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Apple Confirms ‘Safari Outperforms Embedded iOS Web Viewer’

Apple has confirmed that iOS web apps and embedded web views in iOS applications are throttled and run twice as slow as Safari.

“The embedded web viewer doesn’t take advantage of Safari’s web performance optimizations.” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller tells The Register. It would seem that these optimizations include the Nitro JavaScript engine as well as certain Safari caches and the browser’s “asynchronous” rendering mode.

The end result is that web-centric applications built for the platform — including third-party browsers that use the embedded web viewer — don’t offer the same performance as applications and webpages run within Safari.

On Wednesday, Canadian startup Blaze Software — which says it offers a free service for measuring mobile web performance – published a study claiming that Google’s Android browser is 52 per cent faster than Apple’s mobile Safari. And the study was widely reported across the web. But Apple soon responded to say that Blaze’s testing methodology is inherently flawed.

The only affected users would be users of third-party web browsers that utilize the web engine that Apple provides to developers in Xcode. Full-screen web applications that launch from the iOS homescreen are, of course, affected as well.

But whatever Apple’s original stance on the discrepancy between home screen apps and Safari apps, now that the situation has blown wide open — with Apple publicly acknowledging the disparity — things may change with a future version of the operating system.

It’s in the company’s best interests to add Safari’s optimizations to the embedded web viewer as well — at least that’s what Apple boss Steve Jobs has led us to believe.

“We strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript,” Jobs said in his iconic “Thoughts on Flash” open letter.


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