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Apple Handcuffs Web Apps On iPhone Home Screen

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the evil-or-oops dept.

IOS 298

SF Polack writes "On Apple's iOS 4.3, HTML5 and JavaScript apps are running significantly slower when they're run from the iPhone or iPad home screen rather than Safari, and the OS is hindering the performance of these apps in other ways. The end result is that it's harder for web apps to compete with native iOS app sold through the App Store, where Apple takes a 30 per cent of sales."

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Uh. (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493380)

Doesn't iOS have backends that needs tending, like I don't know, being able to receive calls and mail?

Re:Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493422)

Yes, because when you bring up Safari on the iPhone, it doesn't receive calls anymore.

Re:Uh. (0)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493428)

Sadly, How many people ACTUALLY use their phones to make calls today ? Most people I see use them for playing games and sending out text messages and that's about it.

Re:Uh. (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493552)

Sadly, How many people ACTUALLY use their phones to make calls today ? Most people I see use them for playing games and sending out text messages and that's about it.

"Sadly?" What's sad about it? Some us who always hated talking on the phone and would be happy if phones became obsolete (although they won't of course). I also hated faxes, you're not sad about them are you?

Anyway, if the increasingly inaccurate "phone" designation really annoys you, just pretend they're mutated calculators.

Re:Uh. (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493708)

Really they're just smart devices that also happen to be able to make and receive phone calls and use cellular data. Outside of those features you can get relatively similar functionality out of an iPod Touch. Branding and selling them as phones makes it easier to move such devices because 99% of the population groks cellphones and the carriers already have a large distribution base which makes it easy to get the devices into the hands of consumers.

With future additions of NFC and other technologies to these smart devices, they will invariably become more of a personal computer than the PC ever managed to be, phone calls will eventually just become another checklist item. The cellular data network will still be important, but in some areas of the world, WiFi saturation may make it less necessary.

Re:Uh. (2)

markass530 (870112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493556)

You don't see people wipe their ass or feed their pets, but I'm guessing people do those things as well as make phone calls with their phones. Texting/Games are what they do in public/when killing time.

Re:Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493582)

Sadly, How many people ACTUALLY use their phones to make calls today ? Most people I see use them for playing games and sending out text messages and that's about it.

Wait... you can make calls from your phone now?

Re:Uh. (5, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493614)

There is an app for that.

Re:Uh. (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494178)

"Retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it." -Jobs

Re:Uh. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493616)

Too many, and I wish more wouldn't. Mostly because a lot of them haven't figured out that they're talking to the phone, not to the people around them and as such don't need to yell.

Personally, I've got a Nexus One, and I use it primarily for the other things, because most of the time I don't need to talk. And frequently trying to talk just causes more problems, because lets face it, the carriers around here suck.

Re:Uh. (2, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493634)

They are not phones.

They are high end PDAs that include telephony as a feature, and you can choose to or not to use that feature.

There, does that make you happy? :-)

People like them. They're very powerful and can do a lot and industry leaders have been talking about "convergence" technologies for about 25 years but only now has it become reality.

Re:Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493706)

Yeah, if by "convergence" you mean 100 fart apps and other pointless diversions. Apple has succeeded marvelously at resurrecting the shareware concept and all it's awful baggage.

It is a toy, plain and simple. An expensive "activity generator" with a telephone attached. Stop pretending it is a world-changing piece of technology because it isn't.

Re:Uh. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493754)

Some people do use them for work. With VPN + ssh my android phone gets used for work a lot.

Re:Uh. (4, Insightful)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493998)

Hahahahaha. Oh wow.

"Stop pretending it is a world-changing piece of technology because it isn't."

How is it (or rather smart phones in general) not? It's at least as world changing as the internet itself.

Being able to access nearly any piece of human knowledge whether I'm standing in line at the grocery store or out camping in the woods is pretty fucking amazing to me.

