A couple months post-announcement of the iPad Mini and the sales data is coming out. The reports claim pretty healthy sales for Apple’s small tablet, 3 million units or more, depending on where you get your numbers. While there are a few technology analysts still decrying Apple’s pricing decision, suggesting that more units would have moved and fewer of the competition’s it the unit was priced lower, Apple remains the company and the brand to beat in the tablet area. As Steve Smith notes over at Media Post, “...Apple seems to prefer dominating the conversation around a platform to owning the market.” That they do.
Before the iPad mini arrived, the iPad was the perfect venue for reaching out to TV viewers with value-add experiences. Users of Apple’s tablet tend to be more affluent, more receptive to online advertising and more likely to spend money on their devices. If you’re losing eyeballs during commercial breaks to mobile devices, in a best-case scenario you’re driving additional content complete with related promotions from your advertising partners to those same devices, and in a perfect world, those audiences fit the demographic tendencies of iPad owners.
Surely the demographic fault lines don’t line up perfectly, but the evidence is pretty compelling that iOS users are a different sort of consumer than Android users. On a related note, something else that crossed my radar this morning was an article over at Business Insider about T-Mobile’s decision to change their network architecture to allow the iPhone. “T-Mobile, which was the first partner of Android, thinks that it needs the iPhone to be sustainably competitive.” (Full disclosure: I know this is one reason Giant switched away from T-Mobile in 2011.) How does this impact second screen and companion app developers? Certainly it means that iOS is a ‘must have’, but Android may be part of a ‘belt & suspenders’ approach. If you want to cover the greatest segment of tech-savvy mobile consumers, do both. But if you’re dipping your strategic toe in the mobile app/second screen world, it may make sense to begin with iOS and expand after the technical and marketing kinks are worked out. We’ve had a number of conversations with clients and potential clients in the past 12 months about this very question and I believe it’s definitely an idea you’ll want to keep in mind as you formulate your app development plan.