March 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM ET
Recently a Canadian firm put out a study claiming that — on average — the Android Chrome browser is 52 percent faster than the iOS Safari browser. But now Apple is shouting that the testing was seriously flawed and that its iPhone browser isn't so slow.
“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.”
What this means is that Blaze Software — the company behind the tests — wasn't able to take advantage of the "performance optimizations" offered through the actual iOS Safari browser. This is due to how some developers have their apps open up websites. Instead of switching over to Safari when a user hits a link, some developers want to open up sites within their own app. This means that they're stuck using the embedded Web viewer — which is a slightly different component than the actual Safari app.
The revelation that the embedded Web viewer used by proprietary apps is not able to take advantage of the same performance optimizations as the iOS Safari browser raised quite a few eyebrows, but according to Daring Fireball's John Gruber, there may be a good explanation for this discrepancy: Security.
Plain English translation: Apple is not crippling apps which use the Web viewer, it's just keeping us safer.