The iPad represents a great opportunity for HTML5, with manylarge web properties already shifting gears to ensure that theytake advantage of the platform. The iPad as a web consumer is allabout modern, open standards that empower and enrich the userexperience. It has one of the best mobile web experiencesgoing.
This is expected, really, as Apple’s very existence hinged uponan open standards web. There was a dangerous period in the late 90swhen the web almost got Windowsified — look to South Korea as anexample of this happening — and if that came to fruition Applewould have been dead in the water. Thankfully a few who saw pastshort term interests rallied around keeping the ecosystem open forinnovative companies like Apple to thrive.
yafla is finally going to be born into a remarkable webapplication that exploits the rich functionality of the iPad andiPhone’s web platform, along with Android, the Blackberry webkitbrowser, and virtually any other modern HTML 5 consumer, from bigto small. I’m putting my actions where my mouth has been (thisincludes architecturally on the back-end, with decisions that Iwill document and explain along the way).
The arguably proprietary Flash platform has rough times ahead.While the actual numbers of iPhone and iPad users combinedrepresent a small percentage of the web consumer ecosystem, itoccupies a disproportionately large area of the mindspace.
Boo for the iPad! It bring us back to the obsolete era ofwalled gardens
While the iPad supports HTML5, that isn’t the primary focus ofcontent providers: The vast majority of them are rolling outsolutions that target the walled garden of the iPad. Video content,books, magazines, or newspapers, you’re entering the land ofmade-for-the-iPlatform solutions that nothing to do with the modernweb.
And of course it isn’t just big media. Many web sites — likeEngadget, Digg, and so on — are rolling out apps for the platformas quickly as they can. In most cases those apps do nothing thatcan’t be done as well or better as simple web apps, but such is thereturn-to-mistakes-of-the-past era that we’re in. In the casesmentioned they also built Android apps (others, including Big Banks, are far more myopic about this), but there’s stillthe question of why they built anything platform specific at all,beyond the obvious explanation that they’re hoping on thebandwagon.
Everything old is new again.
John Gruber argues that the iPadrepresents a more, open and innovative ecosystem than with theAtari 2600 circa 1978. Hard to argue with that. But what about the32 years in between, John?
It’s a clear sign that there’s something seriously wrong whenyou have to base your comparison on an early home game machine fromthree decades ago.
For the past 20 years we’ve had a computing market where anyoneand everyone could build applications for the vast majority ofdevices. Since the incarnation of the web, those creators have hadthe ability to have just as much presence as makes like EA. Thereis nothing new there. The only “advantage” that the iPhone cum iPadoffers the little guy is that the market was so nascent and novelthat a million made-on-a-weekend apps could sell thousands. Thatearly ease is quickly disappearing, and the natural size advantageof shops like EA is coming to fruition. Small-shop, single-trickapps are going to very quickly get crowded into an unlitcorner.
The Apple app model is horribly, horribly broken, though theyhave enough goodwill, and still get by with many deluded intothinking that they’re the underdog little company, that they’ll beable to float with it for a while longer while apologists continueto present their questionable defense. The iPhone and now the iPadare not simple game machines (whether from 2010 or 1978) —comparisons with the Atari 2600 or even the Xbox 360 are highlydeluded — but represent a serious movement into the domain ofgeneral computing, and against that they should be compared. Prettyremarkable how Apple has managed to retroactively turn Microsoftinto the good guys.
The Apple web model is brilliant, with it representing afantastic web appliance of the best kind.
Let’s just hope the web survives through this, and there isn’t arush from open standards to the opposite-of-open-standards walledgarden.