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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 03/18/2011

Apple says browser study is flawed

Apple spoke out about the Blaze Software study released yesterday claiming that Android’s Chrome was over 50 percent faster than iOS Safari when it came to mobile browsing.

“They didn't actually test the Safari Web browser on the iPhone," said Apple spokeswoman Tracy Muller in a statement to The Register. “Instead, they only tested their own proprietary app which uses an embedded Web viewer.”

The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple and others started questioning the study early, saying that the study’s methodology was flawed, since the study used embedded browsers — Android’s WebView and Apple’s UIWebView — instead of the mobile browsers Chrome and Safari.

"The embedded Web viewer does not take advantage of Safari's Web performance optimizations,” Muller said.

And why wouldn’t UIWebView have the same features as mobile Safari? Daring Fireball’s John Gruber says it’s a matter of security. “Web apps that are saved to the home screen do not run within Mobile Safari. They’re effectively saved as discrete apps — thin wrappers around the UIWebView control,” he wrote. “Home screen apps may ... eventually get access to the Nitro JavaScript engine — Apple simply hasn’t yet done (or perhaps finished?) the security work to allow it. It is not an oversight or a bug, or the result of a single person at Apple wishing to hinder the performance of web apps.”

That last sentence is in reference to a Tuesday Register report that pointed out the differences between Safari and UIWebView titled, “Apple handcuffs 'open' web apps on iPhone home screen.” That report raised speculations of an Apple conspiracy against non-native apps. Gruber said the speed difference is because Safari got faster, not because home screen apps are being slowed down.

Blaze issued a response to Apple’s comments and criticisms about its study Thursday. “To perform the measurements, we made use of purposefully written apps that used each platform’s Embedded Browser (as stated in the initial report),” the company wrote, stating that embedded browsers “are expected to behave, for the most part, the same as the regular browser.”

The firm says that, to the best of its knowledge, Apple had never stated the discrepancy between the UIWebView and Safari before.

Related stories:

Study races mobile Chrome and Safari browsers

IE, Safari, iPhone, BlackBerry fall at Pwn2Own; Chrome, Firefox, Android, Windows Phone 7 escape

Android passes iPhone among new shoppers for first time

By  |  12:35 PM ET, 03/18/2011

Tags:  Apple, Google, Mobile

 
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