Re:Uh. (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494312)

Bullshit. Its a communication device. Its the same fucking thing that Kirk and Spock used. Its the fusion of a tricorder and a communication device. If you cant see a device with a several radios, the ability to pinpoint your global position, the ability to tell if you are moving or not, the ability to provide map data, emergency communication, in-the-field first aid data as a world-changing piece of tech then you are blind or living in the past.

Re:Uh. (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494428)

Yeah, if by "convergence" you mean 100 fart apps and other pointless diversions

What you choose to load into your smart phone is your own business. Personally, I only have a couple of apps on my iPhone, but I use the browser every day, and the map function at least once a week.

Re:Uh. (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493644)

What's sad about that?

Re:Uh. (1)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493910)

Maybe you should call it a "mobile" like our friends in Europe. It would seem to solve the problem with new technology and antiquated descriptions...

Re:Uh. (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494198)

Or my favorite, "Mobular"

Re:Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494404)

We call them a "handy", not a "mobile." /deutschland

Re:Uh. (2)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493988)

Sad, if you're unhappy that technology advances; or about how it's increasingly possible to access more of what interests you in a way that's convenient and comfortable to you -- and doesn't disrupt your life.

Me? I think it's pretty friggin' cool that in addition to supporting voice (and face-to-face/video conversations) today's portal wallet-sized devices are also able to connect me to the entire world in other ways too. (Not to mention entertaining me from time to time.)

Re:Uh. (1)

specialguy92 (1974828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494306)

How many people use their phones today? Seems like a lot when I'm waiting in line.

Re:Uh. (1)

scaryjohn (120394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493430)

Do these tasks not need tending when Safari is also running?

Re:Uh. (4, Funny)

russlar (1122455) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493432)

Try holding it differently.

The iPad is the new IE6 (3, Informative)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493768)

This is the opinion(not mine, I know this will be downvoted regardless) of this very interesting and detailed article which I wanted to post.

http://blog.millermedeiros.com/2011/01/ipad-is-the-new-ie6/ [millermedeiros.com]

Re:The iPad is the new IE6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494010)

Hey, troll. Wake me up when Apple stops using the standards adhering, cross-platform, cross-OS webkit browser and has a monopoly on the mobile device market. Then you can compare them to the utter catastrophe that was IE6.

Re:The iPad is the new IE6 (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494100)

Mr. Coward,

As I said, that's not my opinion, so no need to attack me. Feel free to attack the author of that article instead.

BTW: Using webkit doesn't automagically make things better. Maybe you should address the points raised in that article instead of handwaving with some mumbojumbo about OSS and monopolies thrown in?

Re:The iPad is the new IE6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494160)

People who can't write any better than that shouldn't be writing blogs. If the guy can't write English any better than that, it's no wonder he can't get code to work.

Re:Uh. (2)

technomom (444378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493434)

....and handle seasonal time changes?

Re:Uh. (2)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493448)

This has to do with if you go to the page from the home screen (effectively clicking a shortcut that takes you to safari) versus going to safari, then the page. Nothing to do with the available capability.

In both situations, you end up with the same result (page running in safari). When you use the home screen shortcut, you get less performance.

As to backends, if you're phone app requires CPU power to *wait* for calls, you're doing it wrong. (memory I can understand. actively polling a hardware signal? not so much)

Re:Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493458)

They need tending whether you're running the app from the home page or from Safari. The performance should be identical.

Re:Uh. (1)

Rhywden (1940872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493470)

You did not understand the article. iOS offers two possibilities for web apps to be run:
a) open Safari on the iPhone/iPad. Surf to the web app. Run it.
b) Save the web app directly on the device, thus you don't need to open Safari first.

For the latter approach, some features are disabled and execution is slower even when the code is the same and it's executed on the same device.

Re:Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493806)

What does that have to do with anything at all? Whether the javascript app is located on the device or hosted on the web, it's going to require the same amount of resources from the device. The only difference would be that on the phone, it would load even faster since it's coming from local storage. Are you really that dumb or you just couldn't think of anything else to say for a first post?

