The revolution started with the iPhone.
With the launch of their breakthrough device they didn’t intend for developers to be making Apps. Apple instead believed that developers would make web apps using HTML5 and save the web app as an icon of their phone. Surprisingly open by Apple’s standards the strategy soon changed to native apps because web apps simply didn’t feel quick enough.
Web technology is getting better
However, as HTML5 becomes a standard on PCs everywhere web apps are approaching the same sophistication as native applications. The hardest step now is for developers to take the plunge and create these great new interfaces and not get stuck in the old way of thinking and just pushing out another blog.
One of my favorite designers, Dustin Curtis, is leading the way with this new UI element on his site; the Kudos button.
It looks great. It’s fun to use and it’s a really simple way to add some life to a site. It doesn’t work on touch interfaces for obvious reasons. Sadly Dustin hasn’t made the code available yet, but most programmers could probably copy the concept. It’s that easy. We just have to make sure we starting thinking less about static web and more about user interaction.
The were a lot of rumors around before the launch of the new Apple TV, the most interesting ones from Engadget that claimed the Apple TV would be fully compatible with iOS apps. But Steve Jobs claimed it had no local storage, how would that work?
Looking at the tech specs page of the Apple TV site I can’t find any information about storage though. There must be some storage to fascilitate buffering of video but it could work just fine with only RAM.
What the future of the Apple TV will be no one knows. But if it doesn’t have local storage it won’t ever handle apps. We’ll have to wait for the next generation.
Now begins to long wait for the post launch tear down that will tell us if it has local storage or not.
With the release of the iPhone even Apple itself claimed that Apps we’re not important because the web would take over. Since then I hear this same argument regurgitated from time to time. Web apps are the future. Native apps will never be flexible enough.
Well, this argument is correct. But most of the people using it are really wrong and they don’t always understand the argument itself.
Web applications will, for the foreseeable future, be the most cutting edge and flexible way to develop functionality. They will surpass anything native clients do very soon. This is because cloud computing will make computing a lot more flexible and less reliant on hardware.
But these web apps will only be functionality. User interfaces in the web will lag behind tremendously. With HTML 5 and faster browsers UI’s will become more responsive and more complex. But user interfaces online, just like native app user interfaces, must be disconnected from the functions themselves so that errors or problems do not interfere with the users experience of the application. In other words, if your Internet connection times out the user interface can’t just stop. That would be similar to a Windows 95 blue screen and user would never be able to rely on the applications.
The solution, which is commonly used today, is to separate the user interface from the functions and simply run them asynchronously with user interfaces providing feedback while waiting for the servers to respond. No matter the issue with functions the user interface can keep users in the loop and provide them with the feeling of control.
Why is this different from native apps? It’s not. Native apps on devices such as the iPhone are quite often just interfaces for online services. And as such they are not different from online user interfaces. This is why native apps will not go away. native interfaces will continue to be much more responsive for years to come, providing the user the sense of control we all want from our apps.
Well that’s great. But before that happened I was waiting for the OS X update for Tweetie that Atebits had been working on for some time. Twitter might be more interested in the mobile market but I hate to see good design wasted, and I really want to keep using Tweetie on my mac. So please Twitter, release the official Twitter client for OS X, the app formerly known as Tweetie2 for mac.