Sunday, March 13, 2011

Apple Limits iOS 4.3 Nitro Javascript Performance

It was one of the most expected features for Apple's iOS 4.3 update: the new and improved Nitro javascript engine that would make Safari faster than ever. And indeed it was. Never before did the iPhone and iPad zoomed across javascript intensive sites as fast as it does now.

What is harder to understand tough, is why such improved performance doesn't happen in every single web page visit. Or better yet, why it only does when we're using the Safari App itself?

Someone decided to put the iPhone javascript performance to the test, and using this page you can see it for yourself run this test inside safari and then compare it to the results you get if you run it fullscreen via homescreen shortcut, or inside any other app that offers a browser view, like one of the many twitter apps.

Whenever you're not running the benchmark in Safari itself, you get much worse performance, more than twice as slow!

I sincerely hope this is just a bug that will soon be fixed by Apple, as I can't really imagine Apple would pull such a move in order to artificially degrade user experience and make WebApps perform worse than they could.

They can't even argue this is due to 3rd party developers not properly implementing their webviews, as the same low performance issue also happens when you use nothing but Apple's tools - such as adding a webpage to your homescreen for a fullscreen "webapp" experience. Yes, it gets slow javascript as well...

C'mon Apple... Are you really trying to pull this kind of stuff to hinder WebApp development?
Let's hope Apple will clarify this situation as soon as possible and explain why this is happening.

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