Re:Uh. (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494344)

Doesn't iOS have backends that needs tending, like I don't know, being able to receive calls and mail?

If that's a gay Apple joke you're making, I am sure most are not getting it. /joke.

It's a bit to soon to say for sure (5, Interesting)

linuxci (3530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493442)

Why would it be about 30%, most web apps are free and 30% of zero is zero. Apple allow free apps in their store.

This bug only occurs when you launch a web app that contains a meta tag of name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes"

If your 'web app' is just a shortcut to Safari on your homescreen then you won't see this bug.

Basically this web app meta tag launches the app fullscreen without any Safari chrome. To the user it looks like a separate app rather than it's running in the browser.

The slow behaviour is just using the iOS 4.2 JavaScript engine. It's possible that this is either an oversight or that Apple deliberately kept the old JavaScript engine for web apps in case it broke functionality that the app was depending on.

We'll see in the coming weeks I'm sure.

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493598)

most web apps are free and 30% of zero is zero.

You must be new here. The correct way of saying that would be "Apple takes 100% of the royalties of most apps!"

Write that up, post it on a blog somewhere, and submit it, quick!

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (0)

mystikkman (1487801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494166)

You can't blame them for trying. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/18/us-apple-doj-idUSTRE71H4DU20110218 [reuters.com]
Lets see if users can still use Netflix and Kindle on the iDevices after June.

If this was about MS, all here would be screaming OMG DRM!! MUST UNLEASH AND MOD UP LONG TIRADES AGAINST MS!!!! like it happened in those Vista DRM non-stories.

But now since it's Apple, it's all roses and honey.

YOU must be new here if you havent' seen modded up long justifications everytime Apple acts out of greed.

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493602)

Apple? Do something architecturally inelegant for the sake of backwards compatibility? Are you sure that you aren't mixing up your Steves here?

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494062)

I guess you've never heard of Carbon, Rosetta, or the Mac 68K emulator? (Although admittedly that last one is non-Jobsy.) Apple has quite a history of subsystem ghettos.

<sarcasm>What this really means is that we can expect web apps to be phased out in two to three years.</sarcasm>

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494264)

True, but to be honest, most of those were fairly elegant.

Not anymore.... (3, Interesting)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493608)

>Why would it be about 30%, most web apps are free and 30% of zero is zero. Apple allow free apps in their store.

Not anymore if it involves any money exchanged between the user and the app provider. Now Apple is forcing (users of) subscription services like Amazon and Netflix to pay up 30%. ( an extra 43% to the user). It's curtains from June.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/19/AR2011021902399.html [washingtonpost.com]

Free app Readability already got banned for this.

http://blog.readability.com/2011/02/an-open-letter-to-apple/ [readability.com]

Free Sony e-reader app banned:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2011/02/apple_bans_sony_e-reader_app_a.html [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Not anymore.... (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493818)

>Why would it be about 30%, most web apps are free and 30% of zero is zero. Apple allow free apps in their store.

Not anymore if it involves any money exchanged between the user and the app provider. Now Apple is forcing (users of) subscription services like Amazon and Netflix to pay up 30%. ( an extra 43% to the user). It's curtains from June.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/19/AR2011021902399.html [washingtonpost.com]

Free app Readability already got banned for this.

http://blog.readability.com/2011/02/an-open-letter-to-apple/ [readability.com]

Free Sony e-reader app banned:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2011/02/apple_bans_sony_e-reader_app_a.html [washingtonpost.com]

We're not talking about these apps which were native apps and not web apps.

I'm just saying that most webapps are free and so it doesn't affect apples profits whether they're distributed as webapps or through the app store.

Remember, when the iPhone was launched web apps were the only way to get your app on the phone. The app store came later.

Re:Not anymore.... (1)

mystikkman (1487801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493864)

I think that was a counterpoint to this line:

Apple allow free apps in their store.

