A recent test of app data consumption suggests that using a mobile app rather than a browser to view the same content has vastly different bandwidth consumption implications.
The test compared PC and tablet web browsers to view the Wall Street Journal home page, with an iPad Wall Street Journal app to reach the same home page.
The data consumed using the Web browser on the iPad and on a PC to access the WSJ home page was similar, both averaging around 2.2 megabytes in total consumption (sent and received). The same test was run accessing the The Weather Channel site, which revealed similar results (around .9MB in total consumption).
Although the iPad Web browser consumed slightly more data than the PC web browser for TWC, the difference was not enough to warrant further investigation, says Greg Wolf, a principal with NetForecast who conducted the test.However, using the iPad apps to read the WSJ and TWC tells is a very different story.
The WSJ on average consumed 47MB of data when downloading a daily issue, while TWC consumed on average 7MB just to display the main menu.
In other words, the WSJ iPad app consumed 21 times more data than accessing the WSJ homepage using a Web browser, and the TWC app consumed over 7 times more data than accessing the TWC main menu using a Web browser.
Putting aside the obvious fact that the experience of using a native iPad app is designed to deliver a richer, multimedia experience, the point here is that this experience comes at a price. App data consumption much higher than web sessions