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Rumor: Apple helping Facebook's 'secret' HTML5 project

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
A new report claims Apple knows about and is lending support to Facebook's "Project Spartan" HTML5 web app platform, even as Facebook's PR team has attempted to downplay rumors of the project.

On Wednesday, MG Siegler of TechCrunch claimed that Facebook was coordinating an HTML5 web app platform to "break the stranglehold" that Apple has on mobile app distribution. According to the report, Facebook's goal was to get people to use its own network as the distribution model for games and other apps, "not the App Store (or any other distribution hub)."

Also earlier this week, rumors emerged that a native iPad app for Facebook is nearly finished and should arrive in weeks, more than a year after the release of the original iPad.

In a follow-up report, Siegler hinted that Facebook may have held the iPad app back as leverage with Apple.

"Apple has wanted this app since the initial iPad launch just over a year ago," the report read. "At first, Facebook made it sound as if they werent going to do one at all. But they have been working on it for months. And theres no reason it should have taken that long, unless they were holding it back as some sort of leverage over Apple."

One source compared Apple's relationship with Facebook to that of "an abusive spouse," noting that Facebook has "pissed off" Apple in the past and suffered repercussions as a result. According to the report, Facebook is scared of Apple and has to "tread lightly."

Siegler says Apple knows about Project Spartan and is believed to "even be lending some minor support" to the project. People familiar with the matter have indicated that Apple "is not afraid of [the project] at all." Siegler went on to suggest that, having seen some of the early Spartan apps, the likelihood that users would choose them over a native iPhone app is "laughable."

However, the report speculates that Apple doesn't yet know the full scope of the project, specifically the Facebook Credits monetization aspect. "I believe the main reason Facebook is pissed off about our Spartan story is this part in particular," Siegler wrote. "Apple may not view Spartan as a threat at all right now and in fact, it sort of helps them because it is moving popular games, like the ones by Zynga, off of Flash and onto HTML5 but down the road, that is absolutely what Facebook intends it to be."

Siegler also took issue with an alleged spin campaign run by Facebook's public relations team in response to his original story. Facebook PR reportedly sent messages to other journalists pitching stories meant to serve as damage control. You guys should remind people that theres not much new in tonights TC story, one email read, while another suggested that the story was "wrongly positioning [Facebook] against other companies."
post #2 of 48
"According to the report, Facebook is scared of Apple and has to "tread lightly.""

Yep, because Apple's online offerings of the past and present have been so, so good
post #3 of 48
No. It's because Apple's products are increasingly becoming how people access Facebook. Apple can kill the revenue opportunities Facebook is positioning itself to take advantage of.

While very powerful, Zuckerberg would be wise to remain friends with Steve Jobs. Apple is showing signs of going around Facebook and favouring Twitter, which could be the next Facebook vs MySpace story.
post #4 of 48
Yeah, people like to position HTML5 apps vs native iOS apps. But that's all pure bunk. Apple is actively helping in the implementation of HTML5 and support for HTML5 on iOS so Facebook can do projects like this.

Stories spinning Apple as being threatened by HTML5 projects make no sense.
post #5 of 48
I have every reason to believe that Apple can and will play nice with others when it's in their interest and play hardball when it is in their interest to do so. Apple is no different from any other company in this regard.

Apple will be pushing both HTML5 and its APPS infrastructure. Though there will be overlap in the types of apps that will run under a browser and iOS there are certainly functionalities that will be best under one or the other.
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Yeah, people like to position HTML5 apps vs native iOS apps. But that's all pure bunk. Apple is actively helping in the implementation of HTML5 and support for HTML5 on iOS so Facebook can do projects like this.

Stories spinning Apple as being threatened by HTML5 projects make no sense.

What I took from this article is Apple is helping Facebook remove their dependency on Adobe Flash. in favor of HTML5.
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post #7 of 48
I still don't understand what FaceBook is "escaping" by going HTML 5 over a native iOS app.

It's not profit - they can monitize a native app just as easily as the web - Apple has no restrictions or 30% cut on advertising, for example.
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What I took from this article is Apple is helping Facebook remove their dependency on Adobe Flash. in favor of HTML5.

What I get from it is that Apple will not enable full HTML5 to everybody, unless they get a cut just like with the iOS apps. Talking about the full web and open standards. Just like in the beginning that only Apple apps could work on the background of iOS.
post #9 of 48
Apple loves the open, standards-based, available-to-all web, and has offered much (maybe more than anyone) towards the development of great web apps.