Readability was a free app before it was pulled with the new rules.

Anyway, Readability made a HTML5 app after they got rejected.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/09/readability-html5/ [techcrunch.com]

They can't be too happy with this news and might be thinking it is intentional to close the HTML5 loophole for subscription apps.

Re:Not anymore.... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494440)

Its not really free if they need a subscription.

Re:Not anymore.... (4, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494302)

We're not talking about these apps which were native apps and not web apps.

Yes, that's exactly what we are talking about. The whole point of the article is that if these services now want to be on the iPhone, etc without paying that cut to Apple they will need to create a web app, and when they attempt to integrate them seamlessly using Apple's recommended method, they will run more slowly for no apparent reason.

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (2)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493816)

Why would it be about 30%, most web apps are free and 30% of zero is zero. Apple allow free apps in their store.

It also cost $100 or so a year to be in the app store.

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (1)

hustlebird (908138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493842)

The end result is that it that harder for web apps.

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (4, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493922)

> Apple allow free apps in their store.

Apple still gets money for that. $99/year to host a free app. If you stop paying the $99/year, Apple removes the app from the store.

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494420)

Doesn't it cost $99 / year to host any number of free apps?

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (1)

Snocone (158524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494016)

"It's possible that this is either an oversight or that Apple deliberately kept the old JavaScript engine for web apps in case it broke functionality that the app was depending on."

No, it's a security thing. This was noted when people first found out about Nitro.

"apparently iOS 4.3 features JS JIT. did they lift restriction from the kernel that prevented mmap-ing rwx memory pages? hmm."

http://twitter.com/mraleph/status/43030240175468544

So in 4.3 they've lifted it for Safari.app and only Safari.app. Presumably they will lift it in future for at least web app bookmarks; UIWebView in general might be somewhat more problematic security-wise, but we shall see.

Re:It's a bit to soon to say for sure (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494228)

The big problem is with web apps that allow purchases or subscription services.

If you want to create an iOS app (even if the app is free) and it includes a subscription service or sells in-app items, Apple now wants a 30% cut of ANYTHING you buy from the device. Buy an online magazine subscription, or sign up for an MMORPG through your iPad? Apple wants 30% of the fees ONGOING. Want to buy eBooks through Amazon or Sony? 30% goes to them. I mean, come on, these days even the ultra-competitive brick and mortar stores like Walmart don't make THAT much of a margin. So I'm just SURE that policy is not going to increase prices and/or stifle competition with iBooks...

Anyone is free to create something like a eZine, etc. on their website and handle the subscription themselves, but once they want a native app, Apple gets their cut. So yes, it is in Apple's interest to make web apps less usable than regular apps (whether in speed or look and feel).

Who saw it coming.. (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493444)

After Jobs said in public Apple was committed to supporting HTML5?

Apple == 1990s Microsoft? (1, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493592)

>>>After Jobs said in public Apple was committed to supporting HTML5?

I'm not touching this.
Saying anything about Apple or Steve Jobs is a sure way to get modded -1.
(pops popcorn) I'll just watch.

Re:Apple == 1990s Microsoft? (1, Interesting)

mystikkman (1487801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494030)

You might have hit the nail on its head. http://blog.millermedeiros.com/2011/01/ipad-is-the-new-ie6/ [millermedeiros.com]

The only difference seems to be that MS didn't have sensitive fanboys armed with modpoints and blogs full of worship and long justifications for the shit that Apple pulls.

Surely, this is intentional. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493454)

Come on Slashdot, open the conspiracy theory floodgates! Clearly, Apple is deliberately screwing web application developers!

I smell troll bait (3, Insightful)

neosar82 (792049) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493460)

I'm sure this is a bug and not by design as the OP's argument doesn't make much sense. Most native app versions of services that also offer webapps are free anyways. Apple gets to eat the distribution overhead for no 30% cut. Just sayin.

Re:I smell troll bait (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493576)

RTFA.

