Some things just shouldn’t need to be in the App Store. Designer Jakob Henner of Yahoo! has released an amazingly simple iOS web app that acts and feels like a full-blown, hard-coded Objective-C application. The app is called “Sun” and aims to provide a very Clear-esque weather experience, taking advantage of creative gestures to make the app feel even more polished.
What’s simply astounding though, is that Sun is a web app. The app was coded exclusively in web languages, and finely exhibits the true power of HTML5 and CSS3. To really understand what I’m trying to say you have to try the app yourself. Simply go to pattern.dk/sun/ on your iOS device and follow the instructions. Once installed, remember to try pinching, sliding, and swiping because the app doesn’t make very clear which gestures do what.
In the days before the App Store, web apps were a big initiative for the iOS platform in general. At the time, the belief was commonly held that there didn’t need to be an App Store, because powerful utilities could be easily built within Safari. Hence the “Add to Homescreen” button.
Obviously, the App Store and dedicated apps have long taken over the entire iOS platform, but as more and more creative uses of the now-standard web design platforms become more widely developed, maybe we will see the emergence of more web apps such as the one above.
In my opinion, not all apps in the store today need to have dedicated apps. Of course there are benefits to developing things natively, such as access to all of iOS’ extensive frameworks, but even Gmail has a powerful web app. With a little work, couldn’t it be just as polished as Sun and leave the full Gmail app useless? I think so.
Also worth noting is that more apps like Sun would allow us to free up our built-in flash memory. As iPhone and smartphone users in general have become more and more consistently connected to faster and faster internet connections, or need to have actual media and apps stored on our devices has dwindled. Many of my friends don’t keep music on their iPhones because they have Spotify subscriptions, for instance.
What do you think of Sun? Do you think it would be cool to see more apps like it?