google's ignorance regarding their app store. You can buy gift cards for iTunes, but you cannot for Android store, so you're out of luck if you don't have credit card. So you have an userbase with fragmented market, increased support costs, users without ability to pay for apps even if they had cash and the general culture that expects free apps with ads where ads just don't work.

    The funny thing is that even Windows Phone market has comparatively more developers, apps and games. Microsoft has went at great lengths to make app developing for WP7 pleasant experience. They provide great tools, XNA, Silverlight and you can code with .NET. It is relative easy to port your games between Windows, XBOX360 and WP7. The same services are used for all platforms. And while the amount of users as large as Android or iOS, the users are paying for apps and is exactly the kind of crowd developers want. You also have less competition, so you can earn more easily.
    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      $50 per click? Citation please, because my bullshit alert is going off. We sell very high ticket items and have for over 2 decades, and have been a part of Overture (now yahoo), and Google since their inception. $1 a click is pretty high dollar, and we put up to twice that at times, but usually less. I would love to hear who pays fifty bucks a click.

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:22PM (#38390010)

      Does this explain why, when you lay an iOS and an Android app side by side, the iPhone one almost always appears more polished?

      Usually the function is the same, but the one on iOS will show screen wipes graphically smooth, the animation is smooth, the interface is simpler because you don't rely on users to know they need to check the "menu" button for a bunch of options and suboptions.

      In some cases (like with Yahoo's fantasy offerings) the iOS app is pretty good, and the android one is just a link to a mobile site basically. I've always wondered why these things are.

      • by Fallingcow (213461) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:28PM (#38390114) Homepage

        It's a combination of non-GPU-accelerated interfaces on many Android devices and the fact that Android doesn't provide as robust or helpful a GUI API (transitions, effects, widgets, events, GUI management in general) as iOS.

        It simply takes more work to make an app look good on Android, and even then it'll still "feel" worse because everything's being rendered in the CPU.

        • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:30PM (#38390162)
          Not to mention that Android runs interface on normal priority, compared to iOS's high priority. I have no idea why they choose to do it so, because interface speed matters a lot to overall look and feel of the device.
          • by bonch (38532) * on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:06PM (#38390714)

            The short reason is that Android was first conceived as a Blackberry competitor, with most input coming from a keyboard. High-priority interface responsiveness wasn't as much a concern in that environment. The Android simulator used to look like this [imgur.com]. The iPhone came out and blew everyone away, made touchscreens all the rage, and Android changed to compete. The fact 2011 Android interface responsiveness is not competitive with the 2007 iPhone is something of an embarrassment, in my opinion, but the technical foundation was just not designed to deliver that kind of experience, while iOS was designed from the ground up to support it (every interface element is backed by a GPU-accelerated Core Animation layer).

            • iOS was designed from the ground up to support it (every interface element is backed by a GPU-accelerated Core Animation layer).

              This is changing within Android -- Honeycomb and ICS make much better and more extensive use of GPU acceleration. There's still some work to do, but using ICS after GB is a massive leap forwards.

          • by loconet (415875) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @07:07PM (#38391424) Homepage

            There [google.com] are [google.com] a couple of insightful posts by a Google engineer addressing this specific myth. The original reddit comment, where your comment originally came from, generated a very interesting discussion on the subject over at G+.

            • by epine (68316) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @07:59PM (#38392068)

              Nice links. Interesting how bonch presumes Google had to look around for something to measure themselves against of type "gadget". In truth, they were striving to be the opposite of Facebook and Microsoft, on the presumption that might work out OK in the long run:

              A key goal of Android was to provide an open application platform, using application sandboxes to create a much more secure environment that doesn(slashcode fuckup)t rely on a central authority to verify that applications do what they claim.

              Here's the deep analysis of the Blackberry internals, reading between the lines with psychic divination:

              To achieve this, it uses Linux process isolation and user IDs to prevent each application from being able to access the system or other application in ways that are not controlled and secure. This is very different from iOS(slashcode fuckup)s original design constraints, which remember didn(slashcode fuckup)t allow any third party applications at all.

