If you caught the WWDC keynote by Steve Jobs, then you no doubt know that there are a few hundred thousand potential developers out there cranking out native applications for the iPhone. In less then a month, these applications will be available for you to download and purchase. What does this mean for the state of web application development?
I don’t think the scene will change much at all.
We do have some great things coming down the pike. Super Monkey Ball looks fantastic, as does Cro-Mag Rally. These 9.99 games are sure to be high quality and entertaining, but I don’t think that they will push out classics like Bejeweled or Frenzic. The web application games are free, they are fun, and you do not have to take up any of your 8 or 16 Gigabytes just to play them. As long as web application games can be fun and free, they will compete. Developers can still make money from web application games through advertising and the purchasing of desktop versions.
Other web applications that I have loved are best online. Elegant Words: The Ubiquitous Dictionary would take massive amounts of storage on your iPhone, and with 3G connection, it will load almost instantly. The same can be said with many GTD applications that I reviewed. A native iPhone application will not instantly synch between all your machine the way several web to do’s and GTD applications do.
Applications like TypePad and Loopt are a different story. They add real value to the iPhone experience (for free I might add). These High quality useful applications do not have a web application counterpart – nor would you want one.
As long as web application developers realize that their work is of equal (or maybe even more) valuable and relevant on a high-speed iPhone, and they don’t get greedy or threatned by the lure of the Application Store on iTunes, then we should see many great web applications coming our way in the future.