March 29th, 2014

Why Do App Developers Prioritise Apple?


Given Android has shipped three times as many units as Windows or Apple’s iOS you have to question why so many app developers choose an iPhone first strategy. Apparently iPhone owners are bigger spenders more willing to pay for apps. Are they 4 times as willing to spend? Old media often goes for an iPad conversion of their dead tree product first. This is not a mass market solution, it excludes 80% of the operating systems shipped annually. The coming ubiquity of HTML5 cross compatibility will bring this to an end hopefully…

Hat-tip: Business Insider


  1. 1
    MARVIN app ANDROID says:

    we have to question what?

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    What the fuck would you know?

  3. 3
    Fred says:

    If anyone gives a toss, please keep it to yourself

  4. 4
    Hilda says:

    The Apple store and its checks are also useful.

  5. 5
    wonkotsane says:

    It comes down to two things: cost of development and laziness. When you develop for iOS you don’t have to think about display size, screen resolution, screen ratio, performance on slower devices, different hardware, etc – you develop for one target platform knowing what hardware is going to be used, what the display format is going to be, etc. It means you can be lazy and ultimately it makes development cheaper. The laziness backfired on developers when Apple added that magic extra row of static icons on the home screen by making the screen longer and apps started showing black bands top and bottom of the screen.

    Actually, it comes down to three things – the two above and the fact that iThing owners are infinitely more likely to pay through the nose for any old tat just because it’s got an Apple logo on it.

  6. 6
    Steve McJobbie says:

    Thats because its far longer process to dev an IOS app and get it approved by Apple than it is to dev android apps. So start the IOS app first.

  7. 7
    llareggub says:

    Apple users have also previously illustrated their ability to buy things that are overpriced on the market.

  8. 8
    Hedley says:


    1) a large percentage of the vast number of Android users are in China and other countries where people don’t buy as many apps; so the installed user base of mobile OS isn’t a good like for like comparison.
    2) Android is fragmented, and lots of cheap Android devices can’t be updated to the latest version; so developers have a much harder time configuring and optimising their apps for the platform.
    3) iOS users are much more likely to pay a premium for apps.
    4) Google Play is a worse user experience than the App Store
    5) not sure about HTML5 – it didn’t work for Facebook.

  9. 9
    Snotsicle says:

    Apple will want to maintain the monopoly of their extremely lucrative App Store so will find a way of handicapping their HTML5 implementation to prevent any threat.

    That’s the real reason why they stubbornly refuse to support Flash or Java.

  10. 10
    Anonymous says:

    Assuming you want to sell things for money, Apple users genuinely are over 4 times more likely to spend real money on an app, so it does actually make sense.

    However, in the case of news media, I assume the major factor is that the journalists hang out in a bubble not interacting with real people. In their world, no-one uses any phone except the latest iPhone and no-one uses any laptop except a Macbook air.

  11. 11
    Will says:

    In the U.S., there are at least 30% more Android Phones than IOS.

    Guido’s point about HTML 5 is correct. What get’s me is the number of companies developing I.E. only web sites (i.e. Computer Centre, we cannot easily access there web site they set up for there suppliers), my company does not have any windows machines.

    It’s is not hard to develop client side software that works across the current crop of Browsers (I.E 11, a version of Chrome or Safari released in the last two years – due to the issues of security you should not user a non current browser).

  12. 12
    Human says:

    Just checked and I can now confirm I couldn’t care less. Thanks.

  13. 13

    If you want a serious answer to this, it’s because Apple products are bought by the tosser end of the electronics consumer market. Most apps do something it’s not particularly hard to achieve without them. But you do need to have a modicum of understanding of what you’re doing. Apple have always marketed products for those who don’t have the wit to understand the technology. They buy a pretty package, push a button & hope it’ll do it for them. So there’s a bigger tosser market for apps.

  14. 14
    Chucky says:

    Essentially its a lot more lucrative and cost-effective to develop for iOS first.

    Its expensive and time consuming to develop for Android and a small developer might run out of money and never make a penny.

    Android users expect everything for free. They were too cheap to buy an iPhone and they are too cheap to pay for an app.

    Although there are more Android phones in existence the internet traffic for iOS devices is higher. This is because iOS users actually use their devices and weren’t just sold a smart-phone when they were upgraded.

    Although HTML makes it easier to develop cross platform, preventing you from having to write your app in different programing languages for different platforms, you still have the same problem developing for Android as with a native app. Different screen sizes, hardware capability, version of Android, the fact that Android has worse performance rendering HTML5 (compared to iOS), poor CSS3 performance and implementation.