Web services and native apps aren’t either-or. You need both, and Apple knows it. iOS lets both be great in their own ways.


Quote:
Originally Posted by holy_steven View Post

What I get from it is that Apple will not enable full HTML5 to everybody, unless they get a cut just like with the iOS apps. Talking about the full web and open standards. Just like in the beginning that only Apple apps could work on the background of iOS.

How is Apple failing to enable full HTML5, or asking for a cut? Lots of web services charge, through means other than the App Store, and have been supported on iOS for years. The scenario you’ve crafted, thankfully, is fiction. In fact, widespread HTML5 development (as an alternative to buggy, proprietary Flash) is very important to Apple, and not for the sake of a “cut."
post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by holy_steven View Post

What I get from it is that Apple will not enable full HTML5 to everybody, unless they get a cut just like with the iOS apps. Talking about the full web and open standards. Just like in the beginning that only Apple apps could work on the background of iOS.

What the hell are you rambling on about? Who the hell do you think brought HTML5 to the World? Apple. Dave Hyatt co-wrote the standard brought to the W3C.

Sorry, but Javascript apps will never touch ObjC/C/C++/ObjC++ performance, scalability and range of applications. It's never gonna happen.
post #11 of 48
Why would they do that? Isn't the whole point of this experiment is so Facebook can skirt Apple's privacy restrictions?

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post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Siegler also took issue with an alleged spin campaign run by Facebook's public relations team in response to his original story. Facebook PR reportedly sent messages to other journalists pitching stories meant to serve as damage control. You guys should remind people that theres not much new in tonights TC story, one email read, while another suggested that the story was "wrongly positioning [Facebook] against other companies."

Facebook
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post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

Why would they do that? Isn't the whole point of this experiment is so Facebook can skirt Apple's privacy restrictions?

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Look at Apple vs Samsung, Adobe, etc.

The idea is to let Facebook run wild with HTML5, helping accelerate the shift away from Flash. Then when Facebook starts to mess with Apple, Apple will draw its sword.
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Look at Apple vs Samsung, Adobe, etc.

The idea is to let Facebook run wild with HTML5, helping accelerate the shift away from Flash. Then when Facebook starts to mess with Apple, Apple will draw its sword.

+1 ... and as I wrote a couple of days ago, I am not surprised Apple is helping FB move away from Adobe and Flash. And it surely isn't because of missed profits from those silly Flash games vs. apps.

It's now a matter of proving the point that SJ and Apple made regarding their early decision to dismiss Flash as "old tech" and not mobile friendly for the future, and not allowing it on their iOS devices. Once again, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's engineers had a copy of Flash to fool around with, or reverse-engineered it enough... to report back to SJ, that at no time in the near future will Flash EVER run efficiently battery and/or performance-wise on an ARM processor. Everybody just assumes that SJ and Apple were BSing and P-ing against the wind like all of the other tech-CEO's out there.

No. Apple knew 99% that Flash was going to be the noose that hung the other guys. And it has for the most part.

Look at RIM betting on Adobe Flash and Flex Apps; Google even integrating it in their Chrome OS and it not working as expected causing delays in getting the product to market; Motorola and Samsung releasing products (& making fools of themselves!) with devices that will UPDATE with Flash in the future. Where ARE all those iDevice killers with Flash as their core differentiating factor? In warehouses reported as "shipped products" with no sell-thru numbers to report (other than BOGO phones).

IF Flash would not be the doggie-poop-scoop-tech that it was and still is, Apple may have welcomed it, because they sure weren't locking out Flash because of the stupid execs, bloggers, rumor-mongers claiming Apple did it out of spite and greed motivation re: Flash games vs. app sales. Please!

"They" STILL don't get what Apple is about.

The App Stores ( and iTunes) help sell the hardware, where Apple makes their margins. Apple is also smart enough to NOT make it free, so that the stores cover their own costs of operation, and leave some left over for future expansion. Microsoft could learn something here, instead of creating money pits for years on end. Is this stuff not taught in schools in the US any more? Even MBA grad schools? Maybe because it's just so basic, maybe it's overlooked?

Short Adobe (ADBE).

