Google Maps 1.1 for iOS (teaser 001)

You would think, given Android’s raw numerical advantage, that app developers would first build for the larger market. However, Apple’s iOS appears to offer companies other, more valuable qualities. Indeed, one need only look to last Friday, when Twitter unveiled its #music service – available initially only to iOS users. Another iOS exclusive, Twitter’s Vine, has yet to hit the Android platform.

Key to why companies are still developing apps first for iOS are findings that Apple’s mobile software is both used more often and the users are more loyal to the apps they download. What is Android’s response: change how such things are measured….

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

But perhaps most importantly is the fact that some number of Android owners aren’t downloading mobile applications at all.

Google tacitly acknowledged this fact earlier this month, when it made a change to the way it measures Android version adoption on its Developers site.

The company explained that, going forward, it would only show data reflecting those devices that had visited the Google Play Store.

But what’s causing iOS users to browse the web on their iPhones and iPads while Android users simply aren’t?

In the past, we’ve written how survey after survey shows iOS leading in mobility activity: online, viewing ads, downloading apps. Yet other surveys show Android leading by sheer number of handsets shipped.

Perez offers an interesting possibility: Android handset owners make use of the ‘phone’ portion of their smartphones, while iPhone owners pay more attention to the ‘smart’ component.

Some believe there are quite a few Android owners who simply don’t use their phones like smartphones. IBM’s Black Friday 2012 data seems to back this up. These users are phone-first, and ‘smartphone’ second.

IBM in 2012 found 77 percent of mobile traffic on Black Friday was from iOS devices (iPhone or iPad), while 23 percent was from Android devices. The disparity was even wider when surveyors looked at specific devices.

Chitika (tablet usage 201303, chart 001)

For instance, Apple’s iPad 88 percent of tablets online with Amazon’s Kindle appearing next with five percent. Along with iOS having more mobile usage, Android owners just don’t download as many apps.

It’s worth repeating Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s words from June of 2012. Responding to a question from an Android-toting audience member who was frustrated with iPhone exclusives, Schmidt was adamant developers would soon change their mind:

My prediction is that six months from now you’ll say the opposite.

As we’ve written developers love iOS because they earn more revenue from apps written for the Apple mobile software. Earlier in April, Google went so far as to change how it counts Android adoption, now recording only Android devices that visit Google Play.

Canalys Q1 2013 app stores (chart PED 001)

The TechCrunch piece only highlights the folly of judging which smartphone camp is ahead simply by counting devices.

As we’ve seen with how much revenue Apple can squeeze out of a square foot of retail space, one shouldn’t count out the iPhone too soon.