Occipital, a company that has been getting lots of attention for their iPhone application “360 Panorama” that utilizes the built in gyroscope and camera inside Apple’s Jesus Phone to make taking panorama images easier, has discovered that the Safari browser, as of version 4.2 of iOS, supports reading information from the gyroscope. The headline used by The Next Web when announcing the discovery “Hidden Safari Mobile feature reveals augmented reality capability” is a bit misleading since augmented reality implies that in addition to the gyroscope, the camera and compass are also put to use.
This new found feature shows that Apple is not only working relentlessly to make the best mobile smartphone platform, and then with App Store one of the finest distribution methods ever to be conceived, but that they also care about web applications and fully expect the browser to house the same rich types of applications that would otherwise be written in native code.
The current battle between whether to build a mobile application, if so then for which platform(s), or rather write a mobile website and test it against multiple browsers, is one that will change the smartphone landscape during the next few years. RIM snatched up a browser company to compete with Apple, Nokia announced that they’ll be decoupling the browser currently bundled into the Symbian operating system so that they can issues updates to it on a more frequent basis, Microsoft is working tirelessly to promote how much they love HTML5, and both Opera and Mozilla continue to release their browsers for multiple platforms citing that consumer choice is critical for the future of the web.
Who will “win”? We will, with both faster browsers and wider access to the services we love to use more platforms than ever thought possible. It’s going to take a few years, and a lot of kicking and screaming from web designers, but it’ll happen.