In a game of chicken between giant corporations, Apple appears to have got its way regarding ebooks. Amazon and Google both blinked and resubmitted their apps to its App Store, minus their purchase links (Apple’s new rules forbid linking to external stores, or even mentioning them).
In a press release, Canadian online bookseller Kobo has announced it will also toe the line, but it’s planning for a future that bypasses Apple. The company is developing an HTML5 app that will “provide the most optimised experience for iOS users and users on other Kobo platforms”.
Kobo adds that it is dedicated to an open-platform experience and enabling consumers to read on any device, however they please. Its existing, now neutered, iOS apps will remain in place, but it’s clear the company sees HTML5 as the future for its delivery methods, not least because it will enable the company to again integrate purchasing with the reading app on iOS, but without Apple getting a cut.
Kobo isn’t the first company to go HTML5: .net recently reported on the Financial Times doing much the same. Steve Pinches, FT group product manager, emerging platforms, told .net HTML5 brought the FT a number of advantages: “It enables us to deliver a traditional app like experience in a web browser that is faster and features new content such as video and FT blogs. Without needing to wait for release through an app store, the FT Web App automatically and instantly updates and improves. There is no need for users to download to read offline.” He added that the single code-base was more efficient, and suggested more publications should follow suit, arguing that “web apps will become the way of the future,” and that native apps are merely “a bridging solution while web technologies catch up and are able to provide the rich user experience demanded on new platforms”.