    You can still have HTML5 apps on app stores so Google and Apple really have no interest in handicapping them, its just more difficult to get the same performance as with a native app. Good for apps that just have static content.

  15. 15
    Chucky says:

    Also “shipment” numbers are deceptive. Android phones are “shipped” when they go to the supplier. Must many more are returned by customers or not sold and get returned to the manufacturer.

    The number of Window phones also looks too high compared to users.

    Apple has no middle men, so when they say shipped they mean SOLD.

  16. 16
    The Lizzud Returns says:

    Exactly. With Apple, it’s one operating system across a small range of similar products made by the same manufacturer.

    With Android, developers have to contend with something like 50 major products, by different manufacturers, each using a bespoke version of Android.

    Surprised you have to ask this, Guido.

  17. 17
    The Lizzud Returns says:

    What “get’s” me is your inability to use apostrophes correctly.

  18. 18
    The Lizzud Returns says:

    So fuck off, then. Thanks.

  19. 19
    broderick crawford says:

    I purchased in April 2012 an Apple ipad 3 64 kb cost approx £ 600. This gave a one year guarantee which I further extended for a further one year at an additional cost of £69 and thus expires April 2014. It cannot be renewed as Apple policy does not permit further renewals exceeding two years from purchase .

    Over the 24 month guarantee period I returned the ipad for problematic performance three times and on each occasion it was replaced free gratis by Apple under the guarantee.

    I now learn that if this happens in future out if guarantee I will have to pay approx £300 for a replacement as Apples are very rarely “repaired” in the traditional sense as they are virtually a sealed unit .

    So including my intitial purchase I have benn given FOUR ipads over a 24 month period .

    Does nt say much for product dies it ?? Little wonder Apple refuse to extend the guarantee after the second year . Compare that with John Lewis who give FIVE year guarantees on all telly s !!!

  20. 20
    broderick crawford says:

    Oh you must love me thrn . Apostoohes … never use them waste of time .


  21. 21
    Conrad says:

    I was told that Blackberry was for the Ruling and Managerial Elite, Apple was for the fashion conscious and tech savvy and Android was for poor people who don’t count.

  22. 22
    The Lizzud Returns says:

    Hey – I didn’t say I liked Apple products. I’m a Samsung and BlackBerry person myself. It’s just that I can understand why app developers prioritise Apple instead.

  23. 23
    DB says:

    a) Varies a lot by country. UK, US, Singapore, Japan & others have lots of iPhones, while Spain, China and many more have lots of Androids
    b) Lots of Androids are lower-end devices, some without even a dataplan. Not necessarily bought because people want apps etc – you try buying a phone with a decent camera that *isn’t* a smartphone
    c) Apple users tend to include quite a high % of influencers/trendsetters/early adopter
    d) More appropriate to compare iOS and top-tier Android eg Samsung Galaxy range, rather than all Android, especially for app sales
    e) HTML5 is good but still has limitations. There will always be differences vs. native apps. Hybrids eg native apps with browser-in-app features are important.

  24. 24
    Broderick Crawford (the real one 10 - 4) says:

    And so? Your point? Oh, got it. You are an Android.

  25. 25
    catweazle666 says:

    Because developing for Apple means requiring compatibility with a very small number of devices, and as far as I can make out, there are no two Android devices the same, so the probability of any app you develop running on more than a handful is vanishingly small, with the concomitant problems with support and customer dissatisfaction.

    Added to which, Apple offer an enormous amount of assistance to developers, from free coding platforms to a ready-made outlet for the product.

    If you actually want to make any money from app development, preference for Apple is a no-brainer, despite what the poverty-stricken plebs who can’t afford decent kit might think.

  26. 26
    Realist says:

    Apple users are all well known as thickos. They wouldn’t have bought in to the farce if they weren’t.

  27. 27
    Realist says:

    Tech Savvy? I assume you must be joking.

  28. 28
    Realist says:

    Total and complete RUBBISH.

  29. 29
    Al says:

    Is this like the time you predicted Facebook Lite would kill Twitter? Do me a favour.

  30. 30
    Britoid says:

    1. Android devices have well-documented security flaws.
    2. Android devices have a ton of different screen sizes to develop for.
    3. Android devices do not have a common OS. 80% of iOS devices do.
    4. Android devices are more popular with the poors, old fools and Windows users.
    5. Android devices are less popular with influencers, spenders and creative pros.

