“While it’s hard to argue with Apple’s success with native apps thus far, the momentum among developers is with web apps. It’s just too costly and complicated to build and maintain a mature app natively for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and whatever other niche OSes developers or their clients want to reach,” Rameet Chawla writes for Forbes. “My prediction is within five years, anyone who buys a non-iOS device is going to buy a Chrome OS device, and web apps are going to run on all of them. As developers abandon the native app ship in favor of web apps, how will Apple maintain a rich ecosystem of apps that run on its devices?”

“Apple has two nonexclusive options. Most urgently, Apple can empower web apps within iOS. Make them first-class citizens right alongside native apps. Within reasonable limits for security and stability, let web apps call on resources, information, and other apps that will let them do everything that native apps can,” Chawla writes. “Apple, under CEO Tim Cook, is making moves in this direction, souping up the browser’s JavaScript engine and opening up a little more access for web apps.

“Second, in the long term, Apple needs to come up with a competitor to Chrome OS. And the company needs to build a browser-based operating system that works across all of Apple’s devices, from desktops and laptops to tablets and phones to watches and other wearable devices. There are signs that Apple is already taking steps in this direction with the release of Swift, a new programming language for iOS that will eventually replace Objective-C. Though Swift apps are presently compiled for distribution, they can already be run live without compiling in a Playground in Xcode, Apple’s development environment,” Chawla writes. “I believe Apple is using this as a bridge to a future of non-compiled apps that can be distributed and deployed live, much like a web app is today.”

“Note that neither of these strategies require Apple to demolish the garden walls and embrace Google-style promiscuity,” Chawla writes. “That’s not Apple’s way, and it doesn’t have to be.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.