              How to spot a Blackberry competitor? It's designed around having multiple windows on the screen at the same time:

              Because Android is designed around having multiple windows on the screen, to have the drawing inside each window be hardware accelerated means requiring that the GPU and driver support multiple active GL contexts in different processes running at the same time. The hardware at that time just didn(slashcode fuckup)t support this, even ignoring the additional memory needed for it that was not available. Even today we are in the early stages of this -- most mobile GPUs still have fairly expensive GL context switching.

              It's probably true that Apple has a near monopoly on the early adopter spendoids. I don't think there are a lot more people out there lining up to be so loose with their cash. They are already at the apogee of milking their traditional 10% and these people will soon take their short attention spans to whatever Apple invents next. With Apple, value is rarely time invariant: one part useful, two parts sooner and sexier. Mature market segments tend to deflate the later terms.

              Six months is too soon, but I'll be interested to check back on how this pans out a year from now.

              • It's probably true that Apple has a near monopoly on the early adopter spendoids. I don't think there are a lot more people out there lining up to be so loose with their cash. They are already at the apogee of milking their traditional 10%

                I don't think you understand what is happening at all. Apple's "traditional" market share in the same space as the iPhone is the iPod at around 80-90%. And a vast majority of the phone market remains to convert to smartphone use. Even if your guess of 10% were accurate

      • by Bucky24 (1943328) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:33PM (#38390214)
        Apple has strict requirements on apps going into the app store. One of those is that at no time may the app make the UI look sluggish or out of place. Android as far as I know doesn't have those requirements. That might be the reason the iOS apps are prettier, because they have to be that way in order to make it into the store at all.
      • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @07:21PM (#38391634)

        Screen wipes are now polished? I detract 100 points from them- they're pointless, annoying, and a waste of my time. That looks like a giant point in Android's favor to me.

        • They're not a waste of time. They give a user a sense of structure in an app. For example in a drill down app, master lists are on the left, detail is on the right, just as they might be on a PC screen. But as a phone screen is too small to display both at once, animated transitions give that sense, whilst only displaying a part of the full picture.

      • the interface is simpler because you don't rely on users to know they need to check the "menu" button for a bunch of options and suboptions.

        This seems a rather subjective classification -- some of us like having a dedicated menu button, rather than sacrificing precious screen real-estate. In my opinion it makes for much better UI design, as the user always knows where to access options for an app, rather than searching for some dinky little settings icon that may or may not be there ...

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:54PM (#38390538) Journal

      Windows Phone market has comparatively more developers, apps and games.

      False.

      And while the amount of users as large as Android or iOS

      False.

      (I won't even bother with references, because it is literally 10 seconds away in Google. Sapienti sat.)

      • Yeah, I skipped a word there. The amount of users isn't as large as Android or iOS, but it's largely different demographic from Android and the users are more willing to pay for apps. You also have less competition.
        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:26PM (#38390976) Journal

          The big problem with WP7 today is that it's very hard to write code for it that would be portable to other platforms. With iOS and Android, you can write common code in C or C++, and only need to handle UI differently. In case of games, you pretty much write the whole thing in C++ with a few platform-specific hooks. But WP7 does not support C++, and the only thing it supports - .NET languages - is not well supported by other platforms. Sure, there's MonoTouch and MonoDroid, but they are too expensive - for this market, especially for hobby developers, $400 for each additional platform is a lot.

          Given that WP7 is significantly less popular, in terms of sheer user count, than either Android and iOS, there's no way it can be the first platform being targeted. So, it has to adapt to allow easy porting of code from other, better established mobile platforms, before it can have considerable success with developers.

        • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:30PM (#38391022)

          How does that help you when there is no installed base? Even if every user buys your app, when there are no users you make no sales. On top of that, your points are self defeating: If by some miracle they actually gained some market share then other developers would follow the users, and you would immediately lose the advantage of the lack of competition.

          There is just no incentive to be an early adopter of WP7, which is why it hasn't (and won't) go anywhere. There need to be users before you can get developers, and there need to be developers before you can get users. They need some actual advantage over the existing competition in order to bootstrap, like Apple had with the original iPhone or Google has by making Android free, but now those are the baseline and Microsoft doesn't have anything that can beat them in a sufficiently drastic way to overcome the lack of apps. Plus, nobody likes Microsoft on general principles.

