With over 80% market share in 2017, Google owns a big portion of the global smartphone population. Apple’s percentage is continuing to shrink, but does it really matter when you are much more profitable?
The fact is, Apple's operating system (iOS) makes more money on its operating system than any other mobile platform. Apple makes its money not only on the operating system itself, but on the hardware and services that it provides. Google is more focused on its Android OS to introduce people into its ecosystem.
When it comes to the actual development on these two platform, some aspects are very similar to one another. While other details are drastically different. Let's dive deeper into what exactly makes up these two operating systems so we can have a better understanding on their similarities and their differences.
The Android OS utilizes one of the most popular programming languages out there; Java. Java is widely taught in schools as an introduction to programming. A developer who learns to program in Java can use this programming language to not only develop apps, but to also develop other programs outside of Android.
iPhone chose to use Objective C instead of Java as its programming language. They later introduced Swift as their own programming language that was better adapted to their environment then Objective C.
Even though Java is a much more popular programming language, it is not as modern as Swift. The problem with Swift is that it is mainly only used within the Apple ecosystem.
There is a big difference between Apple and Google when it comes to platform. One is quite stricter than the other.
Apple requires you to develop on a Mac. You cannot use a Windows computer to code an app for the iPhone. This tends to be a negative aspect when it comes to coding for Apple's iOS. It seems Apple wants you to be fully immersed in their ecosystem if you want to code anything for them. Some people might not have a Mac because it is pricer than a Window computer.
Furthermore, Apple’s App approval process tends to reject a lot of apps if they do not meet their specific guidelines. This can be a very frustrating thing if you spent a lot of time coding your app and they keep rejecting it.
Unlike Apple, coding for Android is available to anyone on any platform as Android is open source. Furthermore, you can use a lot of third party tools while developing the application.
Google's Android App submission guidelines are not as strict as Apple's. This allows developers to be much more creative and lets them think outside the box without having to worry that the app will be rejected and their hard work lost.
When it comes to coding, you need to do this within an IDE (Integrated Development Environment). When coding for Android, you can use a variety of IDE’s since Java is very popular. Apple, on the other hand, locks you down and makes you code exclusively within its own IDE called XCode.
One of the most popular IDE’s to code for Android is Eclipse. The development environment is quite robust and offers a variety of JDT tools. This makes the programmer’s life a bit easier.
Apple's XCode is on par with any other editor. They offer a variety of tools such as Assistant editor, Asset Catalog, Simulator, Live Issues, and a great library of helpful documentation. The interface is also very user friendly.
In the comparison of testing your application on different devices, Apple wins. This is because there are not as many different options when it comes to iPhones when compared to Android's vast array of hardware that Android can be installed on.
That said, the Android testing environment is actually quite good, if not better than the iOS test environment.
Both platforms have a pretty big community when it comes to support. There are many websites, forums, and discussions boards that a developer can access to get help.
However, the two communities can differ. Android is an open source platform, while iOS is not. Each community tends to attract its own type of members. Yet, both communities have an equal amount of people in them willing to answer your development questions.
In reality, there is no clear winner. Each OS has its own positive and negative aspects. The only true difference is that iOS developers are currently more sought after then Android developers.
The reason for this is that apps tend to be more profitable on the iPhone. Apple's App store is much more tailored to the users. Also, the iPhone user base tends to spend more on Apple's ecosystem then an Android user would on Google's.
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