You know, it’s amazing how opinions differ between people. As I sit here, having just read this article from Computer World, I’m almost dumbfounded that it was even written. As I read this five page opus (complete with giant, obtrusive, advertising on each page), I can’t help but question the logic of the piece.
The primary point of the article is that Safari on Windows will fail.
I don’t disagree with that.
If Apple was truly looking to run in and take over the browser business on Windows, there is no way that Apple could dethrone Internet Explorer, or even Firefox. It’s not going to happen. Not now…not ever….but seriously, I want everyone reading this to raise your hand if you think that’s what Apple is doing.
Now, the three of you that have your hands raised…smack yourselves in the forehead.
Apple is in no way trying to start a browser war on Windows. Apple wants 3rd party apps from Windows developers for the iPhone. That’s all there is to it. Safari exists on Windows right now for that reason, and that reason only.
Why is the first Beta so buggy? Because they didn’t make this decision until a short time ago. Why did they release it then?
Again…because they want iPhone apps. They want them on launch day, and they’re already getting them from a variety of sources. While this “Web 2.0″ source of development may not be ideal, it does open the doors up for everyone to develop interesting applications for the iPhone, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people do with it after the product launches.
Once Apple chose this method of delivery for 3rd Party Applications, they had no choice but to release Safari for Windows.
This portion below is the bulk of what I have an issue with from this particular article:
On the second page of the article he says the following:
Apple is once again creating its own category — call it the Mac OS-based cell phone category — and I’m sure Apple will win 100% market share.
Then two pages later….
This is the problem with Apple’s plan: To control the user experience of third-party apps on the iPhone, Apple needs to control a quasi-proprietary browser platform. To get developers to build for the browser, Apple needs the power of market share. To get market share, Apple needs Windows compatibility and Windows-user acceptance. And — here’s where the logic fails — to get a critical mass of Windows users, Safari needs to embrace existing Web standards, UI conventions and functionality.
Am I crazy, or is this guy high?
First off, Apple isn’t trying to control the “user experience of third-party apps on the iPhone” – if they were they’d have a more limiting SDK…but they don’t. They’re using AJAX, and I don’t know if this guy has ever actually used Safari, but it’s not a browser you have to use your feet to operate…just like Firefox is to IE, Safari has it’s own quirks, but many sites and online applications run the same in Safari as they do in any other browser. My point with this statement is not to say that Safari isn’t different from the other browsers, I am painfully aware that it is – my point is that it is not SO different that Apple would somehow be controlling the look of third-party apps. If they use standard buttons will they look like Apple buttons…yeah…but that doesn’t mean you can’t use an image to make it look however you want, and simply make it clickable.
Secondly, the idea that Apple has to have major market share to “get developers to build for the browser” is wrong in almost every possible way that sentence can be wrong. A) Apple isn’t trying to get developers to build for the browser…they are building for the iPhone, and B) Why in the hell would you have to have major market share when we’re talking about a FREE download?
If you want to build an application that you know will work on the iPhone, you need this free download to do it. That’s all there is to it.
Let’s say, however, that you DID have to have major market share…well, as the writer said on page two, Apple is building their own market with the iPhone, and they control 100% of it. Sounds pretty major to me.
Bottom line – Apple did not throw the first grenade in new millennium browser war. Apple lobbed a piece of software over to Windows because it was necessary to ensure 3rd party web development from Windows developers. The vast majority of iPhone customers are going to be Windows users, and they are going to want their Windows based apps on their phone. With the choice that Apple made for 3rd party development, this was the only solution.