It says (near the end) that the Apple mobile team has confirmed the issue and Apple engineers also said that it will not be fixed.

It doesn't matter whether the new behavior was introduced deliberately or not, the negative effects are there. And Apple is saying they won't be fixing it. Therefore the article is not a troll.

Re:I smell troll bait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493974)

RTFA.

It says (near the end) that the Apple mobile team has confirmed the issue and Apple engineers also said that it will not be fixed.

no it doesn't. it says more than once that they cannot reach apple yet or apple has not commented.
it does say the some guy said that apple engineers said it wouldn't be fixed.

Re:I smell troll bait (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493656)

> free anyways.

ANYWAY. Just the one. Not plural.

Re:I smell troll bait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494058)

Supposably its' plural, but their not always write.

Home screen bookmarks are defective in most iOS (1)

Downchuck (1333195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493462)

Bookmarks created on the home screen load much slower than those cached by mobile safari -- I've used applicationCache, and using mobile safari + bookmark is quicker in iOS 4 (prior to 4.3). It's likely intended to keep mobile safari and "apps" separate, should one crash (out of memory), it would not impact the other. But it seems to be poorly thought out / poorly engineered. It is frustrating that users who add to home page get a worse experience than users who add to bookmarks. Mobile safari itself could use some improvements there. Perhaps its own version of the home screen, in addition to the traditional bookmarks list.

Re:Home screen bookmarks are defective in most iOS (1)

Downchuck (1333195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493672)

"I've used applicationCache, and using mobile safari + bookmark is quicker in [all versions of] iOS 4 (prior to 4.3). " iOS Home Screen bookmarks were working poorly prior to 4.3. It's not a new phenomenon. Early on in iPhone development, it was more of a priority. applicationCache was rushed in to support it. It just seems that things haven't improved in home screen bookmarks and offline apps since iOS 3, that they're not as much of a priority. The faster JS engine is a big help to web apps. Hopefully, Apple will look into improving start-up times in future releases.

walled garden (0, Flamebait)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493474)

This is what you get in the walled garden. Just don't buy an ios device if that's not what you want. Duh.

Wrong way round? (1)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493484)

I have not RTFA but I think the summary got it the wrong way round: If apps are running slower when run from the home screen compared to Safari, this would be an advantage of web apps as opposed to native apps. So if the article makes any sense, apps should run slower in Safari.

Re:Wrong way round? (-1, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493548)

You are fucking stupid. RTFA.

Re:Wrong way round? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493890)

No, web apps can be installed so that they can be launched from the home screen. They're still basically webpages, they just have a shortcut icon. It's like dragging an internet bookmark shortcut to your Windows desktop. (This has nothing to do with actual native apps.)

If you have a bookmark to a website, say, Facebook, the Javascript on that webpage shouldn't run any faster or slower regardless of whether the bookmark was located on the desktop (opening your browser automatically) or in your browser's Favorites menu (which means you'd have to launch the browser separately).

Duh (-1, Redundant)

malakai (136531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493486)

It's Apple, do it their way or don't do it. Complaining to Slashdot about it just makes the majority of us roll our eyes.

Jobs calls this winning.

duh

Exactly the opposite? (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493504)

What? You can't install "web apps" on your home screen. Except for shortcuts that launch Safari, which would run with the newer, faster engine.

AFAIK those "native iOS app sold through the App Store, where Apple takes a 30 per cent of sales." are precisely those that get launched from the home screen, which will be slow when displaying an embedded "WebView".

Did I understand this the other way around or did the summary just twist facts about 540 degrees? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:Exactly the opposite? (1)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493660)

You can save a bookmark to a web page on your home screen. If that web page has a <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes"> then it launches in a full screen (no status bar) chromeless window without the safari interface.

Apparently it also runs slower if you do that.

Re:Exactly the opposite? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493914)

What? You can't install "web apps" on your home screen. Except for shortcuts that launch Safari

Yes, that's what we're talking about. Shortcuts that launch Safari.

which would run with the newer, faster engine.

