Ask a crowd of tech bloggers or even general smartphone users whether Android or iOS is better, will be more successful, or is headed for world domination, and you open a Pandora’s box of arguments that sooner or later devolves into name-calling. While a conversation pitting Google and Apple against each other is generally pretty fruitless, there’s one big difference between the two. Beyond design, functionality, security, and devices, there’s one interesting way to compare the two and look for insight into where each is headed — the type of user that each operating system attracts.
Let’s start with the basics: According to research reported by DazeInfo, iOS users are more loyal than Android users, in terms of who intends to stay with the operating system following their next smartphone upgrade. iOS users also have more spending power than Android users, have higher income than Android users, and the average iOS user spends a lot more time on the internet than the average Android user. But here’s why iOS users are more profitable for Apple: Android owns 80.2 percent of smartphone market share worldwide, while Apple owns just 14.8 percent. Apple focuses on the premium customer in a mature market, while Android is used everywhere, by every type of customer.
That sounds like a good thing for Google, but there’s a problem. The key differences in the users that iOS and Android attract play a part in how profitable each operating system is. Although you have to keep in mind that Android is open source and available for any manufacturer to use, while iOS is Apple’s only, and available exclusively on the devices that it manufactures, here’s how the differences in user base are important: Given that the average iOS user is more active than the average Android user, and iOS generates 85 percent more revenue for developers than Android, Apple dominates profit share despite Google’s global dominance of market share.