The mobile app industry has come a long way and apps plays a very important role in people’s everyday lives. For the most part, the mobile app industry is dominated by two giants, Apple and Google. Apple’s iTunes Marketplace and Google’s Google Play Store are the two most popular online stores that people use to download apps for their devices. There are millions of apps available in both of these stores and there are a lot of new apps that are launched every day.
Besides being the two most powerful contenders in the mobile app industry, there are quite a few differences between them. Here are 5 of them.
1. Availability of Apps
There are a lot of apps available on both of these stores and both of them include the most popular apps used by people. In fact, recently Google Play surpassed iTunes Apps Marketplace in the number of apps. But there are still a wide variety of apps that are exclusive only to the iTunes Apps Marketplace, which are of course not available to Android users and vice versa is also true. .
One other differential factor between the two stores is the popularity of these stores. Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices are very popular among people and so Apple’s iTunes marketplace gets a slight edge in terms of popularity – both among users and developers. But as there are more Android devices being introduced in the market and Android OS constantly innovating, the popularity dynamics is shifting in favor of Google Play. And of course, since more people are able to better afford an Android than an iPhone, Google Play is poised to gain more popularity over time.
3. Downloads & Revenue
Even though, Google Play controls a larger portion of the market, iTunes Apps Marketplace still generates more revenue. Google Play exceeds in the number of apps that are downloaded each day, but even with less downloads, iTunes Apps Marketplace generates more profit for the developers. This is because Apple gives high priority to the quality of apps that are published on the iTunes Apps Marketplace. Hence, it is more profitable for developers to make apps for iOS than Android. Furthermore, since Apple devices are more expensive than most of the Android devices, consumers who can afford them can also afford the expensive apps, which in turn, generates more revenue for iTunes Apps Marketplace.
4. Finding Apps & Categorization
The most common way used by users to find apps is by searching for it using a keyword. Although, the algorithm used by both of these app stores is different, the results they produce are accurate most of the time.
While Google Play has more categories, iTunes Apps Marketplace allows the developers to choose a second category for their app while uploading, which makes an app available in two different categories whereas Google Play only allows one category for an app. Furthermore, it is important to understand that both of these stores have different App Store Optimization (ASO) strategies, which determines how easily an app can be found by the user.
5. App Rating & Review System
One major advantage Google Play holds over iTunes Apps Marketplace is the user’s ability to +1 an app, which is very similar to liking a page or a post on Facebook. This is a new feature adopted by Google Play and has already become popular among users. The more +1’s an app has, the higher it will be in the charts. Also, the number of +1’s helps other users in determining whether the app is worth downloading or not. Reviews are also an integral part in an app’s popularity. They can be written directly from the device or from the computer as well. If the user is using a computer, then to write a review for an app on Google Play or Apple store, he/she needs to sign in to his/her Google+ account/iTunes account respectively.
To sum up, I would say that although both of these two rival stores share a few differences, the fact is that both of them tend to provide pretty much the same features. Since users taste keep on changing and there are so many new devices coming out every year, it will be fun to see who remains the leader in the Apps marketplace segment on the long run.