Why „iPhone first” is a good mobile strategy

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about the latest mobile market share statistics and how Apple is „losing ground” to Android as an OS and Samsung as a device manufacturer:

(Credit: IDC)

At first glance, it looks like we should all fire our iOS develop­ers or try to convert them to Google and focus exclusively on Android. But wait, hold your horses!

How smart is a smartphone user?

Mobile phones made a huge step in their short history: from hand-held calling devices, through the madness of text messaging, slow EDGE Internet connections, cameras that let users snap photos of mediocre quality and send them to friends using MMS, to full-featured computing devices that make us always-connected, switching incessantly between watching our favorite YouTube movies, responding to important e-mails, chatting on Facebook and sharing tons of pictures from the latest trip.

Smartphones opened the door to a myriad of third-party apps that do things hardware manufacturers didn’t even think of, like measuring the pulse or scaring away mosquitoes. But, believe it or not, for some it is still a device for making calls and sending texts. Some stay with the pre-installed apps, not eager to go through the hassle of creating a store account, since Facebook and maps already sit on the home screen. Most never purchased a single app, feeling insecure about sharing credit card details or simply not willing to pay for things that they’re used to getting for free. But is a statistical iPhone user any different from an Android user in that respect?

The audience makes a difference

Just take a look at this chart:

(Year 2013, credit: data from Actix/chart by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

These bars don’t show how many devices sell, but how much they are used. The results are staggering: according to Actix’s study that tracked communications between mobile devices and carriers’ mobile networks, the top three most used phones in 2013 bear Apple’s logo on the back. Why is that? Well, the more you pay for something, the more educated your choice is, and the more you want to use that new gadget, isn’t it? As various surveys show, iPhone users are more likely to install new apps, tote their gnawed apples around, use mobile data networks and… spend money.

Where does the money go?

According to the data revealed by Opera Mediaworks, though Android generates slightly more smartphone ad traffic, it still lags way behind Apple when it comes to revenue:


(Credit: Opera Mediaworks)

As the ad market is steadily moving towards mobile, Apple’s financial managers can sleep well. But again, these numbers say a lot about iPhone/iOS users: they’re more likely to tap on ads, see the contents behind them, and eventually make a purchase. The same trends stay true in the app stores: iTunes sells more apps, which together with it being the sole iOS app source, adds up to Apple’s strong and (so far) undisputed position in the mobile sales.


The numbers show boldly that the “iPhone first” mobile development strategy is still the way to go. Not only has your iOS app better chances of being noticed and installed by the users, but you’re also more likely to monetize it and get paid for your efforts and ideas.

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  1. What a stupid analysis :P. First of all you NEVER ask the critical question of how they actually track the traffic and secondly, who says that traffic generated is equal to money generated, when most of the traffic are none revenue generating. It is in fact how much time you usually use an app that makes you want to buy it, like a game and productivity app, which does not generate that much traffic, that actually generates more money in the future.

    Thirdly, if he actually thinks that android phones are cheap, he must be living in an alternate world, or more likely, in a delusional world of his own.

    1. Hi, can you please explain yourself a bit more? In my opinion the post shows a trend based on existing market data. And this data for sure indicates iPhone users are spending more. Besides, I don’t see why you blame the author to be living in a delusional world. I don’t believe a user is willing to pay for an app he uses the most. A user wants to pay for value. Of course the real value of an app will be different for everyone. This could be productivity like you mentioned, but also “fun” when it’s regarding games.

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