          On top of that, you can throw all of the "Apple is better than Google because diversity sucks" arguments at them: Who wants to promote the establishment of another app store and development platform? All that does is create more work for developers. Why should they promote such wasteful duplication of their own effort by producing apps for a platform that presently has no significant number of users?

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:05PM (#38389672) Journal

    Why Developers Still Prefer iOS To Android

    Is there something inherently better with iOS development? Is the API better written? Is there some technological inferiority to Android? Is it cheaper to buy the development tools for iOS?

    Oh, I see. What you meant to say is:

    Why Publishers Still Prefer iOS To Android

    And even that's sort of not very accurate. I mean, there are plenty of apps that are free and are on both Android and iOS like advertising based apps that want you to read some website's stories. And they just want to target the most users, not the most users who shell out money. So maybe it should be:

    Why Revenue Seekers Still Prefer iOS To Android

    Not everyone developing apps depends on that as their revenue stream.

    • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:15PM (#38389890)

      Is there something inherently better with iOS development? Is the API better written? Is there some technological inferiority to Android? Is it cheaper to buy the development tools for iOS?

      FTFA

      Unfortunately for Google, this is just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the uphill battle they face in the fight for developers. Clunkier development tools for Android have been on ongoing problem, and let's not forget about the vast number of scamware, crapware and malware apps that permeate through the Android Marketplace. The lack of an approval process for apps on Android certainly has its benefits, but letâ(TM)s not forget thereâ(TM)s also a downside to being open.

      So you mean I get to use lousier development tools, potentially have my app hijacked by scammers looking to repackage my app as malware AND deal with fragmentation?

      SIGN ME UP!

      • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:25PM (#38390052)
        Yeah, repackaging with malware or scamming users seems to be a major problem with Android. There's trojans and all kinds of nasty stuff, like this trojan [f-secure.com] repackages popular games and apps, says it's free version and scams the user by sending premium rate SMS to the malware author. Google isn't even really trying to do anything about it, they remove them afterwards when news get out and by then thousands of users have been scammed already. Stuff like that isn't happening on neither Apple's or Microsoft's store.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:19PM (#38389950)

      > Is there something inherently better with iOS development? Is the API better written? Is there some technological inferiority to Android? Is it cheaper to buy the development tools for iOS?

      Yes, yes, and yes.

      Xcode is a wonderful IDE, and with things like CLANG/LLVM and LLDB it's only getting better. Cocoa and Cocoa Touch are insanely great APIs and Objective C kicks the shit out of Java in terms of readability and performance. The development experience for iOS is much, much more streamlined and defined then Android.

      I'm not even sure if it's worth mentioning the fact that Google (and it's associates) actively brag about a new Android device every week now- with different specs, hardware, and screen resolutions. Trying to support a moving target like Android is a nightmare, so you might as well pick the top 5 phones and make sure your stuff works on those- and forget about the five thousand other devices out there (which may or may not work).

      Comparing iOS to Android is like comparing the Xbox 360 to a PC. You get a stable and well defined platform with one, and a crapshoot with the other.

      -AC

      • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:20PM (#38389976)

        Screw the language. Interface builder rocks. Using XML files with no WYSIWYG editor? Screw that.

        • by Mullen (14656)

          Spot on! I have been learning Xcode 4.2 and it's a joy to use! Objective C is fairly simple and Interface Builder is a snap to use. Why anyone would bother with hand editing XML files is beyond me.

    • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:21PM (#38389982)

      Why Developers Still Prefer iOS To Android

      Is there something inherently better with iOS development?

      Yes. iOS has an integrated development environment including debugging tools that allow on the fly changes to the code while debugging.

      Is the API better written?

      Yes. The iOS API is more feature rich and provides things like low latency audio.

      Is there some technological inferiority to Android? Is it cheaper to buy the development tools for iOS?

      Yes, as mentioned above, there is no low latency audio support and the interface has a normal priority instead of high priority which is one of the major reasons why the UI on android phones feels sluggish at times.

      Android did not even have a native SDK until recently and you were forced to write everything against the Dalvik JVM.

