With Apple’s forthcoming iOS 5 release, there are some specific changes within Mobile Safari that are worth noting. Most of these are of concern to the designer and developer, but others will add some new end user features.
- Form Input Elements: Mobile Safari provides touch-centric form inputs to ease the user’s entry task. Added in iOS 5 are new types date, datetime, month, time and range (which others might call a “slider”).
- Kerning Changes: Kerning (“…the adjustment of the space between individual letter forms…”) differences will probably not be noticeable to most everyone. Designers may see differences in line breaks. The comparison of an iPad page shown here reveals just how subtle the changes are.
- Native-style Scrolling Momentum: Web Apps will now be able to have the type of scrolling behavior found in native apps. This is a nice addition, especially for pages that have a lot of content (think car inventory lists, for example).
As for the browsing experience, there are 3 features that will be immediately obvious to end users:
- Reader: this brings over the same capability seen in Safari 5 to show the main parts of a web page in and easy-to-read format to Mobile Safari.
- Reading List: Saves online content for offline reading later
- Tabbed Browsing: A different way to navigate between different web pages that are open in Mobile Safari.
Overall, Apple has also touted improved speed, but what that actually means in a mobile environment where speed is often a function of the cell network performance, remains to be seen.