Ah... well, you'd certainly think so. Except that the whole point of this article appears to be that that assumption is, in fact, incorrect.

Re:Exactly the opposite? (3, Interesting)

linuxci (3530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494090)

What? You can't install "web apps" on your home screen. Except for shortcuts that launch Safari

Yes, that's what we're talking about. Shortcuts that launch Safari.

which would run with the newer, faster engine.

Ah... well, you'd certainly think so. Except that the whole point of this article appears to be that that assumption is, in fact, incorrect.

If it's a shortcut on your homescreen then safari will open and the app will run at normal speed using the 4.3 Javascript engine.

If there's a special meta tag it will open full screen like a separate app, this is currently using the old 4.2 Javascript engine.

So basically - webapps with the meta tag will currently run the same speed as they did before the iOS upgrade, whereas web pages can use the new faster Javascript engine.

We'll see as time progresses whether this is intentional or not, but the fact is nothing is being slowed down it's just using a different javascript engine.

Two explanations... (4, Insightful)

dlsmith (993896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493514)

The article suggests two explanations:
  • Apple can't stand to "lose" money to Web-based apps that it wishes would be sold in the store, so it is going out of its way to cripple them.
  • Apple introduced some new features in the latest Safari version, and didn't manage to get around to integrating those improvements into its web-based app launcher yet.

Given that Web-based apps are typically free, I'm a bit skeptical about #1. But guess which explanation made the headline?

Re:Two explanations... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493796)

"Given that Web-based apps are typically free, I'm a bit skeptical about #1"

Why? Isn't part of the culture of the iOS devices to push dependency on Apple and away from the web? This mass behavior modification seems reinforced by this, as well as reflected by the indifference in your comments.

Come to Apple, our free app is better than the web app. This is mere continuation of the garden theme, even if it isn't walled or the walls aren't that high.

Also, just because you don't care doesn't mean we shouldn't. Just because this is likely not malicious doesn't mean people won' t end using it or the results to that end now or in the future. After all, people still like cars with two main headlights instead of an optional center light, don't they?

Re:Two explanations... (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493892)

Its more about control than money.

Web-based apps == less control for Steve == bad for Apple

Re:Two explanations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494414)

Its more about control than money.

Web-based apps == less control for Steve == bad for Apple

Citation needed. Other paranoid lunatics ranting in blogs don't count.

Apple tends to make product decisions that reduce user choice, but make the product better for casual users. Slower web apps are not better for casual users, so this does not fit the pattern.

Here is a less insane theory: Safari has been improved in some way that makes it faster, but the browser library that runs apps from the home screen was not updated yet.

Re:Two explanations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494008)

The article suggests two explanations:

  • Apple can't stand to "lose" money to Web-based apps that it wishes would be sold in the store, so it is going out of its way to cripple them.
  • Apple introduced some new features in the latest Safari version, and didn't manage to get around to integrating those improvements into its web-based app launcher yet.

Given that Web-based apps are typically free, I'm a bit skeptical about #1. But guess which explanation made the headline?

If I'm not mistaken, aren't web-based apps just Safari shortcuts to plain ol' Javascript-and-HTML5 websites (if that)? If so, that also means they're not paying Apple the $99/year for a dev license and don't need a Mac to develop the apps.

Okay, sure, $99/year from a dev and a MacBook every couple years or so probably isn't much to Apple, but giving developers the ability to make apps "for the iPhone" (even if it's just a web app) without going through the App Store or paying Apple anything (no matter how much it makes from microtransactions, etc) is most likely not what Apple wants to happen. Worse if said web app works nicely on, for instance, Android, WP7, Blackberry, etc, and removes vendor lock-in for both users AND developers.

