Google, Apple differ over app models


Two of America’s biggest tech titans are having a spat over how to evolve the multitude of apps that we use on a regular basis.


New reports from CNET show that while Google is investing in the practice of building progressive web apps, Apple prefers a native app approach, and is limiting some kinds of web-based innovation techniques on its Safari operating systems.


“Apple requires (iPhone and iPad) browsers to use Safari’s foundation, called WebKit,” writes Stephen Shankland. “Chrome for iPhone is more Apple’s browser than Google’s, so a PWA technology Google builds into Chrome for Android, Windows and MacOS won’t necessarily show up in Chrome on an iPhone.”


Shankland talks about the build of Google’s own Chrome operating system, and how cross-platform users can encounter some roadblocks around trying to combine Google’s approach with the iPhone system.


What seems to be at issue is the idea of web-based development – should engineers build applications within a native operating system, or build them to provide services directly over the web?


One key concern from Apple’s side is a lack of control over app quality – the web-delivered design principle seems likely to usher in a host of malware masquerading as useful applications.


To Google’s point, though, progressive web apps can widen playing field and make it easier to innovate.


Then there’s the cross-platform consideration.


“PWA allows (sic) to save time and money, since it is developed only once, while a native application requires two separate developments: one for iOS , the other for Android,” writes an anonymous author at Medium, before concluding that native app design is ultimately superior. “For the comfort of your visitors, we recommend the choice of a native application. In addition, in terms of accessibility and ownership by all types of audiences — young people, visitors with disabilities, elderly …-, native application proves a more satisfactory tool than PWA.”


We’ll see how these two approaches stack up as both Google and Apple prepare to continue legislative hearings into anti-trust concerns. Stay tuned.