The choice of whether to develop a ‘native’ app or ‘web’ app largely depends on what you are looking to do.
Native applications refer to the kind of application you find in the iTunes App Store. However, we may discover that what you are looking to do has no inherent need to be a downloadable software application and could just as well be served by an iPhone or iPad ‘web application’.
A web application is not a piece of software, but actually a website that is optimised for viewing on the iPhone or iPad. These sites can offer nearly all of the functionality of a traditional website because they are based on the same technology. The added advantage is that this kind of ‘responsive’ layout website, can also adapt to other screen sizes, such as Android or Blackberry devices. They do, however, require Internet access in order to work.
Here’s a summary that might help with the decision between developing a native or a web application for mobile devices:
A native application is best if:
- You want to take advantage of the features built into the iPhone/iPad itself (motion detection, voice detection, camera and GPS for example)
- You want to make sure your content or service is available offline. If the core purpose of your application is to make your content available on-the-fly, or without a strong Internet connection, then a native application is best suited
- You are looking to make money directly from the sale of the application itself
- You are looking to get press coverage around the launch of your application.
A web application is best if:
- Your website has all the same content you want to feature on your iPhone/iPad application
- You are interested in potentially reaching non-iPhone/iPad users with the same application
- You want your application content to appear in mobile search results.
The only other consideration is cost. Generally, the product of iPhone mobile app design company is more time-consuming than for web applications and therefore is more expensive.
Deciding whether to develop a native or mobile app requires careful consideration of all the factors described above. Ultimately it must be the result of thorough analysis of the project and its objectives.
If you’re looking to build an app for your business, contact us to discuss your requirements.