Re:Two explanations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494012)

You forgot possible explanation 3: make cross-platform webapps perform slower and leave a bad impression upon users to diminish webapps' market share. Basically Apple is saying to webapp developers "Port your apps to IOS and have them run faster, or you'll lose Apple customers when your competitor comes out with a native app that does the same thing as yours. It's all about driving developers to Apple's platform and away from others.

Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493570)

... buy an Android... :)

Extremely deceptive article! The cause... (5, Informative)

GFLPraxis (745118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493590)

The cause of this has been discovered already; it's a software bug. iOS 4.3 has a new JavaScript engine. Websites launched from the home screen seem to be reverting to and using the old JavaScript engine from iOS 4.2. The article makes it sound like a conspiracy. I'm sure it'll be patched soon; I can think of no obvious reason to do this but give the same apps full speed if bookmarked within the web browser.

Re:Extremely deceptive article! The cause... (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494180)

The cause of this has been discovered already; it's a software bug. iOS 4.3 has a new JavaScript engine. Websites launched from the home screen seem to be reverting to and using the old JavaScript engine from iOS 4.2.

And as a software professional that would have been my first guess, "Sounds like a bug to me"

The article makes it sound like a conspiracy. I'm sure it'll be patched soon; I can think of no obvious reason to do this but give the same apps full speed if bookmarked within the web browser.

It would appear that the anything iOS related brings out the tinfoil hat crowd. Time to up the meds guys.

Re:Extremely deceptive article! The cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494240)

I hope you're right, but from the article:

"This developer reiterates that if Apple didn't specifically introduce these problems in iOS, it's aware of them now. And he says that the Mobile Safari team has indicated the issues will not be fixed."

Sensationalist Link Bait (5, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493604)

From TFA:

It's unclear whether these are accidental bugs or issues consciously introduced by Apple.

So, they have no idea whether or not it's actually malicious, but they've decided to run with the story using an inflammatory headline anyway.

According to Apple developers posting to the web, the speed issue has been discussed in the company's developer support forums, and one developer – the same unnamed developer quoted above – confirms with The Reg that multiple bugs have been filed on the issue.

Developers are using proper channels to report what's most likely a bug and this is most likely a non-story as of the next minor update, but they've still decided to run with it anyway.

Apple isn't degrading the speed of home screen web apps. It's boosting the speed of web apps in the browser. But in the long run, the effect is the same. And if this is a bug, Apple has yet to fix it.

So, in fact, Apple hasn't intentionally hobbled anything, it's just that they haven't sped them up, possibly due to a bug, yet they're still going to run this story.

This developer reiterates that if Apple didn't specifically introduce these problems in iOS, it's aware of them now. And he says that the Mobile Safari team has indicated the issues will not be fixed.

You'd think that such damning evidence would be posted, but it isn't. Complete hearsay, but they've decided to run the story, inflammatory headline and all, regardless.

Re:Sensationalist Link Bait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493770)

You must be new here.

Re:Sensationalist Link Bait (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493794)

Your post is so far down the slashdot page that few people will be distracted from their rants against the imagined Apple monopolistic conspiracy.

Let the mindless flames continue!

Re:Sensationalist Link Bait (0)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493968)

Lets assume you're right, then what's your take on this: http://blog.millermedeiros.com/2011/01/ipad-is-the-new-ie6/ [millermedeiros.com]

I don't know, it's kind of too similar to MS dragging its feet after it won the browser wars with IE6, leaving things unfixed and broken while Office went through a few revisions and great sales.

Re:Sensationalist Link Bait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493992)

All you really needed to say was "this article is from The Register." It's flamebait by definition.

Why Nitro doesn't get used with a WebView... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493686)

Why is it that whenever Apple does anything that has a negative consequence, people assume it's part of some evil plan for world domination. While they might be crippling things deliberately, there is a simpler explanation that doesn't need quite so much hyperbole.

Nitro is a JIT. As a JIT, it builds machine code on the fly and executes it. In the iOS security model, that's considered “uncool”, and regular apps aren't allowed to do it. (That's why if you write code using C# with Monotouch, it compiles it down to actual ARM code rather than using a JIT.)

