Study Shows That iPhone Apps Are Cheaper Than Android Apps
It sometimes seems as though Apple and Android have been competing with each other since the dawn of time. The two compete for users and for sales. They fight over intellectual property and rush to come up with superior products. They mock the opposing platform in print and television ads. And, of course, both smartphone platforms steadfastly believe that their app store is the superior one.
Proponents of iPhone apps argue that these apps are far more secure, trustworthy, and comprehensive than their Android counterparts. Android users, on the other hand, will point out that their apps are less restrictive, more numerous, and displaying faster rates of investment and growth. Both arguments certainly carry a good deal of validity.
But now a new measure of assessing apps has emerged: price. While it may seem obvious to include price comparisons from the onset, the relative inexpensiveness of smartphone applications coupled with a belief that there were no large-scale differences kept researchers from conducting such a study. The research firm Canalys, finally decided to examine whether that second assumption is true. The result? It’s not – in fact, there is a striking price difference between iPhone and Android apps. That difference falls in Apple’s favor.
The study excluded free apps – which comprise a substantial percentage of the application market – and decided to focus instead on the most-downloaded paid apps in each store. The exclusion of rarely-downloaded paid apps was designed to keep expensive outliers out of the study. The results showed that popular paid apps were far cheaper on the iPhone than on Android phones. For example, the top 100 paid Android apps would together cost $374 – far higher than the $147 it would take to buy the most popular 100 apps from the Apple store. This discrepancy persists also on an individual level, where games such as Monopoly cost far more for Android users ($4.99) than for iPhone owners ($0.99).
How can this strong price difference be explained? Analysts agree generally that Apple follows an aggressive price-reduction strategy that helps the company sell many of its paid apps for only $0.99, but beyond that the explanations vary. Some see it as a sign that Android – which has the larger and faster-growing app store – has greater demand and can afford to charge more. Others, however, including the writers of the Canalys report, believe that Android needs to charge high prices because it has the numbers but not consistency of demand, especially on a per-app basis.
So we have yet another way to differentiate between Apple and Android. And, not surprisingly, nobody is able to reach a clear consensus.
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