EDIT: Sorry for the ramble! A far too long post backing up the assertion that Apple helping FB move away from Flash is the story here, and nothing else.
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post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

+1 ... and as I wrote a couple of days ago, I am not surprised Apple is helping FB move away from Adobe and Flash. And it surely isn't because of missed profits from those silly Flash games vs. apps.

It's now a matter of proving the point that SJ and Apple made regarding their early decision to dismiss Flash as "old tech" and not mobile friendly for the future, and not allowing it on their iOS devices. Once again, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's engineers had a copy of Flash to fool around with, or reverse-engineered it enough... to report back to SJ, that at no time in the near future will Flash EVER run efficiently battery and/or performance-wise on an ARM processor. Everybody just assumes that SJ and Apple were BSing and P-ing against the wind like all of the other tech-CEO's out there.

No. Apple knew 99% that Flash was going to be the noose that hung the other guys. And it has for the most part.

Look at RIM betting on Adobe Flash and Flex Apps; Google even integrating it in their Chrome OS and it not working as expected causing delays in getting the product to market; Motorola and Samsung releasing products (& making fools of themselves!) with devices that will UPDATE with Flash in the future. Where ARE all those iDevice killers with Flash as their core differentiating factor? In warehouses reported as "shipped products" with no sell-thru numbers to report (other than BOGO phones).

IF Flash would not be the doggie-poop-scoop-tech that it was and still is, Apple may have welcomed it, because they sure weren't locking out Flash because of the stupid execs, bloggers, rumor-mongers claiming Apple did it out of spite and greed motivation re: Flash games vs. app sales. Please!

"They" STILL don't get what Apple is about.

The App Stores ( and iTunes) help sell the hardware, where Apple makes their margins. Apple is also smart enough to NOT make it free, so that the stores cover their own costs of operation, and leave some left over for future expansion. Microsoft could learn something here, instead of creating money pits for years on end. Is this stuff not taught in schools in the US any more? Even MBA grad schools? Maybe because it's just so basic, maybe it's overlooked?

Short Adobe (ADBE).

EDIT: Sorry for the ramble! A far too long post backing up the assertion that Apple helping FB move away from Flash is the story here, and nothing else.

That's great, but we are still 3-5 years+ away from the point where web developers can confidently implement what they are doing now in Flash in HTML5. For most companies, it's not simply a matter of deciding "hey, today we will change to HTML5". There are massive workflow changes required, not to mention costly retraining.

HTML5 is also a minefield of compatibility issues. For every visitor with a browser capable of rendering your site, you might have three or four who can't see any of the content you've implemented. Those that can might see fonts that are different sizes, different weights or objects in the position the browser wants to put them, rather than what the developer specified.

Compare this to Flash where you can be 100% sure that your site looks the same in all browsers.

I don't want to buy a device that can't display the web pages I visit today in the hope that maybe the developer will add a workaround just for my device. By the time the internet has adopted HTML5 properly, it will be long obsolete.
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

I still don't understand what FaceBook is "escaping" by going HTML 5 over a native iOS app.

Think bigger. It's not just about apps. Let's say your Facebook. Now, you want to be bigger than Google. What do you do?

Photo hosting
Video hosting
Document hosting
Resume hosting
Events
Meetings
Games
Apps
News
Utilities
Productivity

And don't forget... Lots of ads.

Facebook kinda does some of these in some limited way, but the scope is there to be much bigger, and to be on every single platform available.
post #17 of 48
I don't really see what the surprise is here, like others already said: to Apple, anything that moves the world away from Flash, towards a solution that works well on iOS devices, is beneficial to Apple. It's not like Facebook would ever decide to shift their complete platform to only work on iOS, forcing every Facebook app developer to make native iOS applications. So HTML5 is the next best thing from Apples perspective. Apple knows they will never have Flash on iOS and Apple also knows they need to keep Facebook users on board, so helping out Facebook with an HTML5 based app platform is a win-win situation.

That said, right now HTML5 can not match Flash in functionality and performance, but I believe that will change quickly if decent content creation tools become available. In terms of the runtime, Flash is not that much different from JavaScript + HTML5 + CSS3 + Canvas + WebGL. It should be technically feasible to port most Flash applications with what we have already, assuming a capable browser to execute them, and good development tools to make the effort economically viable. Looks like Apple and Facebook are both trying to piece the different parts together, they would both benefit from it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13

I don't want to buy a device that can't display the web pages I visit today in the hope that maybe the developer will add a workaround just for my device. By the time the internet has adopted HTML5 properly, it will be long obsolete.

