iOS 4.2 features: Improved Safari web browser

Apple.com HTML5 Showcase

While AirPrint and AirPlay integration, and Find in Page are the big user-facing features new to iOS 4.2 Safari, MobileXWeb points out that Apple also snuck in a few improvements under the hood:

  • Accelerometer & Gyroscope support through the DeviceOrientation API
  • WebSockets API from HTML5
  • Updated HTML 5 Form Support
  • Partial XHR-2 Support
  • New JavaScript data types
  • New DOM events
  • Enhanced SVG and Canvas support

If you are a developer let us know how useful these additions will be to your Web Apps. If you're not a developer that might look like mumbo jumbo to you but rest assured it means more better web applications could be coming your way soon, and since Apple uses Safari's WebKit to render everything from iTunes to App Store or iAd to Apple.com, and Google uses it Gmail and pretty much all their sites, there's potential for a lot more, lot better content coming our way.

Video after the break!

[MobileXWeb]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iOS 4.2 features: Improved Safari web browser

18 Comments

Is this a big deal?
I only ask because it seems like the iOS experience has been "Appified" by Apple...For example, there's a Youtube app, no one goes to Youtube.com on iPhone....they just use the App.
So since this "Appification" of the web. Does this have substantial tangible results for end users?
Thanks. :)

No disrespect, but us there a focus on your camera by chance? It looks like these under the hood features are for newer devices, or a few 32 gig iPod touch 3rd gen. I have not really noticed anything on a touch 2gen 16gig. If it was not so close to an iPad 2, I would upgrade to a 4th generation touch.

@ohfer actually, I prefer the YouTube webapp over the YouTube native app because it's cleaner, better, and a more consistent experience (because it was made by YouTube, as opposed to the native app, which was made by Apple). Other plus is that you can shift video to HQ on the webapp, even on 3G, so videos are clearer.
Also, look at using regular Facebook.com on the iPad as opposed to the Facebook native app.
All that being said, it gives devs flexibility to do more with regular websites and touch websites. There are also many native apps that use some native functionality, but use an embedded Safari viewer to deliver content (thus allowing updates to core code without updating the app itself).

Yes it matters because there are some webapps that people still use and this will only amplify the experience. Like I don't use the YouTube app I use the mobile YouTube webapp.

Does anyone have an issue with safari on the iPhone crashing? It keeps happening on his 3GS. Hopefully this update will address this.

@ohfer..., there are still a lot of web-only apps. Originally, Apple thought they could get away with telling devs to only make web apps. Well, that wasn't good enough, certainly then, but everyone expects web apps continue to get more powerful. Also, a lot of the regular apps use the Safari component inside, so improving Safari helps there as well.

Whether or not people find the new features useful, Apple needs to walk the walk. Steve is the champion of open web standards like HTML5, and he uses those standards to beat back Adobe's attempts to close and proprietize the web. Steve talks the talk, and Apple walks the walk.

Interesting comments.
I was certainly curious what effect this would have on the "App-centric" iOS.
p.s.
Not that being App-centric is a bad thing. I love my iPhone 4.

They also added in a very crucial element in my opinion; they now allow the user to increase local storage to 10mb instead of the 5mb previous restriction. This let's image heavy web apps run completely offline now. Such a sweet addition yet not totally taken advantage of yet.

one new annoying "feature" is how Mobile Safari pops open the recent google search field when you open a new window.
Please, Apple.. let the end uses DISABLE things like that. I absolutely do NOT want it to pop up my recent searches! Why? A little privacy is nice. A friend of mine was looking over my shoulder yesterday and I opened a new window.. BAM up comes my list of recent Google searches, very clearly showing what birthday gifts I was looking for. Thanks, Apple. :/

I just wish YouTube ran better on my iPhone 4. Many of the site embedded YouTube vids barely load. I remember reading something about the iPhone 4 trying to do it in hd but man it can get annoying.

Some Web forms no longer work since the update on the iPad. For example, I can't type a blog post into blogspot.com from Safari anymore unless I put it into HTML mode (not WYSIWYG/Compose mode). I also can't type at all into Microsoft forums. This all worked fine before the update.

+2 for YouTube web over the default app. The only time the YouTube app gets used on my phone is when it is opened by me clicking a link. Otherwise, I never use it. Going to the mobile YouTube site is, IMO, a much better experience. Especially considering that you can play HD videos over 3G if/whenever you want, easily.