Which Mobile App Platform First?

Developing apps for iOS first

A friend today asked me a very interesting question:

“Can you see a reason people would launch on iOS first?” … “they don’t have the biggest market share”

- @VickiHigham

Mobile App Platforms

This got me thinking. Yes, it’s true that there are many more Android devices than iOS devices (both mobile and tablets) in circulation. In terms of app downloads and more importantly revenue generated from paid apps and in app purchases, iOS has always been a clear winner in my experience (more than 10x), meaning that iOS is the most lucrative app market.

I’ve generally released iOS apps first, probably because of higher volume of grossing apps.

The curveball

In reality, it doesn’t actually doesn’t make sense to develop for iOS first if you’re going to be targeting multiple platforms (especially if you’re using something like Cordova / PhoneGap)… let me convince you why.

Developing apps for Android first

It’s all about the review process

iOS apps have to go through the cumbersome Apple review process, meaning delays of up to 2 weeks (or sometimes longer), where you can’t make any changes to your app or have anyone using it. Subsequent releases also have to go through the review process, meaning bug fixes take longer to reach customers. Windows Phone has a similar review process.

If you were to develop apps for Android first, because of the fast release process there would be a raft of benefits:

  • The app could potentially be released quicker
  • Bugs can be fixed and released quicker
  • A more robust version could then be released to iOS

Other considerations

Of course, there are other considerations, such as target location, device capabilities etc but we should be at least questioning the “iOS First” approach that seems to have become the default.