Nov 20

Ever since the iPad was launched Apple has heavily encouraged developers to create Universal apps that have two separate UI:s in one binary, instead of having two separate apps in the App Store.

This week Apple finally launched their Apple Store for iPad app, and interestingly¬†it’s not a universal app. It’s an entirely new app just for iPad. The old Apple Store app (for iPhone) is still available. Note that the iPad app requires iOS 7 while the older iPhone app still works on iOS 6. So maybe this release was just an artifact of separate development timelines and the two apps will merge in the future.

Since Apple has opened the topic for discussion, I think it’s worthwhile to consider the pros and cons of each approach:

Benefits of one universal app

  • Customers only have to purchase and keep track of one app.
  • Higher likelihood of being featured by Apple in the App Store. (Anecdotally)
  • All your app downloads are aggregated for the purposes of ranking in the App Store, instead of being split across two separate apps.

Benefits of two separate apps

  • You can make two sales to your customers who use your app on both types of devices.
  • You can price the two apps differently.
  • Reduced size of the app binary when you remove all the image assets for the other device type.
  • One release will not tie up the other. Say that you are working on an iOS 7 UI update and you complete it for the iPhone version first, then you don’t have to wait to also finish the iPad UI update before you can release the app.

written by Nick

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