Apple may be associated with the word “apps” more so than Android, but it wasn’t the first player in the market. In fact, it wasn’t the biggest upon launch, either. The now famous App Store was introduced alongside the release of the iPhone 3G in July of 2008, when it hosted just 500 apps.
At the time, Microsoft boasted over 18,000 apps for the Windows Mobile OS, while Palm claimed that it had 30,000 software developers building new apps.
After a number of early struggles, however, Apple’s App Store began to overtake its rivals, with 10m downloads in its first weekend and 100m downloads in its first quarter. Within 12 months, that number reached 1.5bn spread over 65,000 apps. Within five years, 1m apps were made available from the App Store.
The Play Store (then “Android Market”) also launched in 2008 and quickly outperformed the App Store. It received around 64bn downloads in 2016. The App Store recorded slightly more than 25bn downloads in the same year, according to App Annie.
However, while Android offers more apps than Apple, the latter leads on revenue, due to it attracting a higher-paying customer (newsflash: iPhones are expensive) willing to pay more for apps and in-app purchases.
Apps that get around
Of course, many multi-platform apps are available both from the App Store and Play Store, including such games as Ruzzel and Faif. There are also numerous online casino games on iOS and Android, such as Book of Dead and Jungle Spirit, both available from Casino Euro. The casino app ensures that users of either smartphone can access the site’s offer of 20 free spins, so not a bad app to have in your back pocket. Google has only recently caught up with Apple in allowing casino apps in its Play Store. Of course, there are a wealth of other entertainment apps available in both stores, such as Netflix and Spotify.
But are there really any key differences as to which smartphone the user accesses their favourite apps from? Let’s examine the pros of cons between Apple and Android apps.
Google’s Play Store enables users to push app installation on each of their tablets and phones instantly, as long as they’re signed in to their Google account. To install the same app on an iPad and iPhone, you’d be forced to do so manually for each device. The inconvenience may not be huge, but it makes a difference, with regards to usability.
Android mobile OS runs on numerous tablets and smartphones, with different display sizes, RAM capacity, and CPUs. Android developers typically make their apps available to more devices, compared with iOS. While the majority of the App Store’s apps work on both iPads and iPhones, there are some exclusive to smartphones that weren’t adapted to an iPad’s larger screen.
The Play Store is far more accessible when it comes to searching for apps, but then Google is the king of creating search algorithms. Google also integrated Google+ features, so when you’re reading app reviews, those left by your friends show up before others. Friend recommendations carry more weight than those left by strangers.
Apple’s system promotes apps with 5 star ratings, which gives them a boost and moves their rank to make them more visible to users. Apple also allows developers to ask app users to provide a rating only three times per year. Some Play Store apps ask for user ratings continuously.
The general consensus is that the App Store provides greater security, which could well be true when considering the fact that Apple takes more care in individually reviewing each app. It’s in fact one of the fundamental principles behind the store: apps are reviewed and given an Apple rating. This process allows Apple to ensure that each of its store’s apps follows all guidelines.
App Brain found that the Play Store had 3,695 “low-quality” apps in January of 2017. While low-quality apps don’t necessarily equate to malware, they certainly don’t provide a positive user experience.
Your smartphone will dictate whether you will be downloading from the App Store or the Play Store, but the pros and cons of each store may just help make your decision on which smartphone to buy.
Android and the Play Store provide much greater flexibility with regards to app types and customisation, but the Apple Store’s apps are more secure. The Play Store does, however, feature numerous apps for education and photo editing, while the App Store emphasises games.
Each store offers their advantages; it really depends on what you consider to be important. All being said, however, we are leaning towards the App Store.