The top iOS and Android apps are about on par in terms of customer satisfaction, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Surveying user reviews and comments about the top 200 free and paid iOS and Android apps, Munster found a virtual tie between the two environments, though Android had a slight edge. The 112 apps common to both platforms scored an average rating of 4.28 among Android users and 4.16 among iOS users.
Munster found significantly more reviews for paid apps on iOS -- 6.1 million versus 3.4 million for Android. But Google's mobile OS scored more reviews for free apps -- 61.9 million versus just 26.7 million for iOS. Such a difference could be explained by iOS users simply buying more paid content compared with their Android counterparts, according to the analyst. However, mobile developers are focused on both platforms, Munster added.
With app satisfaction seemingly on par between iOS and Android, what's the next frontier for Apple and Google? Munster thinks the fight will shift to services built into the two platforms, such as the Siri and Google Now voice assistants, but other features may get caught up in the battle.
"We note that in our recent test comparing Siri and Google Now, we felt that the two platforms essentially tied for the ability to comprehend and answer questions," Munster said in a research note released Tuesday. "Beyond personal assistants, we believe features such as Google's voice activation feature (OK Google Now) and Apple's TouchID are examples of where the battle is going. On Apple's side, we believe that a payments platform, which we expect early efforts on in CY14, could be the company's next shot at a game changing service unique to iOS."