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Why is Apple making big improvements to web apps for iPhone?


Apple appears to be up to something very interesting with Safari and its support for Web apps on iPhones. It is working on features that seem to make such applications work a lot more like native apps.

This may be good news for any application publisher who wants to offer apps and services to Apple’s mobile platforms outside of the App Store.

What’s the story?

The recently reported changes in Safari 16.4 for iPad OS 16.4 and iOS 16.4 are both available in the first beta.

Safari gains more than 135 features in this release, including tempting sounding enhancements such as Import Maps, Media Queries, and more. But the real enhancements are around Home Screen web apps.

Now, iPhones have been able to add a website icon to their Home screen since the device first appeared. Those icons became Home Screen web apps, so you can summon the service with a tap, and it will operate just like any other app, separate from Safari.

During the first year of the iPhone’s existence, Apple adopted the position that all third-party apps on the device be web apps,; that changed when the App Store was born.

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