What Does HTML5 Mean for Apple’s App Store?

pic via amitbhawani.com

Apple’s iTunes-based App Store for its popular iOS powered devices might lose some wind out of its very powerful sails in the next couple of years according the Atlantic. The reason why? HTML5 is on the way and promises to implement many of the same features—on any supporting platform—that have rocketed the iPhone to popularity with software developers.

So will the full implementation of the still under-design HTML5 standard alleviate the need to develop platform dependent versions of apps for all of the popular smartphone lines? While some credence can be given to the idea, some features—like Apple’s iOS 4’s multitasking—are still much better suited to being harnessed by natively written apps instead of generic web-based ones. HTML5 will be a powerful new standard that opens the world wide web to an entirely new experience, but do not count on it to render the entire app world phone platform neutral.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the Atlantic’s reasoning is that Apple’s iPad and iPod touch lines lack 3G network support and must rely on Wi-Fi for internet access (although a 3G capable version of the iPad is available for considerably more than the Wi-Fi only one is). These devices will not be able to access HTML5 browser-based applications unless they are currently connected to a local Wi-Fi network, greatly limiting their abilities if all the iTunes Store App developers run off to the land of HTML5 and forget them. This is highly unlikely to happen.

In the future—post HTML5 release—I see much better mobile versions of websites available because of HTML5 and a slow but steady decline in the number of sites that use Adobe Flash.  However, the number of apps available for individual smartphone product lines will probably still be increasing at a steady clip and overall revenues for apps will be quite a bit higher than they are now. Until HTML5 finally completely rolls out and shows us all what is capable of, it is nothing more than an HTML version of Java with better support for streaming video. Apps compiled to run natively will still have a considerable advantage.

Let me know what you think. Will HTML5 redefine Apple’s iTunes store into something less resembling a monopoly, or will it simply make our regular web browsing experiences that much better?

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