iOS 6 Beta 1: HTML5 new APIs, Remote Debugging and native apps integration

In this post I’m analyzing the public information for developers behind Safari on iOS 6 and the research results on Beta 1 version of the next main version of the operating system for iPhone and iPad.

UPDATE: This post was replaced with the final version of iOS6 available.

Read it here

iOS 6 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad was announced on June 11 2012, and some new Safari features were publicly shown. Apple claims to have 2/3 of the mobile web browsing market (is Opera being considered?) so it’s always important for us when Safari has a new version.

iOS 6 will be available for iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, iPod Touch 4th generation and iPad 2nd and 3rd generation.

That means: iPad fragmentation has started.


Public new features for Safari on iOS 6

File uploads

Finally! We can now select an image from the Photo Library or opening the Camera from a web form. The question is about HTML Media Capture being implemented or not (see later for the answer).

Web Audio API

With the Web Audio API we can enhance HTML5 games and multimedia apps with mixing, filtering and processing operations through JavaScript.

CSS Filters

CSS 3 Filters a set of image operations (filters) that we can apply using CSS functions, such as grayscale, blur, drop-shadow, brightness and other effects. These functions will be applied before the content is rendered on screen. We can use multiple filters using spaces (similar to transforms).

Smart App Banners

It’s a way to connect websites to native applications. When you browse a web that has a related native application, Safari can show a banner inviting the user to install or open the native app. The website can also send parameters to the native app. It’s not clear how this is going to be implemented. My guess is through meta tags. The same behavior is available on Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8.

Full Screen support on landscape

When you orient your device in landscape mode you can then move to a full-screen mode, including hiding the status bar and the Safari toolbar at the bottom. Transparent buttons are replacing the toolbar. A similar behavior is available on Nokia Browser for Symbian.  It’s not clear at this point if we can use the FullScreen API to request the feature (see later for the answer)

Remote Web Inspector

This is a big feature. Announced as a very small feature in the new APIs for developers. In the keynote there was no other information. As you may know, I’ve developed iWebInspector for iOS 5 because of the lack (or the hiding) of a web inspector tool for debugging web apps. It’s not public if this new Remote Web Inspector through LAN (like BlackBerry Remote Web Inspector) or through USB (like Google Chrome for Android)… the answer, later in this post.

Crossfade CSS Function

This feature was published in the keynote with “font-face: 3px” but I’ve seen it. It’s an image function that will create a crossfade between two images (Spec draft), for example:

background-image: -webkit-cross-fade(url("image1.png"),  url("image2.png"), 40%);

Will it work with transitions?


Other announced features and questions

iCloud Tabs

You can synchronize your tabs between all your devices, including Macs, iPhones and iPads. So the same URL will be distributed through all devices. Be careful on your mobile web architecture!

Offline Reading List

when the user adds a page to the reading list it will be also downloaded and precache. Is there any API to know if our page is being executed from the cache?


Google Maps native app was replaced by a new Maps app (directly from Apple). The question is, is this app still capturing URLs? (I hope not) and how to open the native app or driving instructions from a web.

Twitter and Facebook

Both social networks are not integrated in the operating system. It will be good if at some point web apps can also use these credentials.

Questions from the past

WebGL? IndexedDB? getUserMedia (camera access)? Nitro engine on Web Views?


Other news on HTML5 APIs inside the iOS 6 beta 1

I’ve been playing with Safari on iOS 6 Beta 1 for a couple of hours and I’ve found other features and answers to my questions. However, iOS 6 Beta 1 is under NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) so I can’t talk about it in public. (Apple it’s time to release web-related technologies out of the NDA). I can just say that my findings are at least the double of the information I’m posting here.

If you are enrolled in the iOS Developer Program, you can see the rest of this article under NDA.

Continue this article under NDA >>





14 thoughts on “iOS 6 Beta 1: HTML5 new APIs, Remote Debugging and native apps integration

  1. The link to the NDA part of the article appears to be broken (even though I’m signed in to the iOS developer forum)

  2. For those of you having trouble accessing the forum, I believe it may be because you haven’t accepted the NDA agreement. Please go to the forums home page, enter into iOS, then iOS 6 Beta and finally inside Web Technologies.

  3. My guess: you are using an account that is not in the (paid) iOS Developer Program or you’ve never accessed an NDA forum before and you need to accept an agreement before. Try to go to devforums homepage and find the “iOS 6” forum (in a red icon). Once you are ok with your account you should be able to get into the thread.

  4. Works great for me. Some bits I hadn’t seen before in the NDA section, thank you. Just wish Apple would stop with this silly NDA thing around Safari. On the one hand, they take from open source WebKit. On the other hand, they reject open-ness entirely. It’s not in the spirit of the Web and I do not like it.

  5. I didn’t say that. Apple claimed on the Keynote that they have 2/3 of the mobile web browsing market share.

  6. JS Debugging using Safari 6 Remote Debugger for UIWebView apps is broken, so it’s basically no good. We already had a way to debug CSS and HTML before.

  7. Wait, does Apple really have 2/3 of the mobile browsing market?!?!?! If so, that’s insane!!!

    Anyway, it will be good if eventually, social log-ins (i.e. FB, G+, Twitter) could be used as credentials…

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