Confusing: Developers Who Complain Apple's iPhone is Closed AND Think HTML5 is the Future
The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.
Which is completely and utterly wrong, of course. That's Apple's vision of the mobile, curated App Store which they intend to be a family friendly, corporately liable software repository. Apple's vision of the mobile internet is Mobile Safari and its WebKit rendering engine and other technological underpinnings, most of which are open source and heavily supported by Apple.
You can, now, today, get porn on the iPhone via Mobile Safari. You can get Google Voice. You can pretty much get anything and everything without any interference from or need for approval by Apple. It's the definition of the Winer-ian vendor-less platform Bray quotes. Never mind:
I’m going to have to get savvier about HTML5-based applications, because a lot of smart people think the future’s there, that the “native app” notion will soon seem quaint.
And HTML5 (which allows web-based apps to behave more like native apps) is something Apple has been pushing very hard as well (from promotion at Apple's Developer Tech Talk World Tour to WebKit.org itself). And again, now, today, you can code and run some of the best, most robust HTML5 applications for mobile to run well on iPhone Safari -- and other WebKit-based mobile browsers.
We've said many times Safari is Apple's open app store, and Apple even includes it beside Mac and iPhone on developer.apple.com. That's what confuses us about comments like Bray's and TechCrunch's mention of former Facebook for iPhone developer Joe Hewitt (who has since said the iPad is "everything he's wished for").
We'll stop short of assigning motives to Bray's comments, given his new job. It's awesome for Bray and Google and Android and developers to even have that sort of person in that sort of position, and we congratulate and wish all of them well on his new position. But it's important to point out that while Apple's App Store might be "closed as in managed", Mobile Safari is wide open; if you're a web developer it's delivering as well or better than anyone else on the promise of of that platform today.