      • by bstarrfield (761726) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:50PM (#38390484)

        Most of the iOS APIs are derivatives of the very well tested, designed, and readable NS (NextStep) APIs that have been in production for over twenty years. Apple adds new APIs with every release, yet they still follow the design patterns and methodologies of the older application interfaces, making learning new ones quite easy.

        With Objective C finally receiving easier memory management (yes, it was never terribly hard but it was at times frustrating), new developers, especially Java developers, can start rolling out code relatively quickly. As a point of history, Java's developers apparently did look at Objective-C as one of their primary influences. Personally, I find Objective-C much easier to code in then Java, and the clear nature of Apple's APIs combined with very, very strong development tools makes me much prefer iOS development over Android

        There's an added benefit of iOS development which isn't commonly mentioned - it's relatively easy to port iOS code over to Mac OS X, allowing you to reach a broad and lucrative environment, leveraging your previous work.

    • by bonch (38532) *

      You can state that not everyone developing apps depends on that revenue stream, but the fact that, according to Flurry Analytics, Android developer share has actually declined over the course of the year suggests most do.

    • by Fallingcow (213461) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:34PM (#38390224) Homepage

      Is there something inherently better with iOS development? Is the API better written? Is there some technological inferiority to Android? Is it cheaper to buy the development tools for iOS?

      Others have already answered this, but I feel it needs to be said again:

      YES.

      Maybe not exactly yes to the last bit, but it is cheaper to develop non-trivial commercial apps for iOS than Android, more often than not. The Apple developer fee is so tiny as not to be worth considering when compared with developer time. The extra testing necessary for Android would alone pay the developer fee many times over, and that's if development itself didn't generally take longer (and it most certainly does).

    • If you plan to make money on your app via:

      * Advertising
      * Demographic data collection

      you'll lean toward Android - more users, more support from Google, no interference from Apple.

      If you plan to make money from people who pay for software, you'll go for iOS.

      Schmidt may be right - "free" has a definite mass appeal.

      • you'll lean toward Android - more users, more support from Google, no interference from Apple.

        More users of Android phones. Less users of Android apps. And as it's app distribution you want to maximise, iOS is better.

    • Exactly what I was thinking. Just as I was thinking the *OBVIOUS* solution would be to add a built in scripting language that isn't based on C, but on some higher level programming language.

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:06PM (#38389682)

    It's not surprising why app developers are betting on iOS over Android. According to the Flurry Analytics study, they make four times as much money on iOS [flurry.com]. Developers are also concerned about fragmentation, the lack of store curation, and lower penetration of Google Checkout among Android users compared to iOS users, who are always payment enabled through their iTunes accounts.

    Android's target demographic is hardcore techies combined with budget buyers unconcerned with smartphone quality. It actually makes very little money for Google, while iOS is generating obscene profits for Apple. Slashdot still fetishes marketshare as if it's the only metric that matters, but Android is actually like a whole bunch of operating systems with different capabilities.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It actually makes very little money for Google, while iOS is generating obscene profits for Apple.

      The funny thing is that Android probably makes Microsoft more money than for Google. Microsoft gets something like $444 million annually from Android and they don't even need to develop it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GodInHell (258915)

      It actually makes very little money for Google, while iOS is generating obscene profits for Apple.

      This has nothing to do with Google giving the OS away for free. Obv.

      -GiH

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Toonol (1057698) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:34PM (#38390234)
      Android's target demographic is hardcore techies combined with budget buyers unconcerned with smartphone quality.

      Which will quickly massively outnumber Apple's demographic. Apple will be a major player for a while yet, but they're pursuing a dead end, I think. Don't know if it's a year or a couple years before they lose their perception as market leader, but it's clearly going to happen.

      I don't mean this as trolling against Apple; they've done some amazing stuff. I just think they have no realistic hope of outcompeting Android at this point. You can't occupy 'high end' and 'numerically dominant' niches at the same time...
      • The Desktop Mirror (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:00PM (#38390634)

        Android's target demographic is hardcore techies combined with budget buyers unconcerned with smartphone quality.

        Which will quickly massively outnumber Apple's demographic.

        What would you base that assessment on? If that were true why would lInux, which had exactly the same combination of possible buyers (techies plus people seeking really budget computers) not have beaten Windows long ago?

