In its first research report (PDF), App Annie Intelligence, an app analytics company, reported that Apple is pulling in four times as much revenue from iOS sales as Google does from sales of apps for the Android platform.
However, the study, reported on by The Next Web, also suggested that Apple's App Store is a far more mature business than Google Play -- and has less upside over time. According to the App Annie report, Google Play had 311 percent revenue growth in 2012, compared with just 12.9 percent for iOS.
However, an Apple spokesperson told CNET that between January and October, the amount of money it had paid to developers for sales of apps -- an amount that equals 70 percent of all sales, since Apple keeps 30 percent -- increased from a lifetime total of $4 billion to a total of $6.5 billion, a boost in revenue from App Store sales of 62.5 percent.
At the same time, Google does look like it is getting faster growth in total app downloads.
"Much has been reported about Android's sheer growth in smartphone distribution over the last year," wrote App Annie Intelligence. "However, the volume of global free downloads is still 10 percent greater on iOS than on Google Play. What is noteworthy though is the speed of Google Play's catch-up. In the last five months, it has closed the gap significantly by growing 48 percent compared to iOS' 3.3 percent growth in the same time."
But the report questioned whether Google Play can sustain such heady growth in downloads, noting that the increase in app downloads on Google's store has "slowed considerably" in recent months, "and the question remains, can Google Play keep growing at a lightning pace?"
Update at 4:10 p.m. PT: This story now includes comment from Apple.