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The iPhone features web browsers capable of accessing virtually any website. This article covers how to add a website to your iPhone’s Home Screen using Safari and Chrome.
Apple is pushing an app-centric user experience for obvious reasons. Although the web is open to all, Google dominates search and Internet-based services. Apple really doesn’t have a strategy to monetize the Web. They force their users to purchase apps from their App Store, while minimizing the importance of the web.
Web apps were actually the original vision for mobile computing. Remember the first iPhone commercials? Apple made a big deal over the iPhone’s fully functional web browser. Apart from a lack of Flash support for Safari, it was fully capable of rendering desktop websites. Users could easily zoom into sections on a web page by double tapping or reverse pinching the screen.
Steve Jobs said he envisioned web apps to be the future of the iPhone. There was no App Store, and originally, no plan to develop one. Along came a competing mobile operating system, and Jobs felt it copied the iPhone. He vowed to go “thermonuclear” on Google, and shortly after, the App Store was launched. It doesn’t take a tech analyst to realize that Apple is doing everything possible to thwart Google’s dominance of the web.
Apple-friendly publications like Wired even had cover stories proclaiming that the web was dead. Everyone was rushing to develop and use apps. Major websites wrapped the same exact content in an app, and consumers happily installed these on their iPhone. Like many people, I realized the app version of most websites was missing a lot of content. These apps were simply watered down versions of the original website.
Years later, the World Wide Web is still very important. The hype of apps killing off the web just didn’t prove to be true. It was simply the result of simplistic thinking. In 2014, Wired published an article proclaiming that the Web is alive and well. Oops!
Whenever a new technology becomes mainstream, there always seems to be the need to pronounce its predecessor obsolete. People still read books after radio came along. Terrestrial radio is still popular today and its usage has actually grown over the years. Television, VCRs, digital cable, smart phones and other devices simply complement the technology we have now. People haven’t replaced their lamps with night vision goggles either.
The reality is that the web is still very important, and I use it all the time. For example, the best weather forecast isn’t available in the App Store. It’s available on the weather.gov website. The National Weather Service does not offer a mobile app for any platform. Apple also has a tendency to reject apps from the App Store, often for arbitrary reasons. You can get most of this content on the web, often for free. You can even add an icon to your home screen to quickly launch these websites and web apps. Let’s take a look at how to do this with Safari and Chrome.
How to Add a Website to Your iPhone Home Screen Using Safari
Although there are many different browsers available in the App Store, Safari offers special capabilities. Because Apple develops and bundles Safari with iOS, they can take advantage of proprietary hooks in the operating system. These features are not available to third-party developers. (continue…)