Thinking of switching gears into app development? The demand for skilled and talented mobile app developers continues to exceed supply by quite some margin. It’s a lucrative field to build a career in, but before you get started, it’s important to find the answer to a critical question: which platform do you specialize in?
Android and iOS reign supreme among the mobile application platforms of choice for app developers.
And so, having to decide between the two – iOS and Android app development – can be bewildering if you are just setting out. We’ll help you with some basic facts to ease your decision-making process. See what suits you best.
First, we will begin by comparing and contrasting the two operating systems themselves, and then compare the upsides and downsides to app development with Android and iOS.
Now, let the battle begin!
Battle of the Operating Systems: Android Vs iOS
Android: For you, as a prospective newbie in mobile app development, Android’s single biggest selling point is its customizability. Android’s open-source model has paved the way for third-party developers to create a wide range of apps and add-on functionalities that add to the OS’s inherent capabilities.
You can create and develop anything from widgets and live wallpapers to apps that can be downloaded from not only the Google Play Store but also from the Amazon Appstore or even directly from the app developer’s website.
This leaves developers with a greater scope for testing the waters in Android app development and to create striking apps that find great usability.
- Android’s customization possibilities include the ability to install multiple gadgets and widgets to a device’s lock system.
- Ability to set or change specific programs is made possible.
- You can install non-factory dialers and SMS apps.
- The standard pull-down notification system allows you to turn Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and audio on and off with a single tap instead of having to access system preferences.
- By default, Android also has a file management system similar to PCs and Macs that delivers a “hands on” experience to using the mobile devices.
- Freedom to customize does not guarantee uniform performance of the interface.
For instance, something that was intended to perform well in a particular OS may not perform so well with an upgraded OS.
- Also, Google’s app policies aren’t as strict as those of Apple’s, meaning apps do not have guaranteed peak performance rates and there is also the risk of security threats.
Despite its flaws, Android remains the more popular and widely-used among the two operating systems, and more mobile manufacturers use the Android OS than any other.
iOS: Whatever Android lacks, iOS compensates for. With its simplistic layout and vibrant colors, the Apple interface ensures uniformity and consistency of performance.
Many newly released apps, too, mostly enter the Apple App Store before finding their way into the Google Play Store or onto the Android market. This is more so because of the credibility that iOS applications seem to guarantee. The strict quality control measures taken by Apple ensure greater security, unlike the case with Android.
- It is quick, clean, and a lot more secure than most other platforms available on the market.
- Greater legitimacy and security of applications is assured.
- It is more stable and has a user-friendly mobile interface.
- iOS’s interface lends itself better to gaming and game developers.
Most often, the advantageous and disadvantageous factors of iOS overlap. Consider the following -
- Apple does not allow Flash functionality.
- Sideloading of apps is not possible with the iOS. And although jail-breaking is an option to overcome this, it might further result in reduced device operability.
- Although secure, iOS restricts the freedom for users to explore a greater variety of apps.
Thus, it might be said while both the operating systems have their own sets of pros and cons, and perform similarly to each other, the choice of having to choose between them depends upon the user and neither outweighs the other.
Android App Development Vs iOS App Development
Having discussed about the operating systems themselves, we will now compare the app development platforms of both.
Most apps first get released for the iOS platform and then for Android. But more apps are released for Android than for iOS, given its open-source model. Android has a larger user-base but iOS apps often deliver greater revenue. They seem to end up in a tie again.
Here is a comparative table setting out the characteristics of both platforms -
|Programming Languages||For Android, it is Java. It is much easier to learn and code in this language, even for beginners.||For iOS, it is mostly Objective-C and Swift. Objective-C requires more lines of coding.|
|Development Tools||Android’s development toolkit is the Android Studio. Both Android’s and iOS’ development toolkits are available free of cost.
This IDE easily highlights errors and offers more choices for app development.
|To deploy apps onto iOS devices or distribute them over the app store, you would have to pay $99 a year.
Xcode needs an explicit build stage and offers fewer choices, but the GUI design tools will compensate for the setbacks.
|Design System||Android’s design system allows for partitioning of apps into activities and fragments.
Activities relate to a screen. And fragments are part of activities.
Multiple screens means multiple activities with only one active at any given time.
Fragments, on the other hand, can be used to open other screens, enter values, and return to activity. Multiple fragments can be used with a single activity.
|Navigation and organization is done by view controllers. And there are similar ones like: navigation controllers, page view controllers, split view controllers and so on.
There is also storyboard which helps you organize the images and illustrations.
|Device Fragmentation||There are as many as 19,000 screen size variations that Android supports||The screen size variation in iOS is restricted to a few dozen and there are just three sizes of graphics for this. And this is an advantage, as you would not have to pre-scale for a huge number of sizes as it is with Android.|
|Simulators||Android’s simulators may end up being quite problematic. This is because of the numerous, varied models that run on Android.
With Android, you would have to make the choice of the operating system versions, screen size and will have to create one that suits your needs. Again, you will have to make sure that it’s an intel-powered version, and not Arm. Arm’s simulator seems to be quite slow and not very effective.
|Apple wins in this category hands down. With a few models, it provides just one simulator that you can invoke for the appropriate model. That makes things easy!|
|Documentation||The documentation provided for Android development is quite impressive and comprehensive.||The documentation provided in iOS development is well documented just like it is for Android, and explains specific concepts, like View Controllers, really well. Moreover, it supports both Swift and Objective-C.|
So, that was about the comparison of both the app development platforms. Even considering other factors like market share, revenue, ease of up-gradation and more, both the platforms seem to be close to the winning edge.
So, as a learner venturing into this arena, it would only be wise if you based your choice on your personal interests and circumstances.
Whichever platform you choose to specialize in, a professional certification to validate your learning and skills will help immensely. Check out our courses here: Certified Android App Developer andCertified iOS App Developer.