An interesting theory on why Apple gets first-dibs on apps

An interesting theory on why Apple gets first-dibs on apps
There is always a good amount of talk about why Apple and iOS gets first crack at apps. It's no secret that developers tend to build for iOS first, and Android second, with all other platforms following afterwards. The prevailing theory has been that developers make more money in the iTunes App Store, but AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg has an interesting theory that we haven't really heard before. This is one of those ideas that we're a bit jealous we didn't think of first. 

We have talked before about how Apple gets apps first, and we said that could change this year because the revenue gap is closing between Android and iOS. But, Walt has a very interesting theory on the topic, and it basically boils down to this: Apple is a hardware company, while Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are all essentially software/services companies that may build a bit of hardware here or there. 

The idea is that developers are more ready to build for Apple's platform, because Apple makes its money on hardware, and isn't as much of a threat in the software space. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, and others all offer software for iOS, while the same can't be said between others. Google is notorious for refusing to build for Windows Phone. Amazon builds for everyone. And, Microsoft only pushes certain apps to different platforms. 

We aren't going to say it's the main reason why Apple gets "the good apps", but it definitely could be part of it. We just wanted to give some credit to Walt on some good work, and let you guys know about it so you could check it out. 

source: AllThingsD



1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31053; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

iOS apps do look prettier too.

4. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

That's a matter of opinion.

7. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I've read an article here on PA where an author commented that iOS games are much more beautiful compared to android's.

9. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

pretty much precisely reinforcing the fact that its based on opinion…. and, in my opinion, windows phone has some pretty nice looking apps

12. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

actually, i was supporting his statement, but i managed to make it sound like I was opposing haha

13. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I love android, but as an iPhone 4s owner (my phone is a RAZR) with over 300+ PAID games, I have to admit, iOS has Android BEAT TO S&$^ when it comes to games, It is getting better though, Nvidia and OUYA are helping...

15. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

And, that was that author's opinion.

11. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

Put the blame on developer for not implementing the new android Holo the be, instead, they keep using the nasty old gingerbread orange theme... Anyway. Morat beautifully designed android app = currents Not surprising though as it is designed by Google itself

20. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

After helping my kids mother setup her iPhone 4....and getting the exact same app on her iPhone and my Android phone for comparisons...I agree. I'm not gonna say prettier I'll say better looking.

2. nikenturd unregistered

As a rabid Note 2 user, I wish Google had some of Apple's finer music apps like Garage Band, MusicStudio, WIguitar, NanoStudio , iShred etc.....this is the primary reason why I haven't ditched my idevices yet....Come on Google pick up the pace!

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

You might want to give pocket band a try. I like the fact you could publish you music creation into the community from the Android device.

3. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

Android apps are really polished now. And they look good too. That being said, IOS apps tend to be prettier. Generally speaking of course. There's just a polish and fluidity that is unique to IOS. However, cross platform apps, like instagram, are equally nice on both platforms, and imo the best looking apps on android. With room for exception of course

5. daniel_bargs

Posts: 325; Member since: Nov 27, 2010

some Android apps dont really follow the design guidelines made by Google that's why most of the Android apps looks ewwwie. It is really just the design consistency where Apple leads the pack. If you use iOS apps... they all look the same. but freedom is still good. haha

6. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Now Android and iOS are good on apps now, so Windows Phone........?

8. akbar

Posts: 62; Member since: Feb 09, 2012

"Apple is a hardware company" my @ss. They are making their own processor and shiny casing - that's it. Just check for what are the most ongoing patent suits. What kind of companies Apple has devoured SW or HW? For me this theory doesn't hold any water.

10. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

like it or not you cant argue that apple develops the hardware for their phones… and they stop at making the needed software they dont even add anything but the basics to the necessary apps -- they rely completely on developers to fill in for consumer wishes (primary example is the camera app : works great for just taking photos, anything else relies on developers)

31. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Barely. For CPUs, all Apple does is modify the ARM architecture, then ship it to Samsung to be built. Then they pick and choose components such as screens and cameras, come up with a case, and have Foxconn put it together. Apple is a company using software and content to drive sales of pieced-together hardware. iTunes sold iPods. The App Store sells iPhones.

34. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

eh.. they dont use qualcomm chips straight out of the box like htc and others do... they make their own that they have samsung and foxconn manufacture. they make screens such as the retina display for the ip4 and then contract sharp to mass produce it... they develop the product but don't manufacture it and yes I agree they use their software to drive hardware sales... its a big ecosystem of profit

16. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Apple is a hardware company because the vast majority of its revenue comes from hardware. Apple uses the iTunes as a hook to get people to buy iOS hardware. Conversely, Amazon and Google only make hardware to get more people using their software and into their stores. All of the companies do both, but Apple's main focus is hardware, and for the others it's software.

19. AamirSIII

Posts: 187; Member since: Oct 04, 2012

what about samsung?