        It's amazing to me that so many computer literate people here are utterly unwilling to see the impact that software has on the platforms people chose to use.

      • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:16PM (#38390854) Homepage

        You can't occupy 'high end' and 'numerically dominant' niches at the same time...

        That's TFA's whole point - Apple occupies the more important niche, "most lucrative/remunerative". Given the numbers in TFA, Android would have to outnumber Apple by almost fifty-to-one to equate to the same income to developers. But, because of Android's fragmentation, it's actually even worse for the developers. Think hundreds-to-one or thousands-to-one to get just one Android phone with the market penetration of the iPhone, and even then the user demographics will still skew radically differently.
         

        I don't mean this as trolling against Apple

        But that's pretty much all you have, because you missed the whole point of the article entirely.

  • Qt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:07PM (#38389708)

    Google should buy Qt from Nokia and use that toolkit as the basis for Android apps. It is already efficient as hell on smartphones (Meego and Symbian), and uses C++ as its programming language. No more worries about Oracle lawsuits, excellent programming environment. Mod this up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:12PM (#38389822)

    For developers, that is. Android is a one size fits all approach, but not all Android phones can run all games, some are too weak. This causes developers headaches, bad reviews on their games, etc. And Android Market is not secure like iTunes, the apps don't go through a vetting process before they are put on the market, like iTunes does for their apps. So malicious apps are out there. Unlike iOS. Android is the new Windows... Sure it'll sell well, but Apple can give assurances on security, and the corporate sector will never adopt Android so it will remain the poor man's iPhone and the domain of geeks who can't face the fact that iOS is actually very good.

    Now... flame away :)

    • It's true that often on Android games you'll see ratings all very high or very low, and the very low ones are usually "It didn't run well on my phone". with iOS there are no such worries about hardware (and OS) fragmentation.

      It's the same advantage Apple has always had, they know what hardware everyone has in advance.

  • Fragmentation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Moof123 (1292134) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:19PM (#38389960)

    Phones are still sold with version 2.2 of android, 4.0 is now shipping. Faced with that, what could go wrong for developers?

  • Why I only do iOS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tylersoze (789256) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:20PM (#38389966)

    It's real simple for me, Android is an awful platform to develop for (as are all the lowest common denominator cross platform API's). I have fun developing for iOS and really like the native API and developer tools. It's important for me to actually enjoy what I'm doing. I've definitely lost some projects because I don't offer an Android, but it's not really mattered since I have more work than I know what to do with anyway. Even after culling Android and only taking projects that really interest me, I still have to turn down projects because I'm already booked up.

    Android is just not my cup of tea, if it's yours, then more power to you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:21PM (#38389988)

    You know you're doing something wrong when RIM can claim (unchallenged) that the Blackberry App World is the #2 app store in terms of paid apps. #1 is, of course, Apple's App Store, but to have the #2 service be one from the #4 player is just... pathetic. (Windows Phone 7 is platform #3 after Android (#1) and iOS (#2)).

    There are many reasons for this.

    First, Google Checkout sucks. Yes, it does. When Android first came out, very few countries could access paid apps. As such, if you wanted to sell in the Google marketplace, you had to have free apps. The situation's better now, but you're still suffering from the fact that people found alternative ways to get paid apps for free. Google APKTor or the open-source counterpart.

    Second is that it's too easy to pirate apps. Google's APKs aren't DRM'd, so what people do is they buy apps, rip them, then return them. 15 minutes is enough time for this, and if it wasn't, they can always return and try again later. Given that there are almost daily "New Paid Apps" torrents on your favorite torrent sites... After all, the iPad was dinged as "cannot run pirate apps".

    Then Android users really don't want to pay for apps. I've seen some hardcore Linux users saying they'll never pay for apps - it should be FREE. Apparently, iOS users pay for 3-4 apps a month on average - Android stats are sketchier (C'mon Google - you just had 10B apps downloaded - how many of those were paid apps? Especially with the 10 cent deal?).

    Third, well, the fact you have to use your phone is a major drawback. iTunes sucks, but at least you can download your app on your PC first then sync it over rather than have to leave your phone alone while it downloads hundreds of megabytes of apps. Many apps use SD cards (and full SD permissions) to get around this by having a downloader app go and download all the game assets and such.

