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WebKit Tells Flash to Kiss Their Apps: CSS Animation and 3D Already in iPhone Safari Browser

WebKit is Apple's open source evolution of the old Linux Konquerer KHTML browser, and it forms the foundation of Safari on both the desktop and the iPhone (and Google Android, Palm Pre, Nokia tablets, etc.). Their Surfin' Safari blog has just announced CSS animation support, but the better news (via MacRumors), is that iPhone (and iPod touch) Safari already supports both CSS animation and 3D.

Want to check it out? Just hit up this awesome animated falling leaf demo on your iPhone!

Overly provocative headline not withstanding, and while this doesn't address the ubiquity of Flash video, it should go a long way towards enabling more scalable and open interactivity on the web. (Flash sites don't always scale well to small screens, after all).

Okay, I'm a web geek, I admit it, but is anyone else excited? Or do we just fear that it will all-too-quickly be perverted into iPhone optimized punch-the-monkey banner ads?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • very nice
  • Wow. I used to work with CSS a bit back in the day. I had NO IDEA it could do stuff like this. I'm all for looking for alternatives to Flash on the iPhone, if nothing else so I don't have to hear people whine about it anymore. But like you said, this doesn't address the issue of Flash video, which is probably what most of the whiners are looking for.
  • It will NEVER catch on. Too many limitations.
  • Just give us flash apple
  • @steve,
    Thanks for bringing my geek back to reality :)
  • Awesome. Css3 is really developing. People must start to realize how to design for the web. Flash is no good. It's made by adobe LOL
  • Tough to say any of these comments are inaccurate so far. Flash sucks and will be limited on the iPhone so this seems like a better method. Too bad it will never catch on.
  • I found the falling leaves oddly mesmerizing...
  • As a designer, I am still hoping for proper CSS2 support across desktop browsers, much less CSS3. :)
    On the iphone, this may catch on, but the problem is that it provides a way to create annoying animated ads -- the primary bad use for flash -- while providing no flash video, easily synchronized a/v, or any of the other good users for flash.
  • Another demo of CSS Animation + CSS 3D Transforms capabilities to emulate CoverFlow on iPhone Safari can be found here:
  • say no to flash (or rather the way it's (ab)used))
    it's been quite a nice stuff to watch ten years ago, with all those animated nifty-looking sites popping up, but now? endless (and needless) flash adds, sites that take ages to load, unskippable intros and menu loading, unnecessary gadgetry and "cool" stuff (that is cool only in minds of the designers), and so on. really, flash (not by itself, but by it's misuse) makes web browsing a fracking chore.
  • My iPhone web app uses these to make text more readable from afar... amazing frame rates, I look forward to seeing what other folks cook up.
    There's a small open source script derived from iblipper at
  • I Don't know why those of us who want "flash" are whiners.
    My two favorite activities, my business and my favorite hobby,golf, both use "flash". If I wish to view an email announcement from my supplier while on the road, I have to use a computer to read or view the details. Most of my favorite golf sites for tips, lessons etc. Also use "flash"
    Am I a Whiner because I prefer to travel with my Iphone rather than my laptop?
  • Im sorry but do Apple really expect the entire internet to start using CSS3 just because its all the iPhone supports...absolutely implausible.
    Just give us flash! Doesn't matter if its slow...having the option to access media slowly is still much better than making so much of the internet inaccessible!
  • Also like to add that people AGAINST flash on iPhone are these typical Apple suppoters who have relatively constrained and passive computer usage, dictated by Steve Jobs' inflexible ideas. Dont get me wrong, I adore my iPhone but simply cant see the logical in not giving us a sometimes vital and wholly optional feature!
  • Looks like a way to get a superficial Flash-like visual. Can it do something real with a backend or multiple users? Games? That said I will be looking into CSS3 to learn more now.
  • There is one reason why Apple won't support Flash. MONEY!
    I don't blame them either, Apple are supporting developers who support customers who support Apple who support developers... and so on.
    Microsoft are so bloody rich because they support customers, not developers.
    If Flash was to be enabled on the iPhone there would be no need to buy a Mac to develop iPhone applications. There would be no need to develop apps in XCode. Apple would lose millions of dollars if they allow Flash to be the interactive medium of choice on the iPhone as apposed to XCode.
    You will not see Flash on the iPhone. EVER!
  • hi,
    i made something similar. 3d music box from anime elfen lied.
    check it out :)
  • I made a small 3D CSS iPhone Tutorial:
    Maybe you like it.