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Did Web-only development fail the iPhone?

A thoughtful post over at asks whether the Web failed the iPhone. Apple's initial decision to support only Web 2.0 third-party apps on the iPhone gave the web-based community a huge shot of creativity and incentive to see how far they could push the iPhone and Safari in terms of delivering a new kind of third party development. Unfortunately the lack of persistent storage and local data, a la Google Gears, crippled the effort. Perhaps Apple's development model was simply a decade ahead of its time.

Chris Messina's article calls on Web developers to improve what's going on inside the browser frame by designing and constructing new web primitives that make it simpler and easier to build for the web. He adds that "Steve was right" in that Safari development is the future of application development. If Apple had invested in richer and better Web tools, the outcry for native third party apps might never have taken off.

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