    Finally - fragmentation. Different screen sizes, different OS versions (a year after Gingerbread is released, it's on 50% of the devices. Which means roughly 100,000,000 out of the 200,000,000 Android devices run the what was latest and greatest OS. ALl the others run Froyo or prior (yikes). iOS has similar issues, but the number of people stuck at iOS 3 (only iPhone and iPhone 3G (iOS 4 doesn't run well so I'm not going to count it)) is fewer than those capable of running iOS 4/5, plus a number are upgrading. Ice Cream Sandwich will resolve this (Google's words), and maybe by tihs time next year we'll have 50% of Androids running ICS.

    Then there's the black sheep - AOSP. Without access to the market, it has to use alternative marketplaces, bringing us back to piracy.

  • by WarwickRyan (780794) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:22PM (#38390008)

    Come on, we all know that the REAL reason devs prefer to code for iOS is because it's the only way we can convince the wife that we NEED that shiny overpriced MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

    The Wife Acceptance Factor.

  • I have both iOS and Android devices. The simple reason why I've purchased more apps on iOS is because the free equivalents weren't available as they are in the Android App Market. My daughter uses the iOS device (an iPod Touch) and I have a Droid2 and a Samsung Transformer. When she gets her phone it will be an Android device, likely a Samsung Nexus and she'll inherit the Transformer. So far I've spent about $100 in apps for the Android and that will likely grow because the tablets have proven to be quite u

  • I'm the opposite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:32PM (#38390202) Homepage Journal

    I'm the exact opposite. My game engine and various libraries (lua, box2d, etc) are all written in C++ / C, thus I have a single codebase that I build for both iOS and Android (and Windows and OSX). 99.9% of the code is shared - there are literally a few dozen lines of Javascript / Objective C that tie events at the app level into my game engine.

    I greatly prefer to release for Android first, and I can't imagine why anyone would want to release for iOS version first. I can patch bugs and have a new Android build online and rolled out to my users within an hour or so. I can throw a new build straight to a user via a URL or email that they can upgrade to directly to check the fix (which is, for all intents and purposes, not an option with iOS having to deal with getting the user's device ID, generating a mobileprovision file, using one of my 100 device slots, etc, etc) With iOS my app has to go through the entire approval process again, adding at least a 1 week minimum delay before the bug fixes reach the users. It's far better allowing the Android users to give the game a thorough thrashing for several days to make sure there aren't any obscure or hard to trigger bugs, then roll out to the iOS folks.

    • Re:I'm the opposite (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jader3rd (2222716) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:42PM (#38390366)
      Sounds like an argument for why end users "feel" that iOS apps are more polished. End users tend to loathe updates. As a developer I completly see the value in your statement, but I can also see the point of view of people who don't want updates.
    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:02PM (#38390664)
      So you use Android consumers as beta testers while you iron out the bugs in a rushed, poorly tested product?

      I know I'm going to be modded troll but, sorry, that's what your "interesting" post sounds like - you prefer to release to Android first because you can quickly and rapidly fix problems rather than taking the time to properly build and test your app before releasing it into the market.

      I'm even going to go one step further in my near-trollish commentary: you're one of the reasons that Android users are less inclined to actually spend money on an app because developers likely rush them out whereas iOS developers take extra time to make sure it's "just right" before putting it out because it's such a headache to fix problems. iOS users are more confident in a reliable app while Android users are faced with buggy initial releases. I don't know, call me crazy (or a troll, as you wish), but I wouldn't rush out to spend money on an Android app if your view is indicative of the majority of Android developers....
      • You should be modded troll, or at least flamebait for that drivel.

        You are clearly not a developer. You can do all the "proper building and testing" you want and will still encounter bugs unless your app is some simple fart machine.

        • Re:I'm the opposite (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Kenshin (43036) <kenshinNO@SPAMlunarworks.ca> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @08:10PM (#38392184) Homepage

          Old man alert (and I'm only in my 30s):

          I'm sorry, but "developers" today are fucking spoiled little children.

