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Developers: Apple throttling Web app speeds on iPhone homescreen

March 15th, 2011 at 3:34 PM

According to reports from developers speaking to The Register, iOS web applications — when launched from the home screen of an iPhone or iPad — run 2 to 2.5 times slower than if launched directly from the Safari web browser. Right now it’s unclear if Apple is directly, or indirectly, causing this to happen. It’s possible that the speed cut is a result of a bug, but the developers have pointed out that it makes web apps less desirable than those that can be downloaded or purchased through the iTunes App Store. If Apple is doing this on purpose, it could be viewed as an attempt to force developers to publish content to the company’s mobile application store — where Apple takes a 30% cut of sales revenues. “Apple is basically using subtle defects to make web apps appear to be low quality—even when they claim HTML5 is a fully supported platform,” argued one developer. Another developer said that Apple is using an older JavaScript engine, which is causing some of the issues. Web sites that are saved to the homescreen as web apps cannot take advantage of HTML5’s application caching capabilities, which allows for offline viewing. Developers have filed bug reports with Apple, but have yet to receive any feedback.

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