Apple is engaged on bringing web-based notifications to iOS, addressing a long-time concern of builders of web-based apps who’ve been unable to ship notifications to customers on Apple cell units, severely limiting the person expertise and effectiveness of apps made on the internet.
With the primary betas of iOS and iPadOS 15.4 launched final week, Apple added a “Push API” toggle within the Experimental settings web page for Safari, as noticed and defined by developer Maximiliano Firtman. As famous by Maximiliano, whereas the toggle is seen, the API itself just isn’t but enabled, and Apple has but to implement a UI immediate into Safari on iOS to ask customers for permission to show web-based notifications.
Not like on macOS the place web-based notifications are widespread, solely apps downloaded by Apple’s App Retailer can ship notifications on iOS. With the inclusion of the “Push API” toggle in iOS 15.4, Apple is seemingly laying the groundwork for bringing web-based notifications to its cell units.
Internet-based purposes are designed solely on the internet, accessible by any browser with a URL. Internet-based apps will not be new, however the Epic Video games v. Apple lawsuit has introduced the expertise of web-based apps on iOS and iPadOS into the highlight. A key cornerstone of Epic’s argument in opposition to Apple’s management of the App Retailer and iOS ecosystem is the shortage of decisions for customers on the place to obtain apps.
In a submission to the ACCC (Australian Competitors and Client Fee) in February of final yr, Apple rebuffed Epic’s declare that iOS customers are restricted in choices for the place to obtain apps. Particularly, Apple mentioned that “the entire net is accessible to them,” and iOS and iPadOS customers have “unrestricted and uncontrolled entry” to web-based apps.
“Internet browsers are used not solely as a distribution portal, but in addition as platforms themselves, internet hosting “progressive net purposes” (PWAs) that eradicate the necessity to obtain a developer’s app by the App Retailer (or different means) in any respect. PWAs are more and more out there for and thru mobile-based browsers and units, together with on iOS,” Apple mentioned in a bit of its submission titled “Distribution alternate options throughout the iOS ecosystem.”
In a courtroom submitting dated Might 2021, Epic particularly took concern with the restrictions of WebKit, the framework on which all iOS and iPadOS browsers are based mostly. Epic famous that web-based apps accessed by the browser lack entry to APIs provided by native apps distributed by the App Retailer, reminiscent of PushKit, which permits notifications.
Safari immediate on macOS for web-based notifications
In the identical submitting, Epic claimed that in testimony, Apple’s former vp of developer relations, Ron Okamoto, might “not title a single developer that withdrew an app from the App Retailer as a result of the developer might substitute to distributing an online app.”
By bringing PushKit to WebKit for iOS and iPadOS, Apple may very well be looking for to bolster its argument that web-based purposes are an alternative choice to apps from the App Retailer. The Epic vs. Apple lawsuit concluded in September with U.S. District Choose Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruling that Apple should permit apps to hyperlink to exterior fee strategies for in-app purchases. Epic needed the courtroom to drive Apple to help third-party App Shops, however that did not occur.
Whereas Apple is seemingly laying the early groundwork for implementing PushKit into WebKit for iOS and iPadOS, it stays unclear after we might see the API go reside. We have reached out to Apple for extra info.
Apple is at the moment testing iOS and iPadOS 15.4, the most important replace to iOS and iPadOS 15 since its launch final fall. The primary beta of iOS 15.4 contains the flexibility to make use of Face ID whereas carrying a masks, Common Management, improved help for ProMotion on iPhone 13 Professional fashions, and extra.