Chrome for iOS Tops The Download Charts, but is Intentionally Handicapped by Apple

Maximum PC Staff

Browser options on Apple’s iOS platform are pretty grim, however one bit of defense Apple will no longer be able to use is a lack of demand. Chrome for iOS was released last week at Google IO, and since then it has shot like a rocket to the top of the app charts . The UI for iOS Chrome emulates pretty closely what we’ve seen over on Android, however it does have a few significant, and disheartening differences.

Apple has been approving alternate browsers for ages now, but what they don’t do is allow users to set them as the system default, or even use their own JavaScript engines. What iOS users are getting here is little more than a new UI wrapper for Mobile Safari, and an inferior version at that. Third party applications are limited to using UIWebView, which means the updated Nitro JavaScript engine that was released in the previous version of iOS is disabled. This puts Chrome at a significant disadvantage to mobile Safari when it comes to SunSpider benchmarks, making it difficult to recommend.

What Chrome for iOS does give users however is an arguably superior UI, along with the ability to sync tabs, pages, and history across all your desktop and mobile devices. Based on the popularity of the app it appears as though these features are enough to garner a ton of interest, however we can’t help but wonder just how many people know what they are giving up in exchange. To make things even more confusing the first two words of the app’s description is “browse fast”. Not as fast as Safari it would seem; Apple has seen to that.

Benchmarks - Third Generation iPad

iOS Chrome: 7200.1ms

iOS Safari: 1704.8ms

Safari = 4.22x as fast

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