Apple Accused of Deliberately Crippling Web Apps on iPhone Home Screen

Developer Maximiliano Firtman, author the O'Reilly tome, Programming with the Mobile Web,Developers have accused Apple of pushing them to use the App Store by making web apps appear slower on iOS devices.According to The Register, Apple iOS 4.3 runs web apps in the browser about two times faster than when they're launched from the home […]

Developer Maximiliano Firtman, author the O'Reilly tome, Programming with the Mobile Web,Developers have accused Apple of pushing them to use the App Store by making web apps appear slower on iOS devices.

According to The Register, Apple iOS 4.3 runs web apps in the browser about two times faster than when they're launched from the home screen into ''full-screen mode'' as compared to browsing to the app in Safari.

Developer say "I'm not 100% sure, but 99.9999% sure that the timing difference is because of lack of Nitro" JavaScript engine added to Safari in iOS 4.3. Fitman offers a version of the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark that lets you easily see the speed difference for yourself, embedding Sunspider in an iFrame so that it will run fullscreen on the iPhone and iPad. Apple has claimed Nitro runs JavaScript up to twice as fast as in iOS 4.2.

Web apps run from the home screen are apparently also unable to tap into caching systems that allow them run in offline mode as well as more advanced rendering modes. Quoting an ''unnamed developer'', the Register claimed that Apple's Mobile Safari team is well aware of the issue, but has indicated nothing will be done about it. The site did admit that ''Apple isn't degrading the speed of home screen web apps. It's boosting the speed of web apps in the browser'' but said there's essentially no difference between the two for the end user.

Various tech blogs have suggested speed restrictions on full-screen web apps could be a deliberate ploy on Apple's part to force developers inside the walled garden of the App Store. Web apps, they argue, are almost entirely outside Apple's control and don't need to go through the usual app approval processes.

With Apple remaining silent on the issue, there's no way to know the truth, but mobile programming author Maximiliano Firtman, who carried out The Register's tests, said he doesn't believe Apple is deliberately crippling web apps.

''I don't believe this's a deliberate attempt from Apple. I can't be 100% sure because I don't work at Apple, but I'm not seeing any excuse to do that. I believe it's more a "missing feature", a security problem, an App Store Rules problem, or maybe a bug,'' he wrote on his blog.

[Source, Via]