There has long been a debate about whether iOS is better than Android, and it has raged on into 2022. For software engineers, choosing between the two is more complicated than one might think. Although they are architecturally similar, they have markedly different development and maintenance fundamentals. Not only that, but iOS apps are also different from Android apps in design and marketing strategy. Essentially, it comes down to this: While iOS is a better fit for some projects, Android is more suitable for others. Let’s explore.
iOS and Android Speak Different (Programming) Languages
Let’s start with the biggest difference to consider: the technical dissimilarities. For one thing, iOS and Android literally speak different languages- programming languages, that is. While iOS uses the Swift proprietary language designed specifically for app development, Android uses Java. The majority of mobile app developers say that coding in Swift is easier and more straightforward than using Java. At this time, the first is easier to read, and the latter is still more difficult. ‘
Enter Kotlin, which is currently under in-depth development, and is predicted to replace Java for mobile app development in the near future. There are also several cross-platform tools on the market. These enable you to write code that will work for iOS and Android apps. The most important tool involved in cross-platform development is known as a framework.
In our next post, we’ll talk much more in-depth about cross-platform tools and how to use them. For now, let’s briefly review how frameworks operate. Basically, a mobile app development framework allows the developer to create an app using whatever language they are comfortable with. The framework then renders the code so that it can work across multiple platforms. This may sound like the obvious choice for developers, but frameworks can be vastly different from one another. Choosing the best one for a specific project is complicated- which is why our next post will be a guide to doing just that.
The Inside Scoop on Integrated Environment
For now, let’s stick to the main differences between iOS and Android development. The second fundamental difference involved the integrated environment. While iOS developers use the proprietary XCode tool, Android developers typically rely on Android Studio. Android Studio is a Google product that includes cross-platform support, easy readability, and a plentiful range of development and debugging features. XCode, on the other hand, supports the entire range of iOS devices, which is important. An Apple product, it also offers a wealth of debugging tools and may be easier to navigate than Android Studio.
So as you can see, the choice between iOS and Android development relies heavily on the app and developer in question. We know it’s complicated. Bear with us as we continue to break it down. You may be wondering at this point: “Which integrated environment is better?” Let’s examine that more closely.
As you may have gathered, there are pros and cons to both. XCode is well-liked for its source editor and assistant editor. It also has a fairly easy setup compared to Android Studio. Developers like Android Studio because it can rapidly generate multiple versions of an app for a variety of devices. It also has a flexible Gradle-based build system.
It’s worth noting that XCode can make bigger projects too complicated and time-consuming. Also, if you’re looking for an advanced code editor and layout designer, Android Studio has those features. Just keep in mind that they sometimes consume a lot of memory, which can be an issue.
System-Specific Designs and Why They Matter
Now let’s talk about system-specific designs. While both are designed optimally for mobile development, there are some distinguishing features you need to know about. Their design differs in navigation and architecture organization:
Android apps rely on the partition, which means that a coding team is needed to break down the app into activities and fragments. Fragments are parts of a user interface designed to enter a value, open a new screen, and navigate between activities. One activity takes up one app screen. So if a developer needs multiple screens for a project, they will need to manage dozens of activities. And
iOS architecture uses view controllers to control an entire screen or some of its parts. Controllers include page view, tab, split view, and more. How do they function? Well, a developer can either write them in code or organize images into a storyboard and store it as an XML file.
It’s important to note: Developers say that iOS architecture is easier to manage and less prone to challenges than Android architecture. Although it has its advantages, Android app development is still more complex than iOS development. Android apps are forced to use dozens of screen styles based on the screen size, density, and version of the OS. Adjusting the graphics to accommodate this range of devices can be a nightmare. And the only way to make sure that the app is displayed correctly for all users is to test it with many device simulators. This is time-consuming, to say the least.
App design systems determine the look and feel of the finished product. In the designing process, iOS and Android use different guidelines. iOS designs rely on Apple products, and these typically prioritize content over design by using shadows and gradients. We would describe iOS designs as immersive with lots of depth and multi-layered visuals. For Android, the designs are more true to life. Color changes, light, and motions are integral to Android apps.
But the aesthetic isn’t all there is to design- there’s also the interface to consider. Keep in mind that the navigation bar is centered on iOS devices, whereas it’s positioned slightly to the left on Androids. You also want to think about how much widget support you need for your project. While Android devices have a lot of support for widgets, iOS devices don’t have nearly as much.
Cost of Creating Mobile Apps: iOS vs. Android
It’s commonly believed that iOS development is more expensive than Android. But statistically, that’s not the case. In North America, it costs roughly $150 per hour to develop an iOS app. For an Android app, the cost is about $168 per hour. In Eastern Europe, the cost is estimated to be even: $35 per hour for iOS and Android.
Now let’s factor in complexity. Obviously, more complex projects tend to take longer to complete. A basic app takes approximately 300 hours to develop. A medium-complexity app takes approximately 600 hours. And a complex app requires about 800 hours.
We know that both iOS and Android apps can range from basic to complex. It doesn’t necessarily matter which one a developer is using. However, Android apps frequently require a bigger budget. This is because developers need more resources to adapt to a variety of screen sizes.
iOS offers an enterprise distribution model that allows developers to distribute to the team’s employees or a select group of individuals. Not only that, but companies will have access to a variety of beta–testing tools and utilities. Another interesting tidbit: For educational apps, there is an iOS university that helps college or school administrations successfully introduce an app to the curriculum.
Android relies on Google Play and others for distribution. It’s also possible to release an Android app on Amazon App Store, which is available in over 200 countries. So actually, Android app distribution helps developers reach a wider audience. And we all know how important it is to be able to attract a broad range of users- niche or otherwise.
There’s clearly a lot to consider when it comes to choosing between iOS and Android. There’s also no right or wrong answer- the right decision relies heavily on the kind of app you are creating and your business objectives. That said, hopefully, the information in this post provided some of the knowledge you need to make that decision. Happy developing!