That's a really strange statement there, HTML5 isn't even finalized and you already assume it will be obsolete in 3-5 years? I think you are underestimating the push that companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are making for HTML5 right now, the rate at which they are improving their browsers and JavaScript engines right now has already closed most of the gaps between Flash and what you can do in any current WebKit-based browser today, and together with IE9 and Firefox 4+ you will have covered about 90% of all clients. All these browsers are very close to implementing all features relevant to interactive HTML5 based applications. The only things missing right now are content creation tools and some way for content providers to protect their content from people pirating it. Within 3-5 years (which is extremely long in internet time) there will be little reason left to use Flash, and compatibility between browsers and OS's will be close to what Flash offers today. The HTML 5 specs are supposed to fix all the incompatibilities between browsers, so I think you are wrong assuming HTML5 applications will have problems rendering or operating differently between browsers.
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

That said, right now HTML5 can not match Flash in functionality and performance

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/quake-...ews-33132.html

HTML5 + Javascript = Full 3D remake of Quake 2. Flash doing that? Please... flash can't even do 3D

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post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What I took from this article is Apple is helping Facebook remove their dependency on Adobe Flash. in favor of HTML5.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

I still don't understand what FaceBook is "escaping" by going HTML 5 over a native iOS app.

It's not profit - they can monitize a native app just as easily as the web - Apple has no restrictions or 30% cut on advertising, for example.

The media, including tech bloggers, like drama, so, where there really isn't any, they'll often manufacture it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

... Sorry, but Javascript apps will never touch ObjC/C/C++/ObjC++ performance, scalability and range of applications. It's never gonna happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... Siegler went on to suggest that, having seen some of the early Spartan apps, the likelihood that users would choose them over a native iPhone app is "laughable." ...

Confirmed.
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Confirmed.

I'd like to point out the post above yours, showing what a bit of HTML5 and JS can accomplish. Thats just as good as most FPS games in the App Store. You'll just be lacking the gyro and accelerometer.

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post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

That's great, but we are still 3-5 years+ away from the point where web developers can confidently implement what they are doing now in Flash in HTML5. For most companies, it's not simply a matter of deciding "hey, today we will change to HTML5". There are massive workflow changes required, not to mention costly retraining. ...

We can only hope that HTML5 never encourages developers to, "confidently implement what they are doing now in Flash," because the vast majority of what they are doing in Flash is horrible.

And, for most companies, those creating their web sites would be well advised to prepare now for the switch to HTML5, or find themselves out of work. This change is going to be driven by content owners, not content creators, and when the owners come to the realization that Flash is costing them revenue, they aren't going to be willing to wait for creators to "retrain".
post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

I'd like to point out the post above yours, showing what a bit of HTML5 and JS can accomplish. Thats just as good as most FPS games in the App Store. You'll just be lacking the gyro and accelerometer.

HTML5 is great, and a huge improvement over Flash, but there is always going to be a gap between what you can do in it and what you can do natively.
post #23 of 48
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post #24 of 48
I see... an inside job
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post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

What the hell are you rambling on about? Who the hell do you think brought HTML5 to the World? Apple. Dave Hyatt co-wrote the standard brought to the W3C.

According to Wikipedia, "Ian Hickson of Google, Inc., is the editor of HTML5." Of course they could be mistaken.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5
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post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

According to Wikipedia, "Ian Hickson of Google, Inc., is the editor of HTML5." Of course they could be mistaken.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5

Or, maybe you just don't know what that means.
post #27 of 48
Certainly possible. Do you know what it means? Honest question.
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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Certainly possible. Do you know what it means? Honest question.

I think he means there's a difference between author and editor.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

I think he means there's a difference between author and editor.

Are they mutually exclusive? According to this article, David Hyatt (w/Apple) is also an Editor for HTML5? I just don't find any source that says Apple created HTML5.
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post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

[...] Facebook has "pissed off" Apple in the past and suffered repercussions as a result. According to the report, Facebook is scared of Apple and has to "tread lightly." [...]

Way back in the day at Macworld NY in 2000, ATI published a press release stating that their new Radeon graphics cards would be installed in three new Mac models. Two days before Steve Jobs' keynote. Steve was so angry about this that he removed any mention of ATI or Radeon from his keynote. He also ordered all Radeon cards to be replaced with other cards in all Macs on the show floor, and all signage at the Apple both had the words "ATI" and "Radeon" blacked out. It took years for the Apple - ATI relationship to warm up again.