21. Truth

Posts: 62; Member since: Jul 15, 2009

"Conversely, Amazon and Google only make hardware to get more people using their software and into their stores." The same can be said about Apple. They make hardware so that people can use their software. It is more out of necessity and control since the only company that makes hardware for IOS is Apple. It may appear that Apple is more of a hardware company since they are the only ones that make IOS hardware but without software all you have is a paper weight. The better statement would be that Apple is equally focused on s/w and h/w while the others are more s/w and less h/w. IMO

23. predator93

Posts: 122; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

Actually Google and Amazon are willing to sell the hardware without/less profit (Nexus and Kindle devices) while Apple makes most of its money by selling the hardware.

25. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

The difference is that Apple doesn't make any profit on the software side, while Amazon relies on the store for profit, and Google relies on ads. Apple relies on hardware, thus it is a hardware focused company.

14. Goldeneye

Posts: 419; Member since: Jan 22, 2011

No it isn't just an opinion it's a fact, proof is that even Google own app/services work and look better on IOS than on Android, Google maps anyone? I'm pretty sure Google Now will work better on IOS again, WTF Google! also major apps like Facebook, Tweeter, Netflix and some games are pretty much optimized and designed with IOS in mind, that's slowly changing but still developers are willing to work for IOS first because is where the make the most money .

18. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Google Maps does not work better on iOS because Apple doesn't allow 3rd party apps to become system defaults. In Android, any address link will bring you to Google Maps if you want. That alone makes GMaps on Android far better than the iOS version, even if iOS has a couple of interesting UI tweaks. Same with Now. It will not work better on iOS, because you won't get the widget, or the quick access from the lockscreen (and anywhere else really). There is only so much that can be done to build a good app on a competitor's platform. With Android, Google apps get deeper integration.

22. funnyguy

Posts: 244; Member since: Jan 10, 2013

First of all ios doesnt just get the apps first, it also gets them EXCLUSIVELY... IOS has exclusive apps that will never be seen on android , for example among all the games i am playing right now( infinity blade 2, Ghost Trick, Back to the Future,Walking Dead ,Crazy Taxi,Asphalt 7 and Rainbow Six i think only asphalt 7 is released for Android ,corect me if i am wrong ....because maybe some of them are released now but the last time i checked it was just the asphalt 7. Still though, Aspahlt 7 doesnt run with full effects on the nexus 7 but runs with all the effects on the ipad mini . i also sow that Traktor DJ was released for ios and i dont think exists on Android. every app i have seen on the ipad LOOKS better than the similar one on the android devices , the reason is because on IOS devices you get Tablet Optimized Apps and on Android you mostly get non tablet optimized apps, the reason why apps come first for IOS is because is yeasyer for developers to create apps for this particular platform compared to android. we saw the same thing with the nintendo ds years ago.The ds was a platform very easy to make games for thats why it had a larger library of games compared to the psp

24. deathgod

Posts: 122; Member since: Nov 23, 2011

I must be stupid because this makes no sense to me. I always thought devs built for apple first because iOS was the first modern smartphone/tablet OS. iOS hasn't really changed much so they didnt need to change their code that much,they already had millions of potential customers from previous iOS users, and didn't have to worry about their code working on multiple devices as is sometimes the case with Android phonemes and tablets.

26. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Already having millions of users already installed on iOS is part of it, but the fact is that Android makes up about 70% of the worldwide smartphone market, and a majority of the US smartphone market. The revenue gap is closing, so devs can make money on either platform, but they still build for iOS first, even though they have a larger potential audience on Android.

28. funnyguy

Posts: 244; Member since: Jan 10, 2013

like you said android has 70% marketshare but obviously thats not enough for the developers to support it? it doesnt make any sense. Maybe people should realize that android is not popular because is good but is popular because is open source and not for sale, its given open and free. a friend of mine had a kid recently and we were looking for some apps about new parents and babys , the app store had many good ones , the google play litteraly nothingn worth downloading. whats the deal with ipad having all these exclusive apps and specialy games ? i was looking for the Room on android and the game wasnt available. plus why android lacks tablet optimized apps? is that because android is open source and because of that succes is granted so developers simply dont care about the customers anymore?

27. JunkCreek

Posts: 407; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

on android, devs should put the all the graphics from low, mid and high device all together on one installer. if the devs put high res graphics for the high specs device, the size of the installer would be too big and it is unusable for the low specs device so it is a waste. so the devs got 2 choice: profide 2 installers for low/mid specs device and hd device, but it would make us users confuse, which version user must choose for their device, so it makes users doing trial and error and once again it a waste of time and data. option 2, devs provide all low, mid and high graphics on one installer but reduce the textures quality and colors so thw devs can make sure the installer will successfully installed on most device, phones and tablets, that's why the graphics looks unsharp and unclear. while on ios, the device only had ONE HARDWARE SPECS, so the devs can easily determine the best texture graphics for the phone or tablets. THAT'S WHY. android lives on a world of compactibility which iDevice try to avoided the -they called- fragmentations. we are so many, so we must live within the fragmentations, not to be separated but to be united: lives with our own clothes, house designs, cars, shoes, suits, bikes etc not using one determined by one people/company/government

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