          Back 15 years ago, before the net was completely widespread, everything shipped on DISK. Floppy, CD, whatever. You had to get get your code right, because if there were bugs, you had to send out service packs on disk too.

          Complaining about having to go through Apple's "lengthy" review process is a laugh. Oh no, you wanna send out updates of your app several times a day? Maybe you need better coding standards.

    • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:17PM (#38390860)

      This sounds like an argument for thoroughly testing your software and not releasing with bugs.

      Game developers have had similar issues on other platforms. It used to be that when you released on a cartridge you actually had to do good work the first time. You can't patch a cartridge in the wild. With internet connected consoles, the problem has been getting worse and worse. It used to be that when you bought a game at launch it was solid. Now you're pretty much guaranteed to get something extremely buggy until the first few patches, assuming you actually get the whole game and the developers haven't decided to favor an early release and just update the game with more content later, leaving you with a pretty threadbare experience.

      So if your complaint is that Apple makes things difficult if you don't write good code the first time, maybe the problem isn't with Apple. Heck, your description just made Apple's system sound much better to me. Why would I want to buy buggy games?

  • by RanceJustice (2028040) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:38PM (#38390308)

    If I was going to totally through ethics out the window for the pursuit of profit as an "App" developer, I'd easily choose the Apple monoculture. Lets face it, Apple users are used to being free with their money; these people were, in a year that wasn't prefixed by "199", paying $40-60 for a bloody unzipping program. Now, these same people have paid a bloody fortune for a locked down phone and again for a locked down tablet which are both predicated on an "it just works, so long as you make sure you always buy the new one" monoculture, and attached their credit card they use for impulse purchases to it That's PT Barnum-level temptation right there!

    So long as one doesn't mind paying for dev access and isn't interested in making programs that strain social mores and/or step on Apple's toes, once you've made it past the gate the walled garden I'm sure appears glorious. You don't have to worry about multiple hardware/software platforms outside the well-documented and very limited iSphere, you are assured your userbase has someone's money to spend, and so long as you abide by The Apple Way For Developers (tm) and kowtow properly to cocoa and objective C, you'll probably watch the dollars roll in.

  • by Thorizdin (456032) <thorizdin@l o t d.org> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:44PM (#38390380) Homepage

    We publish on both iOS and Android and I can say without a doubt its a MUCH bigger pain in the ass to publish with Apple. Their processes for vetting applications, even updates, takes several days and they certainly don't work on weekends. It also took significantly (over a month) longer to get setup with an Apple developer account and the requirements in terms of legal documents are significant, to the point that my company had to go to the office of our Secretary of State to get some documents filed that we hadn't needed in more than 20 years of existence. In short, I can't see anyone who does freemimum or truly free apps preferring Apple and its certainly NOT a friendly environment for start ups. Interestingly the Amazon market is kind of a middle ground between the almost too open Android market and Apple's too closed (IMO) approach.

  • by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:53PM (#38390526)

    I'm developing on both Android and IPhone; started out on Android and now have extended my repetoire to IPhone.

    The advantage but also disadvantage with Android is that it's very open-ended. Often you want to get a specific thing done and you end up alot of time bending the API to your will. (Oh tabview, why art though so...) Or bump into the limitations of your architecture and need to rework some things to get it running.(why does it crash on device x when I have two nested frameviews to have this design? Why doesn't it scale well on device y?)

    The IPhone API takes more knowledge (how does that delegate call again and what object is stored where and how do I get a refernce to this?) but it's consistent. And the look is consistent. (which shaves up alot of time thinking about the GUI when trying to implement it.)

    I'm an avid Android lover but I can appreciate the IPhone API as well.

