In the past it was common knowledge that Apple got more apps first than Android. There were more users and the ecosystem as a whole was more advance. Say what you will about Google and Android, but they’ve caught up in both aspect, especially in the number of users.
Their tactic of going after every user and subsidising hardware plus giving away their operating system as open source has meant that they can, and have, produce low cost budget and high end phones that have resulted in an explosion of growth in both areas.
This approach has also been brought across to app development and now Android has the same number of apps that iOS does and will probably get to 1,000,000 first. But, whilst this does mean that Android has done a great job of promoting application development there are very few big names which are released on Android first.
In fact, even Google’s own applications often get updated on iOS first.
The Number Doesn’t Matter The Quality Does
Check your device for a moment, look at all the apps you have installed. I’m willing to bet there are a handful you use everyday, some more you use a few times a week and then the rest are irregular (sometimes because you really need them and other times because they’re handy for that once a month moment).
When it comes down to it you don’t need hundreds of thousands of apps, you just need your handful of great apps. Of course, having a thriving developer community who are pushing each other on and competing against each other helps but you don’t need 5 instagram clones, you just need a good photo sharing service.
High Quality New Releases Are Better Than High Numbers
There is a limit here (it’s what we could call the Windows Phone factor, where you have some high quality and common apps but only a few) but in general it’s much better to have a handful of really high quality apps coming out each year than hundreds and thousands of mediocre apps. As I’ve already mentioned competition helps to spur on this innovation, but the more important factor is where the big names target their development and their innovation.
No matter how you want to spin it, having four screen sizes to develop for (iPhones up to the 5, iPhone 5/5s/5c iPad mini and iPad air/retina) really helps developers of a new app. You don’t have to consider how it will look on a 4.X 5.X 6.X and tablet screen (from all the different manufacturers) you just make it for only 4 (or even less if you go for iPhone only) This is a huge helping hand to a developer.
Apple Users Are Kind Of A Big Deal
I hate to play this card but Apple users are pretty influential. I’m not just talking about tech writers it’s across the media. Because the iPhone was the first smartphone to make it big it has become, in many ways the de facto smartphone and, in the west at least, it is in widespread circulation and use.
As such, if you want to generate a media storm about your new app or service then you develop for the iPhone because you know it will get to many in the media. Add in that the iPhone is more popular among 20 and 30 somethings and you’ve got your key demographic of trend setters there.
It’s Easy To Get An App Published On Google Play
It’s funny that this could actually be a mark against Android but the fact that Google vets purely based on if the app is taking data it shouldn’t, introducing malware, breaking copyright and not if it isn’t complying with apples design standards or entering an overcrowded market space means that anyone can and does get their apps into the play store. If you want you could make a basic first demo app and loaded it up into the store. This obviously boosts the number or apps there are but doesn’t mean you really want these apps.
iOS First Is Still Real
Although there are more apps coming out for Android than iOS the majority of the apps that make a huge difference come to iOS first. When you add in Apple paying so that games such as plants vs zombies 2 come to iOS before Android you can see that although a new developer can more easily start getting their apps into the Android ecosystem Apple still get the best apps at least at the same time if not before Android.