iOS 'web app performance issue' - Bug or feature?

Summary:Apple's iOS contains several 'bugs' which are hampering the performance of web apps, according to an exclusive report by the The Register. But are they 'bugs' or a 'feature'?

Apple's iOS contains several 'bugs' which are hampering the performance of web apps, according to an exclusive report by the The Register. But are they 'bugs' or a 'feature'?

Either way, as The Register points out, it creates an uneven playing field that gives native apps (the ones where Apple gets to keep 30% of the list price) an advantage over web apps (where Apple gets $0).

It's unclear whether these are accidental bugs or issues consciously introduced by Apple. But the end result is that, at least in some ways, the iOS platform makes it harder for web apps to replace native applications distributed through the Apple App Store, where the company takes a 30 per cent cut of all applications sold. Whereas native apps can only run on Apple's operating system, web apps – built with standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript – can potentially run on any device.

The first issue comes down to the fact that later iOS releases have two JavaScript engines - a newer, faster one called Nitro that Safari can use, and an older, slower engine that web apps, such as those used by Google and Kazaa, have access to. A good demonstration of this is running the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark both from the browser and as a web app. It takes the web app 2.6 times longer to complete the test.

Note: I can confirmed that this discrepancy between SunSpider results exists.

Another disadvantage facing web apps is that they cannot take advantage of HTML 5 caching, so the can't be run when not connected to the Internet.

Finally, web apps are still stuck with the slower 'synchronous mode' rendering while native apps get to use 'asynchronous mode' rendering.

Is this a 'bug' or a 'feature' that Apple uses to make native apps more attractive? I'm reserving judgment ... if it's fixed in a future release of iOS then it was a bug, if not, well ...

[poll id="608"]

Topics: Apple, Cloud, Hardware, Mobile OS, Operating Systems

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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