  • by JohnG (93975) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:19PM (#38390894)
    I tried to read all of the posts to see if someone else mentioned it, but didn't see one that did. Aside from the problems with Google Checkout not being widespread, there is a huge problem with the functionality of the market. At least once a month I get an email from someone that says they bought my app but the download would not complete. They demand their money back from me. This is annoying for two reasons. One, it is entirely possible that their order was never charged. If you look over your checkout account, there are several attempted purchases every single day that didn't go through. It happened to a friend of mine that tried to purchase one of my apps, and I know there was money on his debit card. This is a lot of money in lost sales. The second reason it is annoying is because I am being wrongly blamed for Google's incompetence. When customers complain to me that an app they purchased wasn't downloaded, it is the equivalent of buying a PS3 off of Amazon and complaining to Sony that Amazon never shipped it. I've never once gotten a support email from an iOS user about the same issue. And over a two year period there have been dozens from Android users. Google also has MUCH less developer support than Apple does. They simply do not care about us or our opinions. Period. They seem to view the market as an after thought as well. Why should I make them my primary platform under those circumstances?
  • by MikShapi (681808) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:29PM (#38391014) Journal

    It assumes linear, progressive growth in line with what we see.
    But technology doesn't work that way.

    Namely, free stuff has always been, and will likely continue to be, a rising tide of stuff. Stuf that... well... you can get for free.
    You can't sell DOS to a market where Linux is free, or Office 95 to a market that has free office products that cover most of the basic functionality.

    The point I'm making is not "payware is doomed". Far from it. But it starts like a wild west of opportunity, but over time the rising tide of free stuff drowns out a lot of the noise, and it's only those that manage to keep their head above it and progressively innovate and get better that contribute to what ultimately becomes the "settled" market.

    Mobile software is still in its wild-west hayday. But when things get popular (and profitable) the probability that some developer throws his guts into a free alternative rises. Let time do its thing. Let the pay-vs-free balance settle and the PC effect to take over.

    Yes, iOS will always probably make more because Apple-ecosystem users have a more solid standing culture of paying for their software.

    BUT beware anyone who picks up that initial growth trend, extrapolates it linearly and builds mountains of logic on that.
    Because, if we've learned anything, our beloved tech industry doesn't like'em straight lines.

  • Money (Score:5, Informative)

    by codepunk (167897) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @07:25PM (#38391698)

    The reason is simple, I use a cross platform tool kit to create my apps. The apple versions out sell the android versions by at least 100-1 ratio. I quit even bothering to compile a android version. If I spend more than a hour testing and compiling a android version I am wasting my time. Once there is a few bucks to be made I will likely return to the android market, until then I am completely IOS / Apple Store focused.

    I could care less what a android fan boy says.
    1. Apple Store has better monetization.
    2. IOS applications perform better (native execution)
    3. The platform is standardized I am not trying to build for 300 different devices.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @07:50PM (#38391986)

    For a client. We built their very successful, very nice, iOS app.

    It's hell making the Android port.

    The iOS version of the App has these beautiful sliding table views that overlap each other with nice drop shadows. Simple gestures move them on and off the screen. As you scroll one of them, the other table view scrolls and highlights to match up to the corresponding section. When you tap products they animate and fade into an expanded information view. It's a really nice app and users love it.

    Then they asked for the Android version, we're working on it. But we had to throw out the overlapping tables with drop shadows. We had to implement a stupid paging system for tables because they wouldn't scroll smoothly with ~2,000 products (each product has downloadable images that start to fetch when they are scrolled on screen). The table cells can't animate as they expand like on iOS. Putting a ScrollView inside a ScrollView doesn't "just work" like it does on iOS, where touches are correctly, and importantly, delayed slightly before being passed to inner-content views.

    This app manages a lot of data and it works smoothly on iOS all the way back to an iPod Touch 2G, which has completely anemic hardware compared to the Galaxy S2. Yet the Galaxy S2 struggles with the sorts of interactions, UIs and data we ask it to render.

    Another annoyance is that different Android phones seem to behave differently. On the HTC device we test with, our WebViews allow user scaling even though we disallow it in the meta-tag. Our loading indicators look different. We have to account for the user possibly using a different system font and thus can't rely on getting a pixel-perfect design to the. It truly sucks.

    The final annoyance is that different Android phones have different color calibration. The colors are designed to match the company's printed books. Their printing spot colors work beautifully on iOS screens. Yet look at the Android app on a Galaxy S2 and HTC device (using the same RGB values) and the resulting colors are completely different.

    I'm also trying to do things the "Android way." Yet I am rapidly discovering there is no consistent way to design apps for Android. Editable table views? Every app seems to do it differently. Google+ and Google Reader both handle them differently! How the hell do they let this happen?

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