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WWDC 2013: the iOS and OS X Safari wish list

With Apple gearing up for the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2013), half of the internet is bemoaning Apple for not releasing something new, shiny and industry-changing every eight seconds, and the other half is wondering just how flat Sir Jony Ive’s new iOS will be. This being .net, we thought we’d instead investigate what the web industry wants to see Apple reveal.

Designer Laura Kalbag told .net she wanted better developer tools in Safari OS X: “It seems to be the platform’s quickest browser, but I get frustrated using it for development because the developer tools are clunky and make it much harder to edit the page than other browser tools.” She also wondered if Apple will move to the ‘tabs on top’ model: “In fact, any innovation would be interesting. Safari seems to be forever playing catch-up to other browsers."

Digital artist and speaker Seb Lee-Delisle said he’d “rather Apple finally sort out iCloud,” than work on its browser, but admitted WebGL is something Safari needs to fully embrace: “I’d love for Apple to stop teasing us and finally enable WebGL in Safari for iOS, and turn it on by default on the desktop version. WebGL isn’t production-ready on the desktop until Safari and IE support it, and although WebGL on mobile is way behind, it’d be nice for Apple to lead the way."

Mobile education consultant Fraser Speirs thought Apple should focus on iOS usability problems that hinder commonplace tasks. “The lack of file uploads in Safari remains a big blocker for lots of workflows,” he explained. “iCab Mobile solves this by allowing you to open a file in the app and upload it from there.” He noted that this won’t work if a site uses “some kind of fancy Flash uploader,” but it’s nonetheless something Safari should embrace. He added that direct access to app sandboxes wouldn’t work though because “many apps, like iWork, have to translate internal data structures into usable files.”

Finally, experience designer Aral Balkan reckoned Safari itself wouldn’t change much: “It’s already rather mature on OS X and iOS, and so I expect incremental speed and functionality updates.” However, he joined Lee-Delisle in hoping for WebGL support on iOS, which he noted was already possible on jailbroken devices.

Additionally, Balkan thought Apple could improve things for web users with some extra labels and openness. He'd like to see web apps “differentiated visually from native apps when saved to the home screen”. Currently, web app icons are identical to those of native apps, which Balkan argued, “creates native UI expectations that web UIs just cannot meet”.

Balkan would also like to see Apple drop restrictions on allowing other browser vendors to port rendering engines to iOS: “It’s not like allowing Firefox and Chrome’s rendering engines on iOS is going to hurt the overall user experience somehow, and I’d welcome the additional competition. Of course, Apple’s biggest fear is allowing Google a back door into iOS devices via an unrestricted Chrome, and so I doubt we will see that happen!”

What web-oriented things would you like Apple to reveal? Let us know in the comments!