In 2005, Motorola did such a bad job designing, building, and marketing the first "iTunes phone" (the ROKR) that it was a sales dud. Steve said as little as possible about it, saying far more about the new iPod nano that was released at the same time. Moto, you could have evolved ROKR into iPhone if you hadn't pissed Steve off.

It really feels like Facebook pissed Steve off too. They're doing extremely well in an area where Apple is doing very poorly: social networking. Ping just isn't cutting it, Apple and Facebook know it, and Facebook is using that as a bargaining tool.

No big deal for Apple. Safari renders Facebook.com just fine. The real big deal is that Apple can now leverage iOS installed base and Facebook's popularity against Flash. iOS + HTML5 on Facebook will help speed up the inevitable decline and fall of Flash.

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post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

... flash can't even do 3D

Flash can indeed "do" 3D:

Molehill

away3d
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Are they mutually exclusive? According to this article, David Hyatt (w/Apple) is also an Editor for HTML5? I just don't find any source that says Apple created HTML5.

I don't think Apple exclusively created HTML5. No one is saying that. But he definitely contributed to HTML5 in addition to Google's Ian Hickson. And anyway, no one could've created HTML5, because it's an evolution of previous HTML language versions.
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

I don't think Apple exclusively created HTML5. No one is saying that. But he definitely contributed to HTML5 in addition to Google's Ian Hickson. And anyway, no one could've created HTML5, because it's an evolution of previous HTML language versions.

Which is why I had questioned MDriftMeyer's statement earlier in the thread, leading Anonymouse to suggest I didn't understand:
"Who the hell do you think brought HTML5 to the World? Apple."
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post #34 of 48
Sorry to all the people bothering with this "Spartan" project but history shows us that if Apple has done something and you are playing catch-up, you've left it too late.

Apple has fingers in many pies and makes many different products.
Facebook is a 1 trick pony that makes money by pushing adverts at you and selling your information to other companies.

Facebook may be worth a lot of money now but then, so was Myspace. Once everyone has joined Facebook and got bored of the few things it offers, it will start to die.
But not before it has helped kill off flash so lets just say that FB is a martyr and took one for the team.
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Habañero View Post

Flash can indeed "do" 3D:

Molehill

away3d

Ironically, I can't get neither of these two things to work on my MBP with Flash player 10.whatever

The video looks nice though, but as far as I can see this is all pre-beta stuff that has been in development for ages (the away3d site says the first version was in 2007) and yet it's still not mainstream. It's all nice and dandy that Adobe can pull off some pretty crazy stuff with Flash, but as long as it's all experimental and in a completely controlled environment, it doesn't mean much to me. Just looking at how much trouble Adobe has supporting more than the Windows runtime and the Android runtime for a few Android phones, I don't expect any of this 3D stuff to work across the board on any device with Flash before the year 2020.

Anyway, I don't see why you would even want to write high-end 3D games in something like Flash or HTML5, even though it's technically possible. It's a waste of processing power.
post #36 of 48
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post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by holy_steven View Post

What I get from it is that Apple will not enable full HTML5 to everybody, unless they get a cut just like with the iOS apps. Talking about the full web and open standards. Just like in the beginning that only Apple apps could work on the background of iOS.

Then you need to work on both your reading comprehension and general technical knowledge...
post #38 of 48
HTML 5 is the new standard and most websites offer both.

Nowadays there are very few websites which you can't view a videos, Flash is dying and only good for ads and porn and those who refuse to adopt HTML 5 to reach out to the IOS devices. Their refusal to do so is their loss.
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Which is why I had questioned MDriftMeyer's statement earlier in the thread, leading Anonymouse to suggest I didn't understand:
"Who the hell do you think brought HTML5 to the World? Apple."

Hyatt wrote the initial spec, brought it to Google's Ian Hickson who both extended it with the rest of the community. Hickson is now the point man editor of the spec after they brought it out for general consumption and after Dave resigned.

Hyatt also created XUL, XBL adn co-created Firefox before leaving to work on WebKit at Apple.

He was the editor of HTML 5 until 2010.

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/...0Apr/0096.html
post #40 of 48
The beauty of Flash is that it was where most of the adverts resided and so it was very easy to hid the ads.


With HTML 5 the adverts return with vengeance.
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