As a follow-up to my last post, I find the same happening even more in the mobile arena than with traditional PC’s. In spite of the claims by some that the Android 4.0 Operating System has more features than the upcoming iOS 6, my experience is that iOS is a more productive platform for most people. For the record, I own both an iPhone & Android phone, and iPad & Android tablet. I’m also a software developer.
The graphs above are from Apple’s Developer Conference Keynote presentation which was held yesterday. This slide is highlighting that almost 80% of iPhone and iPad users are on the latest version of the Operating System while only 7% of Android users are on v4.0 (ICS). There are two real-world implications for this.
First, most Android phones do not support the latest Operating System (without hacking) and most new Android manufacturers are not consistently providing OS updates. The way the Android ecosystem has evolved provides an incentive for manufacturers to push new phones instead of supporting existing ones. Selling phones is their only revenue stream and providing long-term updates delays new purchases. Apple, on the other hand, just announced that iOS 6 is going to be supported on the iPhone 3GS. That means that it will have been supported with new OS versions for 3 years or more. Second, there are many more quality apps available on Apple’s platform which I find makes it easier to use the device to get things done. Let’s face it, the features of each OS aren’t what makes one more productive than the other; it’s whether Apps are available with the functionality that you need.
There are several reasons for iOS having the advantage when it comes to Apps. Most developers either develop for iOS only, or release iOS apps first. Analysts reported last week that ”[f]or every $1.00 a developer earns on iOS, he can expect to earn about $0.24 on Android.” That’s in spite of Android having a much larger market share of phones. It’s no surprise that developers would invest more in the platform that has a 300% greater return – so iOS will continue to have a lead in Apps and App quality for the foreseeable future. Several high profile Android developers have announced that they’re discontinuing development for the platform because the costs of supporting an ever-increasing number of Operating System versions along with the lower revenue is an unsustainable business model. This is a big problem for Google, for which they’ve offered few solutions thus far.
As with the previous article, this post isn’t intended to suggest that one platform or the other is inherently superior. Either is likely to be the better choice depending on your particular requirements. For someone who uses their phone as a productivity tool, however, the greater availability of high-quality Apps makes iOS the better choice.