Apple appears to have hacked their security model for Safari, allowing it to break their rules. They've done that kind of thing for a long time —the iPod app could play music in the background long before other apps could, for example. It may very well be that at some point in the future, regular apps with have access to the Nitro JIT too, but for that to happen, Apple has to work out some better way to allow it than their current method of “if it's Safari, it's okay”. Hopefully they'll have some incentive, because if any app needs a good security model actually in place, it ought to be the web browser.

Re:Why Nitro doesn't get used with a WebView... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494222)

Regular apps can do JIT. I happen to know some on the app store which do (or generate and execute code on the fly, same difference). The limit is in the app-store guidelines, not in hardware (or software). No security model hacking needed. Background was similar, but Apple had a private API for it and rejected any app that used it.

Android. (1)

jbeach (852844) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493692)

I am so much happier with my Droid X than I ever was with my iPhone. And the Droid still needs bugs worked out in it. But it just isn't putting me into an ecosystem with a situation like that.

Apple users think they are smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493696)

You are wrong.

Looks to be just a bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493704)

Chronic (namesake of the Chronic Dev Team jailbreak group) tweeted:
'explanation for the "issue" of Nitro not working in full screen web apps: just a bug, Apple forgot to give Web.app a certain entitlement.'

So, looks like a permissions bug.

Re:Looks to be just a bug (1)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493938)

Chronic is not capable of saying that.

How does Chronic know that Apple forgot?

Not very surprising. (1)

unil_1005 (1790334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493896)

iPhone, iPad, iAnything are purely sales platforms for Apple.
Don't expect Jobs to be in a hurry to fix this -- he doesn't think it's broken.

Standard Apple Operating Procedure (0)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493912)

Is anyone surprised? This is what happens when you decide to use a closed system.

The customer always pays. Apple forces apps into the app store so Apple can get their 30%. The devs pass that cost on to the customer.

Add in a higher than average up front cost for the device. iOS users need to speak out on this. Stop paying more for less!

Re:Standard Apple Operating Procedure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494138)

Um, the effect is the functional equivalent of running a web page fullscreen (e.g. F11 in Opera). No "closed system" involved? There is no "force apps into the app store" other than in the mind of the paranoid. But in this case they apparently use the old Javascript engine instead of the new one when launched in such a manner. Is all your software bug-free?

Re:Standard Apple Operating Procedure (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494416)

Add in a higher than average up front cost for the device. iOS users need to speak out on this. Stop paying more for less!

If iOS users were interested in freedom (either as in beer or as in speech), they wouldn't be iOS users in the first place. They have iPhones and iPads because they like the product and/or because it's fashionable in their peer group. Big deal. And if you don't like the product, there's a workaround: buy something else.

That's not intended to be a defense of Apple. I don't like their products or their business model. But despite the hype, they're not going to drive all the alternatives out of business. This is especially true in the phone market, which is so fragmented that being the biggest player there is like being the fattest kid in an elementary school, but it's also true of the personal computer market. Steve Jobs' delusions of grandeur may lead him to believe that he's taking over the world, but his narcissistic giggles can be safely ignored. There are more choices for users now than there were before the days of the Microsoft monopoly.

The short version? "Don't feed the trolls" applies to bored Slashdot editors as much as it does to commenters.

Proofreading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494050)

The end result is that it that harder for web apps to compete with native iOS app sold through the App Store

Anyone else not understand this?

game played before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494188)

this is a game that have been played before but with other dealers

Misleading: Not handcuffed, just not upgraded. (2)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494230)

They didn't cripple, handcuff, or kneecap anything.

They just didn't UPGRADE the web-app-run Safari to the new Javascript engine.

web-app-run websites will run at the same speed as in 4.2, they just won't run FASTER, as a 'Safari-run' website would.

Still not great, but not what people are calling it out as.

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