Why the iOS focus?

DrJ1234
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Why the iOS focus?

Postby DrJ1234 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:39 am

I've been wondering this for a while. I understand why app developers focus more on iOS than Android. Studies have shown that iOS users are willing to pay more for apps, and for in-app purchases.

However, the Church's mobile apps aren't about making money; they're about getting gospel resources into as many hands as possible. Since Android has market dominance, and has for most of the year now, why is it that it seems that the Church continues to focus more on iOS app development. It seems new apps from the Church come out on iOS first, and then a significant time later (if at all) for Android. Since there are more Android users, wouldn't it make more sense to focus more on Android, since that would get the tools to more people?

Maybe I'm just getting tired of feeling like an afterthought, but still, it makes more sense to me to shift more focus to Android. Not that iOS should be left in the dust or anything. There are clearly lots of people with iPhones, iPods, and iPads. They should have just as much access to these wonderful tools too. I just wish they wouldn't get preferential treatment when there's fewer of them.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:48 am

My guess is that there are three reasons:

  1. Android has only recently taken over the market lead; prior to that time, it was entirely appropriate for the Church's development efforts to focus on the market-leading iOS market. The development momentum was then with iOS, and it will take some time to change (and the skill set required by the developers on Android are not the same as for iOS, so developers are not interchangeable).
  2. I have no data to support my observations, but I certainly see far more iOS devices than Android devices in my stake. Overall market statistics may or may not apply to the Church as a market segment.
  3. Much of the development work for mobile apps is done by community developers. To that extent, the number of skilled, willing volunteers for each platform will be a significant factor in what gets developed and how quickly.
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:31 am

aebrown wrote:Much of the development work for mobile apps is done by community developers. To that extent, the number of skilled, willing volunteers for each platform will be a significant factor in what gets developed and how quickly.


I'm not sure, but I've heard that developing for iOS is easier then development for Android. Certainly there's fewer hardware and OS versions to deal with.
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DrJ1234
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Postby DrJ1234 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:27 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I'm not sure, but I've heard that developing for iOS is easier then development for Android. Certainly there's fewer hardware and OS versions to deal with.


Most of the apps that the church currently produces are fairly simple and could easily be made to support a wide variety of Android devices with minimal effort. In fact, developing an Android app that works well on both phones and tablets is easier than developing one that works well on both iPhones and iPads.

Plus, this is just my opinion, but Java (the language used to develop for Aneroid) is much easier than C++ or Objective C (the languages used for developing on iOS).

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Postby lajackson » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:48 pm

DrJ1234 wrote:Most of the apps that the church currently produces are fairly simple and could easily be made to support a wide variety of Android devices with minimal effort.


I agree. But the bottom line is that it is a volunteer effort not related to programming difficulty. If there are more volunteers developing for the Android, then items will become available more quickly for the Android. Right now, it would appear that there are not as many volunteers developing Church materials for the Android platform as there are for other platforms.

I do not have the skills to develop for any mobile platform, so I am also at the mercy of the wonderful folks who do volunteer and do the best they can to fix bugs and generally keep up.

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Postby rem1701e » Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:03 am

I think that those that have commented about the volunteer effort are spot on. There are probably more volunteers for the iOS development than for Android. In terms of market share, While Android does lead iOS in smartphone marketshare, it does not however lead in tablet devices. There is also another segment that Android does not compete and that would be where the iPod Touch comes in. This is an enlightening article about marketshare: http://news.cnet.com/8301-33200_3-57323943-290/ios-vs-android-lots-of-stats-little-clarity/

Like Brother Brown said, in my Stake and in particular my Ward, there are far more iOS devices used in classes than Android devices and this to may be a church-wide trend. It would be an interesting survey to conduct.

In other research notes that I have read, the trend seems to be that people who buy and Android Smartphone when buying a tablet typically will purchase an iPad which would make sense and explain the Androids 43.7% U.S. smartphone marketshare vs the iPhone's 27.7% share and the reversal on the tablet share that iPad has 66.6% and Android has 26.9%.

All that aside, hopefully there are developers or individuals like yourself that are committed to the Android platform that can step up or learn the necessary skills to help further the development of the Church's offerings to Android users.

I love the author's last remarks in the above link I posted: "I love competition. Rather than hoping that iOS will fend off Android or that Android will trump iOS, I'd love to see them both thrive. That's what they're doing now. And if they're both still flourishing in a few years, it'll be great for consumers--and a strikingly different outcome from the PC wars of the 1980s and 1990s, which saw Microsoft decisively trounce Apple. Here's hoping."
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Postby kisaac » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:19 pm

rem1701e wrote:Like Brother Brown said, in my Stake and in particular my Ward, there are far more iOS devices used in classes than Android devices

I do hope the church's managers are looking at solid sales data and not counting their own elders quorums or High Council meetings and projecting that church wide!

I also believe what has been stated: The current direction is driven by the dedication of the volunteer pool of LDS iOS programmers, which have done a fabulous job, and I congratulate them on their efforts. Unless the church decides to "assist" this with some actual planning, and commit resources to the newer, but undeniably growing android market, the trend won't change quickly, and this will be a shame when we are still talking abut this issue next year, or the following....


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