Manton Reece: ‘Every Device Needs the Web’

Manton Reece:

Apple has 4 major platforms now: iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and the Mac. It’s a dangerous precedent for 2 out of those 4 to not have access to the open web. Web services are only part of the story; HTML and the hyperlink are also both fundamental components of web access. A platform is too shut off from the rest of the world without them.

Not every platform needs the web. A watch certainly does not. The screen interface for a car doesn’t either. (That could be the third straight new platform Apple ships without a web browser.) TV seems in between. I think it’s ridiculous to think about a wrist-worn web browser. It’s not ridiculous to think about a TV web browser — but I don’t think the user experience would be good. It’s time to move on. “Every device needs the web” sounds like an updated version of “every device needs a command-line terminal”.

It could be that Apple plans to add WebKit to Apple TV in the future, but that they’re withholding it now simply to make it impossible for developers to create Apple TV apps that are merely thin web view wrappers — in the same way the original Macintosh, which shipped without any sort of command line, forced developers to write true native Mac apps.

Or it could be that Apple has decided never to open WebKit to developers on Apple TV. I’ve never seen a TV-connected device with a good interface for web browsing. Just leave it off, I say.

But either way, it won’t affect Apple TV’s success, and everything will be OK.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015