Last week, we covered Apple’s announcement of their 40 billionth app download from the iOS App Store. Since that announcement, I’ve been talking with several people about why the App Store, despite its exclusivity, sees so much more success than the Android Market.
The question is not if the App Store is more successful, that much is clear. With the App Store boasting nearly 800,000 apps, and about 300,000 just for the iPad, and more than 500 million active accounts, its no surprise that Apple was able to hit 40 billion downloads (not including re-downloaded material or updates) in less than 6 years. What is surprising, is that even with less regulation, more devices, and a larger global market share, Android devices just hit the 25 billion download mark in September 2012. Due to this confusion, without further ado, some reasons behind the App Store’s success:
While some developers who have had their apps rejected from the App Store argue that Apple’s review process is too stringent, this actually helps their success. Because users know that this review process exists, they are less hesitant to download apps because they have much less of a fear of malfunction or viruses. This review process not only protects users, but it also forces developers to strive to go beyond the basic requirements for submission, thus creating better and more feature-rich apps to meet and exceed Apple’s standards for submission.
The Android Market, on the other hand, has a much less stringent review process, essentially letting most apps onto the Market, and only removing apps that receive complaints from users. This allows more malfunctioning or virus-ridden software to enter the Market, eliminating Android users’ confidence in the integrity of the products released on the Market.
Apple’s one argument used against Android Market apps time and time again is that they are not tailored to specific devices. Their tablet apps just look like – and actually are – stretched out smartphone apps. This is because of the variety of tablets on the market with varying screen sizes. Developers can’t make a standard app that will be more feature-rich on tablets because there are dozens of phones with different processors and screen sizes, so the developers are forced to develop for the lowest end, smallest phones and operating systems.
Apple, however, only has three “types” of devices, iPad, iPhone/iPod touch with 3.5″ display, and iPhone/iPod touch with 4″ display. This allows developers to specifically develop their apps because they know that these features they develop won’t suddenly not work on a new 3rd-party device. They can build an app for the 3.5″ devices, modify graphics for the 4″ versions, and add special features for the iPad, and it’s that simple. No product variation, just make sure to provide “@2x” copies of all images.
Because there are only a few models of iOS devices, developers can be sure that their apps will work with all hardware. They can tailor their apps to the Apple-specific processors, internals, and external interfaces, without worry that another device will be created that will have completely different processors or interfaces. Conversely, there are Android tablets with cameras, without cameras, phones with big screens, phones with small screens, phones with 4G, phones without 4G, etc. etc. Developers can’t specifically tailor features because they don’t know which of the dozens of Android devices their app will be used on. They are forced to create apps that are either lacking features or lacking compatibility.
While many developers and users complain that Apple’s stringent standards, limited hardware availability, and limited compatibility limit the growth of the App Store, it appears that the opposite is true. Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad is booming, and sales are only growing faster.
What do you think? Did I leave something off of the list? Disagree with one of my points? Drop a comment below.