Increasingly wrong: The iOS advantage


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If you’ve been around as long as The Macalope has… uh, well, sorry about your chronic aches and pains and the series of trusses and garters you must employ in order to simply wear clothes. Or is that just The Macalope? Anyway, more to the point, you might remember that back in the day when kids were still saying “back in the day,” the conventional wisdom went something like this:

Android is taking the majority of the market share so Apple is doomed because developers will stop developing for iOS and develop for Android instead. It’s the Mac versus Windows all over again.

Actually, it wasn’t something like that, it was exactly like that, as Henry Blodget epitomized back in 2011.

The Android gains matter because technology platform markets tend to standardize around a single dominant platform (see Windows in PCs, Facebook in social, Google in search). And the more dominant the platform becomes, the more valuable it becomes and the harder it becomes to dislodge. The network effect kicks in, and developers building products designed to work with the platform devote more and more of their energy to the platform.

Everything he just said was completely wrong in regard to Android. Developers, it turns out, don’t want just any ol’ customer, they want customers that are actually willing to pay for things. And, surprise, people who are willing to pay for premium phones are more likely to spend money on apps. This wasn’t really some radical concept from outer space back in 2011, but no matter how many times we would explain this pundits would still flail their arms about iOS’s market share like a muppet on fire.

In fact, they still try to argue that market share matters for some reason, they’ve just stopped trying to say why. Substitute hand waving for actual reasons. Presumably these people are all graduates of the Jazz Hands School of Analysis (a non-accredited, for-profit institution).

Meanwhile, here on Earth, not only does it makes sense to develop for iOS before Android, it makes more and more sense every year. According to Morgan Stanley, the App Store increased its revenue per download advantage over Google Play over the last four years. In 2014 it generated twice as much per download, now it makes over four times as much.

As Daniel Bader notes:

Not saying it’s easy making a living as an iOS developer, but this chart is the reason developers aren’t falling over themselves to bring tier 1 apps and games to Android

So, not only were pundits wrong back then, they’re now even wrongerer than they were. Their wrongness increases with every day that passes. That’s really quite an accomplishment, temporal mechanically speaking.

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