Even though more people use Android than use the iPhone, some of the best apps around will release on iOS first — recall that when Twitter launched its Periscope app, for instance, it came to iOS weeks before it came to Android. Why? For one thing, iOS users are simply more profitable for app developers because they tend to have extra cash that they’re willing to spend on apps. For another thing, Apple has done an amazing job of making it easier for developers to create iOS apps, as a new report from Bloomberg demonstrates.
Last year, if you’ll recall, Apple unveiled a new programming language called Swift that not only promied to make app development easier than on Objective-C but also to eliminate many of the most common mistakes developers make when coding on other languages. According to sources interviewed by Bloomberg, Swift has been a huge hit with the developer community.
“Swift gets good marks from developers for safety (making it difficult to add bugs to code) and modernity (offering the same bells and whistles as other trendy languages),” Bloomberg explains. “Another key factor is expressiveness, invoked by coders to describe the ease of explaining to a computer what you want it to do. Swift is widely viewed as more expressive than Objective C because programmers can get the same results with fewer lines of code. “
Developing for Android, meanwhile, is a more fragmented experience where developers have to develop versions of their apps for platforms that are years old since it takes so long to get new software out to devices. The most widely used version of Android right now is KitKat, which was unveiled more than two years ago. The second most widely used version is Jelly Bean, which came out three years ago. Lollipop, which released last year, is still only used by 12% of Android handsets worldwide.
None of this means iOS is objectively “better” than Android, of course, and mobile developers are still going to make plenty of great Android apps because it has such a huge number of users. But if you’re an Android user and you’re wondering why the iPhone is getting all these cool apps before your device can get them, it turns out there are very good reasons.