According to the 2Q 2012 Mobile Developer Survey, Apple has opened a 16% lead over Android in the battle for the confidence of app developers concerning mobile apps. The survey, conducted by IT research firm IDC, received input from 3,500 mobile app developers from around the world.
Among those surveyed, 53.2% of the developers who responded said that Apple and iOS would win the “battle” for the enterprise app market, while 37.3% said they thought Android would win. This is important, because in the 3Q survey from 2011, iOS and Android were “tied” at 44% each. According to Scott Ellison, IDC’s Vice President of Mobile and Connected Consumer Platforms, this was the biggest news of the survey.
The developers were asked a lot of questions as to the reasons behind their opinions. The most popular reason to vote for iOS seemed to be the fact that the iPad is dominating the mobile apps market right now. Perceived fragmentation between Android devices was also cited. The number of different manufacturers of Android devices increases the possibility that an app won’t work on a certain product.
The developers also cited numerous Android malware reports, with almost none for Apple. For whatever reason, Apple’s apparent immunity to malware in respect to their computers seems to have been extended to their mobile products, too. This has resulted in many companies re-evaluating the idea of using Android for all but the most basic of business implementations.
While the second quarter of 2012 was better for Android than the first quarter, with interest in Android tablets rising 2.9%, Microsoft is looking like a strong opponent for Android. The market is waiting to see how their Metro user interface and Windows 8 tablets fare, and many feel that Windows could put a significant dent in Android’s market share.
The survey also found that mobile developers are bullish on cloud services. 83% of all mobile developers say they plan to use cloud services on both the front and back ends. This is roughly the same as the results of the 2011 survey. The most popular cloud platforms were iCloud from Apple and Amazon cloud, with Microsoft’s Azure far behind in third place. According to the survey’s summary, it will be essential for developers to connect apps to cloud-based services within the next year.
So, what does this all mean for you? First and foremost, it means that Apple is still driving the apps market. We have said it here plenty of times: Apple is dominating the mobile apps market. This particular study shows that businesses have a lot more confidence in Apple than they do in Android or any other platform.
It was no accident that the iPad was mentioned as a major reason for this trend. The iPad is like a Mac computer, but almost as inexpensive as a Windows-based computer. It provides many of the advantages of having a Mac, but at a price that opens up their product base to a lot of mainstream customers.
Businesses love iPad apps. Customers love iPad apps. Kids love iPad apps. There is a pattern here: everybody loves their iPad apps. We already know from earlier research that iPad users are more likely to buy paid apps than Android users. Even the introduction of Google’s Nexus 7 Android tablet isn’t having the effect Android had hoped for.
And now, with Windows 8 tablets looming on the horizon, Android is threatened even more. We already watched Research in Motion, who makes Blackberry, go from a meme to an afterthought in the space of five years. We’re not saying that will happen with Android, but we are definitely saying that all things Apple seem to be the best investment at this point in time.
We can’t predict whether the Nexus 7 will help Android regain its market share. We can’t predict whether or not the Windows 8 tablet will put a serious dent in the industry. But the one thing we can say for sure is that iOS devices, such as iPhones and iPads, are positioned for extreme market longevity.
So, what do we recommend for apps developers? Obviously, for right now, iOS apps are the safest way to go. As someone who works with apps developers on a daily basis, I can vouch for their knowledge of the market. When people who develop apps for a living have more confidence in one particular platform than they do in another, it is no accident.
Android may or may not be profitable for developers. The new Windows 8 platform may or may not be profitable. But there is no doubting the future success of iOS and Apple: they will continue to be strong and iOS apps will continue to be profitable.