    Tell me more about the ‘coming ubiquity of HTML cross browser compatibility’. People were saying that 5 years ago and it still hasn’t happened. The HTML5 spec is crippled and HTML5 mobile app user experience is a disaster.

    Nice try, Guido but stick to what you know. Gossip-mongering, binge-drinking and looking up women’s skirts on the train.

  31. 31
    Hedley says:

    I thought it was:

    – Blackberry is for people who think they are important.
    – iPhone is for people who think their phone is important
    – Android is for poor people who don’t matter

  32. 32
    Arse says:

    Tool chain.

    I know it sounds daft but it’s the same reason DirectX is more popular with developers than OpenGL (those who know, know what I mean). There’s more dicking about involved with Android than there is with iOS.

  33. 33
    Norfolk's Finest says:

    Doesn’t say much for your hamfistedness either, if you’ve managed to go through 4 iPads in less than 2 years. Personally, I’ve had 2 in 4 years – I still own them both and they both work perfectly.

    As ever, one swallow does not a summer make, therefore one customer’s bad experience does not (or should not) be a yardstick for the entire output of a manufacturer.

  34. 34
    Norfolk's Finest says:

    Thick? Really? I use Macs… not because I’ve bought into a fashion but because they simply last longer. I still have a 2003 iMac that works perfectly, and my 2007 Intel based iMac runs the latest version of OS X. Not many PCs that are 7 years old are all that much cop with the latest version of Windows… in fact, I have a 2 1/2 year old Acer laptop that’s pretty much unusable with anything new nowadays. In TCO terms, Macs have a much better return, in the main because their usable lifetime is so much longer.

  35. 35
    La' says:

    Guido, the answer is probably in google Analytics under mobile and OS. Look at the stats for iOS

  36. 36
    Anonymous says:

    Analytics stats on browsers are wrong. I have proved this time and again with my own user-agent tracking.

    Google reckons 90% of mobile traffic to is either iPad or iPhone.

    As you can tell from the site content, I’m not aiming for the shallow end of the gene pool, so their numbers are patently wrong.

  37. 37
    alexsandr says:

    some people buy android cos they dont want to be tied into i-tunes. I prefer the freer environment of android. Tho I do worry about the data mining of microsfot/google/apple.

  38. 38
    Anonymous says:

    Now that you go that off your tiny chest you can waddle off.

  39. 39
    @defenestratorx says:

    Sod the Apple care rip off. UK sale of goods act gives 6 years protection through the retailer, goods must be of a servicable quality for that period.

    So buy direct through a physical Apple store, then when you take it back you can watch the ‘Genius’ shit his pants as you call trading standards from the store when they refuse to repair/exchange.

  40. 40
    @defenestratorx says:

    I take your unsupported 2003 iMac (OS support ended 2007 AFAIK) and raise you an IBM Thinkpad from 2000 still running a fully supported OS (Till next week that is). TCO being better with Apple kit is a myth due to the massive initial price and elevated support costs.

    Source: Me, I buy this shit day in day out.

  41. 41
    @defenestratorx says:

    “Apple has no middle men”

    The bullshitters are out in force today. If your statement is true then that huge table in PC World must be a mirage brought on by the fumes of thousands of shitty warranties being printed. Those boxes in Asda must be empty Chinese knock offs and their whole reseller network must be a figment of the imagination.

  42. 42
    The Bleeding Obvious says:

    Apple platforms are easier to use as is iOS and Xcode. Accreditation is easier and cheaper too.

  43. 43
    Norfolk's Finest says:

    Your millennial IBM Thinkpad may be running a ‘supported operating system’ (just) but it’s certainly not the *latest* operating system. I somehow doubt you’d get it to run Windows 8. A 7 year old Mac will run OS X ‘Mavericks’ happily. PCs have their place – mainly due to the de-facto monopoly that Microsoft had for so many years, but don’t forget that TCO includes more than just the capital outlay: it also includes the downtime due to problems, the high cost of OS upgrades (compared to Apple’s cheap and, now, free OS upgrades), the security requirements of Windows outweigh those of OS X (yes, malware exists for Macs, but in small numbers and generally requires social engineering techniques to con users into installing it, no browser hijacks that I know of), etc, etc.

    My source? Me too… I’ve been doing this shit for 25 years – I’ve seen a lot of product life cycles by now! And I’m a multi-technology user, I don’t limit myself to one particular type and have as much MS/PC-based kit as I have Apple kit… mind you I am typing this on a Mac laptop that hasn’t needed a reboot for months… I just shut the lid each day when I’m done…

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