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In Its Tantrum With Europe, Apple Broke Web Apps in iOS 17 Beta

Thursday February 8, 2024. 07:52 PM , from Slashdot/Apple
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple has argued for years that developers who don't want to abide by its rules for native iOS apps can always write web apps. It has done so in its platform guidelines, in congressional testimony, and in court. Web developers, for their part, maintain that Safari and its underlying WebKit engine still lack the technical capabilities to allow web apps to compete with native apps on iOS hardware. To this day, it's argued, the fruit cart's laggardly implementation of Push Notifications remains subpar.

The enforcement of Europe's Digital Markets Act was expected to change that -- to promote competition held back by gatekeepers. But Apple, in a policy change critics have called 'malicious compliance,' appears to be putting web apps at an even greater disadvantage under the guise of compliance with European law. In the second beta release of iOS 17.4, which incorporates code to accommodate Europe's Digital Markets Act, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have been demoted from standalone apps that use the whole screen to shortcuts that open within the default browser. This appears to solely affect users in the European Union, though your mileage may vary. Concerns about this demotion of PWAs surfaced earlier this month, with the release of the initial iOS 17.4 beta. As noted by Open Web Advocacy -- a group that has lobbied to make the web platform more capable -- 'sites installed to the home screen failed to launch in their own top-level activities, opening in Safari instead.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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