Four web technologies and features created by Apple that shine in the new iOS 8

Apple has quietly been making enhancements to the mobile version of Safari, boosting performance, adding features and in general ensuring that the devices could deliver a browsing environment that is as close as possible to what’s available on a desktop. The focus of web technologies by Apple continues with iOS 8, that would introduce what perhaps are some of the biggest changes to Safari.

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One of the biggest changes in iOS 8 is the speed bump for applications which feature embedded web views that are powered by WebKit, the engine behind Safari. In 2008, with the iOS 4.3 launch, WebKit was equipped with a high-performance scripting engine that could translate JavaScript dynamically. The new Extensibility features allow all applications to enjoy the same performance level as Safari.

Another net technology feature is the 3D graphics for hardware acceleration. However, this feature is not exactly new. WebGL, a technology that makes 3D programming on the web was released in the year 2001 and present in the program for various iOS versions. Nonetheless, Apple opted to disable it by default and made the technology impossible for third party applications to use by hiding the software switch which turns it on behind a private API. WebGL would be turned on by default, providing users full access to any site offering content through this system. This would open a new door to new applications.

The Safari iOS 8 version comes with several video playback improvements that fall primarily in two categories, power saving and media management. Apple has implemented on the power-saving side several tricks that enable media playback to use less battery. Now, video is directly composited in hardware and technologies such as HTTP Live Streaming have been extended to give video streams that are fully adaptive, load faster and use less bandwidth. With media management, engineers have enhanced the capability for JavaScript to interact with video content and even implemented a new technology called Media Source Extensions which enable JavaScript to generate and maneuver streams directly from within the internet page.

The new web hardware features can usher in all kinds of new apps that utilize video on the net, such as interactive multi-angle playback, time-shifting live streams and so much more.  A final set of enhancements to iOS 8 boost the framework with support for the overall continuity program of the operating system, enabling applications to communicate better across devices and across distribution media as well.

The improvements, along with smaller items such as support for advanced CSS directives, are proof that Apple is as serious as ever in terms of providing users of iOS with a superior web platform. Moreover, it views technologies such as HTML as valuable companions to the native frameworks, instead of as competition to it. Some of the enhancements like playback and WebGL are based on standards that are available openly on other platforms, including Android and Windows, making it easier than ever for net designers and developers to create apps that work across a huge range of devices.