Apple, HTML5 and the ‘Open’ Web…

So it was quite a night for Apple yesterday with the iPhone 4.0 OS reveal, lots of changes and good news for us iPhone owners. But I’m here to talk about HTML5 (Tenuous link), and how Apple are influencing it’s progress and ultimate adoption on the web.

Apple have been pushing HTML5 (One of the few companies on the planet that can openly shun Flash and the web follows):

  • Apple came up with the CANVAS and CSS Transforms.
  • They gave up Webkit and it’s (just) announced successor Webkit2.
  • They openly and very publically blocked flash on both the iPhone and iPad encouraging people to use HTML5 (Vimeo, Google, NYT, and many others quickly offered HTML5 versions of their content).
  • The addition yesterday of iAds shows all the cool functionality that can be had from 5.

But while Apple are a proponent of these great technologies, they have also shut their platform down jut a little more, see the new developer terms under section 3.3.1:

Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

If you are Apple, you could argue this is a good thing, completely native code, written from the ground up, no cross-porting, and at the end of the day, we are speaking about Apple here, who traditionally do whatever they want.

The key point here, is that although Apple now has a 63% (US) share of the mobile browser market, and this is surely set to increase with the uptake of the iPad, they really have some clout as to what goes on in the web. The thing is, the web is supposed to be an open platform with many people / entities contributing, refining, updating.

It’s a strange web we weave when a single company can practically change the web over night.

I love what Apple do, their products, brand and general image. Let’s hope things don’t get to closed.


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