New iPad bloat could push average web page size to 5 MB

New Apple iPadDid you look at your website on the new iPad yet? We have browsed quite a few sites already on that gorgeous 2048 by 1536 pixel display, and we can categorically state that the future has arrived.

But whether that future is all bright remains to be seen.

Early signs seem to indicate that we’ll have to endure more bloat, with the possibility that the average size of a web page balloons to almost 5 MB from the 1.1 MB average today.

It will “wreak havoc on the web”

Brad Frost claimed that the new iPad will “wreak havoc on the web” in a recent blog post. It will do so because graphics have to be updated in order to really shine on the new display.

To take full advantage of all those pixels – four times as many as on the previous iPads – app developers as well as web designers will have to pack more pixels into the graphics used in apps and web pages.

But we’re not really talking about apps, for which Apple has already raised the over-the-air download limit to 50 MB; we’re talking about web pages.

Apparently Apple has already started to dish out graphics with twice the resolution to anyone browsing in to using the new iPad. Jason Grigsby did some testing and found that the total size of the page increases from 502 kB to 2.13 MB when the retina version of images are loaded.

That’s an increase of a whopping 324%!

With the bloat we are already suffering from, we wonder if this is precious bandwidth resources well spent.

Looking at the 1,000 most recent tests with the Pingdom Full Page Test Tool, the average page size is 1.1 MB, which is actually a pretty good size for a web page.

With the same percentage growth as for per Jason Grigsby’s test, the average size of a web page would then be 4.7 MB.

Yikes – the average web page could be almost 5 MB!

Not a big problem… yet

This is a bit like looking for Smart TVs in the access logs: there may not be much there yet, but we bet it’s coming.

On Facebook, some Pingdom fans suggested that they’d start converting graphics only when 2-3% of visitors to their sites use the new iPad.

Ad network Chitika has stated that the new iPad on March 30 already accounted for 5.52% of all iPad traffic. What Chitika forgets or ignores to mention is, what slice of the overall traffic is iPad. We noted in November last year that iPad accounted for 88% of all worldwide tablet web traffic.

Now, will you run out and get yourself a new iPad (if you haven’t already)?


  1. I wonder if the real goal of the retina display isn’t to drive more iPad users toward iPad editions of magazines and other apps. To put it another way, why wouldn’t Apple prefer that its tablet users get content from Apple than from the open Web?

  2. I bet they said this when moving away from Atari graphics…  how about lets embrace technology and move forward vs. fearing for the future.   I for one applaud a bit more graphics..  technology will quickly catch up.

  3. Like it or not, retina is the future. It won’t be long till the first retina desktop and laptop displays are available and in a few years it will be the norm. Might as well get prepared!

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