HTML5 and new features in Safari for iOS 5 beta 1

As you may already known, iOS 5 beta 1 was released for registered developers and there was a presentation showing some of the new features in Safari. I’ve made the usual investigation to see what’s new and I find a way to show you what’s new in HTML5.

UPDATE: Final version of iOS5 is available. Here you have the updated post.


Since iOS 2, Safari is the mobile browser with most surprises on every version of the O.S. There are one problem with that: new features are never documented on time by Apple. So we need to figure out new things by ourselves. Some things are easy to discover and some others are nearly impossible (such as new meta tags).


After iOS 4.3, lot of things were discussed on blogs and discussion forums about features (and lack of) and a lot of wishes lists were published, including:

  • WebGL (aka 3D Drawing API)
  • Web Workers
  • Nitro support on full-screen webapps and hybrids (see this post for more info)
  • HTML5 no working form input types (such as date, datetime, etc.)
  • Position: fixed support
  • File upload support
  • Background / widget support
  • Notificacions API
  • Document inspector support

Most of these missing features on iOS are available right now on BlackBerry Browser for PlayBook, so it was expected that the next version of iOS should add some of them. I’ve tested it for some days and I’ve my conclusions for Beta 1. These conclusions are not final, as things can change until the final version is published.

My findings

I have one bad news and one good news. The bad one: I can not publish my conclusions here, because Apple has every aspect of iOS 5 SDK under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement); so I can’t talk about it in public. The good one: If you are also under NDA (you are an approved iOS Developer), you can continue reading and discussing my full post here >>>>.

What’s new (public information)

What I can tell you here is the public information about Safari and iOS 5. It is announced as a faster browser experience (without technical information) with tab support on iPad (finally!) and two new features borrowed from Safari on Desktop:

  • Reading List: a feature that mixed with iCloud let you mark a webpage for future reading while this list is synchronized between all your devices (including desktop).
  • Safari Reader: a new mode that will let the user read the current article without distractions (it removes ads, logos and it changes the CSS style of your site). This is similar to Safari on Desktop and to Readability

Tabs appears without any icon (as we are used to in desktop). Twitter is also integrated inside Safari so the Actions buttons now has new options as you can see in the image below:

iOS 5 has now a Notification Center (very similar to Android’s one), but there is no public information about usage from a webpage. If you want to read the full post (under NDA) with the new stuff for HTML5, go to this link.


2 thoughts on “HTML5 and new features in Safari for iOS 5 beta 1

  1. Really great write-up, especially the full article on the dev forum!

    Here is my wishlist pre-iOS5 announcement:, I’m looking forward to the NDA being lifted (official release) and being able to discuss what is and isn’t actually in iOS5.

    I will likely add some comments to your dev forum post about the specifics of what I’ve found.

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