HTML5 making iPhone devs second guess native apps and frustrating app approval process.

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by Mike
Posted December 16th, 2009 at 10:53 am

html5Even though Apple’s App Store continually gets knocked for god awful delays in getting apps approved, updates issued, etc., Apple will never close down the actual approval process. Sad as it is, it’s just something we’ll have to live with. But devs who don’t want to deal with App Store woes have a new tool in their arsenal — HTML5.

The iPhone’s Safari browser supports HTML5. What’s the big deal? HTML5 allows web pages and web apps to act and display extremely close to what an actual native app would appear. The benefits of course are instant updates, not approval wait process, and no nanny deciding what is/isn’t acceptable. It’s no secret the approvers behind the whole shindig aren’t exactly the most consistent or bright so any chance to get away from the hot mess (this time hot mess is not good) that is the approval process will be gladly taken.

It’s rather funny actually. If web apps and HTML 5 continue growing in popularity, it will make a complete circle in the iPhone platform and mobile platform as a whole. When the iPhone first launched, Apple made a big deal about web apps and how native apps were dead. The web apps of 2007 were just so-so which didn’t please end users whom demanded a more desktop-like experience that native apps still hold over web apps. Then 2008 came as did the app store which as we have witnessed, has taken the mobile market by storm. Finally, we arrive here at the end of 2009 with developers once again eying web apps as a replacement for native applications.

One such company that is pushing the App Store model out of the way is Nextstop. Their self-titled app is purely web based and allows users to share cool things to do around your current location. The reasons Nextstop gave Scobleizer for ditching on-device apps were pretty much the same thing I’ve mentioned above:

  • Quick, uninhibited updates
  • easy “copy&paste” route to make actual app later down the road
  • Easier to develop and debug
  • Better fits larger number of users across multiple platforms

All are noteworthy reasons to go it alone with an HTML 5 powered web app. Though one problem that I don’t see with an immediate fix is how do you make money? Mobile ads are of course a given but I’m talking more in lines with the typical “app entrance fee” to purchase the app. Maybe I’m overlooking something incredibly easy here…? Nextop isn’t alone. With continuous advancements in HTML technology, it’s only a matter of time before native apps lose dominance to web apps as more developers make the switch, moving to an ultimately cheaper “platform” to develop for.

Check out Nextstop explaining their thoughts and development path below:

Scobleizer > Nextstop

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