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Speaking of the Numbers
In our large count of all the key apps for just the architectural market side of the AEC industry our research shows that Apple greatly leads by numbers. There are vastly more high-quality apps available for Apple iOS than for Android in the AEC industry.
Some may counter that many of the best mobile apps are also available for Android. Well, that is true in some key cases. Autodesk’s excellent AutoCAD WS was first created on iOS but later came to Android. And BIM leader Graphisoft of Hungary also has its excellent BIMx app on Android–though it was first released for Apple’s iOS. One can cite several of these Apple iOS first cases. MCAD giant SolidWorks’s popular eDrawings has two excellent implementations in an app for iOS. The company recently officially tweeted that an Android version was coming later in 2013. What you don’t see are the CAD giants and leaders creating mobile apps first on Android and than officially tweeting that iOS is coming later.
And there is a reason for this that goes beyond Apple’s market share lead. In an upcoming interview article on Architosh readers will hear about Bluebeam Software’s perspectives looking at the various platforms. Matthew Harvey of Bluebeam Software explained to us that one advantage Apple has with its iOS platform is that from a developer’s perspective it is a “more standardized platform” and with Android there are many more flavors, which makes Android development “a little more challenging.” Whereas with Apple being a more standardized platform “it’s conducive to the commitment to getting your solutions developed to work.”
Both industry analysts and software developers are keenly aware that Apple’s iOS device customers spend more money on apps for their mobile devices than do Android users. If technical simplicity is an incentive for developers like Bluebeam Software to develop first for iOS, so too are dollars. Developing first for iOS means targeting return on investment dollars that can later fund extensions to other platforms like Android, Windows Mobile and Blackberry.
With these advantages in hand Apple is leading the enterprise and SMB market segments across the entire AECO industry. Industrial giants like Germany’s Siemens have iOS apps for the control and management of complex building automation. Design and engineering software leaders like Autodesk have large and growing iOS app libraries and are using the platform to help create and define new markets. Many of the most talented and often the most established CAD industry software players, like IMSI-Design, have embraced the iOS platform full-bore and are creating extensive products (apps) with extensibility. And they are all doing this, by-and-large, mostly or exclusively on iOS.
But the talent edge isn’t just because already existing and talented large players (leaders) have embraced iOS first over rivals, many younger and newer mobile software players are driving innovation on Apple’s platform. Companies like CadFaster and M-SIX, Sensopia and the Morpholio folks. Or developers like FiftyThree, Inc, the group behind Paper, or Ukraine-based developer Readdle are all excellent examples of innovation on iOS.
So is the Samsung vs Apple debate more hype or more reality? From our informed perspective, we say more hype.
We’d love to hear it. Send us your thoughts.