Google Chrome employee says Apple browsers are holding things back

Google Chrome employee says Apple browsers are holding things back


At least one software engineer from the Google Chrome team is would have completely unimpressed with the Apple owned Safari browser and the whole platform. In fact, the software engineer in question, Alex Russell, recently called the competing platform, rather than Safari, “uniquely underpowered” in an interview with Rarely.

According to Russell, Apple is “systematically” delaying new features not just for WebKit and Safari. But also for all iOS browsers. And he places the blame firmly on Apple. Plus, these browser features are “essential” for unlocking modern experiences with the web.

Perhaps more importantly, the engineer notes that Apple appears to be doing this in an effort to ensure there is no alternative to its own tools. Namely, so that the Web cannot be an alternative to its proprietary tools and to the App Store.

How has browser category retention on Apple products impacted end users compared to Chrome?

The Googler’s statements, of course, come in response to Apple’s claim that developers who aren’t happy with its App Store policies have other options. The company pointing to the Web as an alternative, in response to a fight between him and game developer Epic. But, as the Google collaborator notes, the browser – and indeed all browsers – on the operating system built by Apple is clearly behind schedule.

Now, Mr. Russell is noting several key features that put the platform behind. And the contrasts, compared to Chrome, are remarkable. For example, Apple does not support push notifications, PWA installer interface components, background sync, etc. Apple also limits access to hardware, from Bluetooth to NFC and USB, making controller support in games, for example, impossible.

In addition, Apple does not support the AV1 standard, with Apple favoring HEVC standards for which it earns a royalty.

Are there direct examples of the claimed delay?

Mr. Russell refers more specifically, however, to Stadia and other games, including cloud games. Apple has roughly fallen behind in adding gamepad API support, preventing further app developers like Epic to move to the web instead of the App Store. And directly refuting Apple’s argument that disgruntled developers can just switch to this platform instead. According to Russell, these APIs have been available everywhere else for years.

Apple should have implemented these features and APIs in a more “timely” way alongside all other platforms, concludes the engineer. If they had, cloud gaming services could have been launched years earlier.

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