Is Apple Intentionally Handicapping Web Apps?


Whether you love them or hate them, no one can deny the success Apple has had with its iOS devices and the App Store. Although they are selling these products in record numbers, many still refuse to buy in due to multiple factors. The omission of Flash support, a technology used in many popular websites, is the first one that comes to mind.

But it doesn’t stop there. Apple has also been attacked on its strict App Store policies, such as, denying applications for odd and unclear reasons. In fact, their unyielding control over their ecosystem is what leads many people to jailbreak

It looks like Apple is at it again. According to The Next Web, Apple might be limiting the speeds of web-based applications in their latest version of iOS 4.3. Developers are reporting that web apps, launched from an iDevice home screen, load much slower than when opened within Safari.

Web-based applications get a fair amount of love from Apple. The new AirPlay enhancement in iOS 4.3 allows them to stream audio and video content to an Apple TV. A web app can also be bookmarked and saved as an icon on an iOS home screen, making it look like a normal application. (iDB even has its own nifty little web app.)

With web apps loading significantly slower when launched from a home screen icon, it’s apparent Apple’s kindness is running out. These apps are showing no signs of the new Nitro Javascript engine we keep hearing about.

Why would Steve Jobs and company want people to think web apps are lower in quality than apps from their App Store? If you think about it, it’s pretty obvious. The more downloads and purchases that run through iTunes and the App Store means more revenue for the Cupertino giant.

Apple has declined to comment on the matter, but a casual stroll through their user forums will show this is a very real issue.

Will Apple fix this? Or are they one step closer to totalitarian rule over their products?