Apple's app store vs Google Play Store

Apple's App Store vs Google Play Store

Current smartphones such as the iphone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, are becoming ever more popular, and this in turn has led to the growth of the mobile app.

Manufacturers have realised the importance of having a comprehensive digital application distribution platform (app store) which allows users to browse and download music, magazines, books, movies, television programs and applications to enhance the smartphone experience. In fact, some might argue that the lack of such an offering has led to the demise of BlackBerry.

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Apple’s iOS based App store and Google’s Android based Play Store are the biggest of the application distribution platforms. Both stores were available in 2008; Apple raced ahead in terms of available apps and handsets sold, though Android has since bridged the gap.

To compare the two stores we shall look at the number of apps, app downloads, revenue from downloads, quality of apps, cost of apps, and the User Interface (UI) both stores have to offer. The results can be seen in the table below.




Number Of apps

Both stores have over 800,000apps, though, Google Play is expected to reach the 1 Million mark first

App Downloads

Android app downloads have finally surpassed those of iOS by some 10% in Q2 2013

Revenue from Downloads

App Store boasts 2.3 times more revenue than Google Play

Quality Of apps

Apple Store apps are perceived to be of better quality that those in Google Play

Cost Of apps

Paid apps are similarly priced in both stores, however, there are more free apps in the Play Store

User Interface (UI)

  • Both UI App descriptions are in-depth and easy-to-scroll through, with screenshots, descriptions, customer reviews and ratings all easily accessible from the product page

  • Google Play has a better search function, returns more results than App Store, even if search terms are misspelt

  • Download process on Google Play is very simple, downloads take place in the background and can be tracked in the status bar.
  • One gripe that has been raised on several occasions with the App Store is the fact that credit card information must be submitted even if the user only intends to purchase a free app

  • App store UI is a bit boring and dated compared to that of Google Play
  • They both offer cloud- based storage but Google Play trumps the App store with its ability to stream media anywhere on any android device, whereas the App store is tied into iTunes

From the above we can see that both stores are very similar in terms of size and app downloads.

Considering that Android has 74% of the smartphone market compared to 18% of iOS, iOS still earns more than twice the amount as Android. This may be due to the fact that Apple users are used to paying for apps, whereas Android users tend to expect apps that are free of charge. Also, the availability of parallel Android stores like the Amazon App Store may redirect revenue away from Google play.

Furthermore, iOS is proprietary whereas Android is open source, and this may be an argument for the better quality apps in the App store. Apple tightly control what gets into the App Store, whereas anyone can develop an Android app for the Play Store. That said, developers prefer to develop apps for iOS rather than Android even though it is much harder to get into the App Store. This is due to the Android market being too fragmented, with too many custom hardware configurations.

Apple’s App Store excels simply by being incredibly simple to use and by allowing a huge breadth of choice without ever being overwhelming. The Android offering holds its particular strength by adding vibrancy to the app purchasing process that is lacking elsewhere. Apple is due to release its iOS 7 upgrade this month; hopefully this will be a breath of fresh air to the iOS ecosystem.

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