Apps have become vital in marketing mobile technologies to consumers, and the allegiance of app developers to Apple has helped propel the success of its devices.
(...) Developers say it is easier, and therefore less costly, to develop apps for the iPhone than for Android phones, in part because there are far more models of Android phones in use, with different screen sizes, processors and other technologies.
The variations in hardware and software are not insurmountable obstacles, developers say, but performing the testing to ensure that apps run properly on most Android phones adds time and cost.
“Writing apps consistently across all of them is really hard,” said Nat Brown, an independent iOS developer in Seattle who has created a line of children’s apps for the iPhone.
Mr. Brown also said he periodically considered writing Android apps, but had decided against it in part because iPhone users have demonstrated a higher willingness than Android users to pay for apps.
Apple has been far more effective in getting iPhone users to update their phones with the latest version of iOS than Google and its partners have with Android. This makes it easier for iPhone developers to write their apps because there is less variation in the underlying software on the devices.
One other advantage Apple has among developers is the iPad, which has so far maintained its dominance in the tablet category, despite challenges by an assortment of Android tablets.
One occasional source of discontent among Apple’s developers is the greater control that the company exerts over its App Store, for which it takes a more hands-on approach to approving software for distribution than Google does.