back to article Apple iOS 5 gets web 3D...for ads only

Apple's iOS 5 mobile operating system will include support for WebGL, the emerging standard building hardware-accelerated 3D graphics with JavaScript. But WebGL will only be available to developers building iPhone and iPad advertisements via the company's iAd platform. Apple man Chris Marrin recently revealed this news on the …


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  1. NoneSuch

    Apple is...

    Mini-me to Google's Dr. Evil...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Seems obvious... security!

    WebGL is a bit of a security liability. It's not hard to write something in WebGL that will leave a device unresponsive or crash it. There was an advisory about this not long ago, and I've seen examples that kill a box when running chrome. Put that on a mobile, where it's going to leave the device in a locked-up, battery draining, possibly even battery exploding state... that's not really wise is it?

    Clearly the technology is in there, and since Apple will be vetting iAds that's one place where it's safe to use it. Wonder if it'll be available to app developers too then? And how long will it take to get WebGL to a slightly safer state?

    1. Steven Knox

      Or more obviously: Money

      By only allowing it in iAds, Apple provides a differentiator that they can use to get more advertisers to buy into their platform.

      As for a malicious app that would lock a mobile device and pemanently drain the battery, that's nonsense. Any sane user, upon having their device lock up, would simply hold down the standard, internationally recognized power button... oh, wait, iPhone doesn't have one of those. Well, then you could just remove the battery... oh, wait, can't do that on an iPhone. You could, of course keep these directions handy: But I suppose that's too technical for fanbois. So we'd better keep the technology out of their hands until it can be fully sanitized.

      Or maybe like I said before, Apple is just trying to drum up iAd sales.

      At any rate, I'm more interested in how Apple makes it available through iAds and not elsewhere. Is there a verification server, a cached whitelist, or is it something as simple as sniffing an element or attribute?

      My guess is it's something that can be fudged, and someone will do so within a day or two of release.

      1. Robert Synnott

        RE: Steven Knox

        iAds don't exist in the browser. They show up in apps only, and have to be approved pre-deployment. It's highly unlikely that bad WebGL would screw up a device sufficiently that a hard reset would be needed (I don't remember ever having to hard reset an iPhone, though older iPods required it periodically), but it's entirely possible that they're unclear about the security of their WebGL renderer for now. There have been proof of concepts demonstrating the ability to do very nasty things with WebGL (generally due to flawed, or at least overly-trusting, graphics drivers.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Ummm my iPhone has a power button...

        <Fail>Any sane user, upon having their device lock up, would simply hold down the standard, internationally recognized power button</Fail>

        Used an iPhone? Ever? Really? Suuuuuuuure.... then you'd know that there is a power button on the top... just like on the iPad and iPod (touch, nano, but not classic), that you can use to turn it off. In fact I've used mine very successfully on a number of occasions. Sure its not a "big red" power off button, but I think you'll find that most devices don't have those now... nope just checked my 2 laptops - different non-standard power buttons on those. Oh wait, yeah my xbox one is green, the wii is yellow and the PS3 one is black. Yep nice and standard there too....

        Get a grip and whine about things that dont show you up to be anti-<insert company name here>. **sigh**

  3. Ayelis

    Great! So...

    On 10% of browsers, advertisements will crash your homepage. We're one step closer to an ad-free internet! The next step? Make it 100% of browsers, and deprecate the SMTP protocol.

  4. Levente Szileszky

    A gimmick...

    ...nothing else. If this is how Apple wants to drum up their nonexisting iAd revenues then they are banking on the stupidest advertisers only, I think.

    As a side note I think Apple has no clue about mobile ad business - they have learned this the hard way during the past year: after big introduction last year it didn't get a single mention at WWDC so it's obviously a huge flop (Steve "Freedom from Porn" Jobs never admits errors.)

    Moreover I don't think they actually like his ad-based ecosystem at all - it eats into their super-profitable wallet garden App Store sales. Witness this as new Mail was introduced with "No ads" as a feature and even the Puritan-In-Chief proudly reaffirmed their anti-ad stance:

    “No ads,” he boasted. “We build products that we want for ourselves, too, and we just don’t want ads.”

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I have a free app in the store, uses both iAd and adMob. iAd brings in more money, even with a lower fill rate (which makes the customers happy)

      The "No ads" policy on Apple's services is just a reflection of how they've always worked. Have you ever seen them advertising for others on their machines? Crappy trialware? Stickers? Nope.

  5. Robert Heffernan


    I doubt Apple will open WebGL up for general use. It will open iOS up to apps and games that aren't controlled and taxed by the App Store.

    iAds generates revenue for Apple, so they get access to the 3D hardware while everyone else who hasn't paid the 30% tax do not.

    As for the potential security issues surrounding WebGL, it honestly is a load of crap. Any API exposed by a browser should be hardened against abuse and malfunction by being inside the browsers security system. For example, the WebGL API calls should be checked then passed on to the OS native 3D system, not blindly handed off. It is a browser, it's expected to be secure before fast.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WebGL - A New Dimension for Browser Exploitation

      Recommended reading before spouting off nonsense:

      1. Adam T

        Point taken

        Security's an issue, but there's no avoiding the convenience for restricting functionality.

  6. Adam T


    I'll warrant it has less to do with security, and more to do with cannibalisation of App Store sales.

    With Facebook expected to kick off it's own app store for iOS, using web apps, Apple will be all to aware that they can't control every possible ecosystem, so they'll do everything they can to reduce the flexibility of web-based apps and games.

  7. Tom 35 Silver badge

    They need this

    So they can compete with Flash ads on other systems...

  8. Lamont Cranston

    3D iAds?

    That'll be way less annoying than Flash pop-ups.

    1. Levente Szileszky

      RE: iAds?


      OTOH all mobile browser I have tested on my Xperia had popup-blockers enabled by default.

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