One of the main features holding iOS back is the web browsers.
All of them.
iOS’s default web browser is Safari. And because it is built to be baked in with the operating system, it still stands as the best web browser for iOS users.
There are other options, of course, which I have mentioned in a previous blog post. However, what iOS needs are a full Desktop level browser.
iOS tried to fix website loading mobile versions of their website by adding an option to “request a desktop” version of a website. However, still, with iOS restrictions on the web browsers, the full experience is still lacking.
When last year, I tried to make an iPad Pro as my primary computing device, I often ran into problems when using Safari or any of the available third-party web browsers.
The features are limited. The experience feels confined. As if when using the web browsers one is then forced to experience a limited form of the internet.
Apple, of course, seems to believe apps are the future of the internet. Instead of allowing more features on their web browsers they instead try to push people to use their apps and third-party apps. Still, these apps are themselves focused on mobile. Meaning they are designed to be light and work on limited screen space. They are not desktop-level apps like Apple’s own Final Cut Pro, or Adobe’s full Photoshop or even its Illustrator.
Ideally, to help Apple win this argument where iOS is its future, it has to come to terms with two things:
- The web browsers.
- Allowing their apps to be able to be as feature heavy as a desktop version of the same app.
Even Apple’s desktop version of Safari allows one to add Extensions. Chrome is probably the best version of this. However, even Chrome OS, where the operating system is built around a web browser, is confined.
Recently they added options to download Android apps to Chrome OS. Again, Android apps main focus is mobile. And what is often concluded by many reviewers, is the fact that trying to use a mobile app on a full desktop machine is awkward and unnecessarily frustrating.
Steps Toward Improvement
The first step to helping bridge the gap between iOS and MacOS would be building a Safari that is just a powerful as the MacOS Safari. This would be the first step needed to allow users an experience where one feels fewer restrictions. The next step would then be to allow Google to develop a full desktop version of Chrome for iOS—specifically focused for their iPad as a desktop version for an iPhone is not necessary.
The third and final step would be for Apple to open up the iOS app development API, allowing developers more flexibility with features for their apps. Perhaps Apple is already stepping toward this with their new policy, where development for MacOS apps and iOS apps, will soon be done through one single API.
Apple builds amazing hardware. And no one else right now manufactures mobile chips as fast and as optimized as Apple. One of my many frustrations with Apple was there apparent lack of apps utilizing these so-called desktop-level features. Even the games are still restricted by Apple, in my humble opinion. But one day we will hopefully be able to load apps as powerful as Call of Duty, Skyrim, or even a full version of Grand Theft Auto V. Of course, we would probably need a lot more storage in order to store these massive games.
“What’s a Computer?”
Perhaps the most frustrating ad from Apple recently was the “What’s a computer?” series. It does not show an Apple as innovating. It shows an arrogant and stubborn company unwilling to see past their own nose. One who is not willing to admit they are not innovating like they once were. If Apple can achieve what I have already mentioned, then they might be ready to air an ad where the question of “What’s a computer?” is representative of their innovation.
Instead, they seem ready to praise themselves and unable or unwilling to inspire. Much like the late great Steve Jobs would have probably preferred.
When Apple is ready to take these steps, then they will perhaps be able to begin to argue their iOS powered-iPad is just as good as any desktop computer.