Today, Apple has announced the beta release of Safari for Windows - the browser that will be shipped with every iPhone.
This is great on multiple levels:
- Developers can finally run tests against the Safari browser without having a Mac (usually these tests simply didn’t happen). This was the reason many sites broke on Macs.
- Safari has a strong track record from Mac enthusiasts, which is a mostly separate crowd from Firefox enthusiasts. Thus, this may help further increase adoption of non-IE browsers.
- Applications can be tested against the iPhone without an actual iPhone in hand.
The iPhone may be the best thing to have happened to the Internet since Firefox was born.
If the iPhone becomes the new target platform, standards become truly relevant. Why? Because for the first time in history, hordes of regular Joe consumers will have web access in the palm of their hand, and no company wants their website to completely break when viewed through the iPhone. This is especially true as more and more people begin to consume information strictly through their handheld devices and stop visiting web sites that don’t work on their phones. As a personal example, even though I read lots of news sources when on a desktop, on my Blackberry, I only read a select few sources that are built to handle mobile browsers.
The point is: web publishers can no longer choose to target IE. And as many analysts predict, with or without Apple, the mobile web will match or over take desktop web usage in the near future. Just take a look over at Japan to see what I mean.
So as a developer, I would like to thank the iPhone for making my life better.