back to article Apple's HTML5 'standards' hype debunked

Apple is hyping HTML5 again, this time with a new website purporting to show open web development in action. But the company's standards-following rivals have pointed out the Jobsian site is peddling nonsense. Today, Apple posted an HTML 5 Showcase demonstrating video, graphics, and typography built with HTML5, the related …


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  1. RePreGister

    CSS != HTML5

    "CSS is a member of a family of related HMTL5 technologies that includes Web Workers to run tasks in the background of a browser, Web Storage to store string data in a key-value pair database, and Web Sockets for server communications."

    Correction: CSS is not part of HTML5.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re-read the passage you quoted

      At no point does it say CSS is part of HTML5. It says it is a related technology.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Related HTML5 technologies

        It says "related HMTL5 technologies".

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re-re-read it

        It says it is a "related HTML5 technology". By any normal parsing of English prose, both related and HTML5 are adjectives and modify the expression to their right, which makes CSS an HTML5 technology (related to something mentioned earlier). Now, if the article had said "related-to-HTML5 technology" then you might have had a point, but I'd hope the El Reg style manual would barf at such phrasing.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Safari the new IE6

    Also to blast Flash whilst using bloated languages like Javascript and CSS? Heh.

    Duly piss off Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Actually, JavaScript and CSS are not at all "bloated". In fact, have you seen the performance gains for JavaScript in browsers lately? They are actually compiling it to native code.

      Your ignorance is astounding.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the apple site:

    These web standards are open, reliable, highly secure, and efficient......and not finished

    HTML5 - not finished (and a loooong way off)

    CSS3 - not finished, and yet loads of web devs seem to be jumping on the bandwagon, without thinking 'hmm, i wonder why I have to prefix everything with -moz- or -webkit-'.


    1. FailedTrolleyStacker

      That's because they won't be finished until implemented

      Well these "standards" a first of all only recommendations. Secondly they only become recommendations once they have been implemented fully. ie in bout 10 years time... It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation really. It's why we had all the proprietory browser tags in the 90s. The standards took to long to adapt to the real world.

  4. Mage


    seems much better than the earlier embedded Application.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Anyone emailed Steve Jobs about this?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "meter tags"

    We have to pay for HTML5 now?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is not a facetious question

    What is HTML 5 bringing to the party that will displace flash, apart from a video tag? Flash was around before youtube, it has not always been about playing videos, and I suspect its uses will evolve into more than that.

    When Stevey boy wonder (it's what he likes me to call him) says HTML5 will replace flash, is he just talking video?

    I really do not understand this. I haven't had time to look into what will actually be there in HTML 5, so maybe there's a whole host of additional features, but I can't see it providing the functionality as easily as that I can currently get from silverlight (and I assume flash).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Missing the point

      Flash is a dead end.

      HTML5 video is actually integrated into the browser rather than running as a separate application. That opens up for totally new possibilities interacting with video. You can use CSS, SVG, JS, etc. to interface with the video!

      1. morphoyle


        Only the ignorant think that Flash is all about video

        1. FailedTrolleyStacker

          Well it is increasingly on the web

          Does anybody still do anything with flash on the web other than videos and games (and third rate websites)? So yes, on the web, flash is all about video. And games, but that's less important than video.

    2. Sim~

      taking your Q on the face of it

      The next set of standards will allow developers to drop the flash plugin for video players, audio players, complex animation, 3D graphics and even the plugin itself (I've seen Javascript RENDERED flash - authored by an Ads agency).

  8. Rolf Howarth

    Own goal

    I think Apple have a valid point and HTML5 and open standards are the future, and Safari is a VERY complete and capable HTML5 implementation, but cheap tricks such as using browser sniffing to prevent the page running in other browsers are just that, a cheap trick, and don't do them any favours.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Own goal

      They're worse than that. They create a presumption of dishonesty around whatever it was that Apple were trying to say. Unless someone now steps forward and provides evidence to the contrary, the only reasonable assumption is that Safari's HTML5 support is actually inferior to its competitors and Apple have had to cheat.

      I thought Apple were supposed to be *good* at marketing?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Own goal?

        They are good at marketing.

        Downside: pisses off a few techies.

        Upside: gets great unwashed to click "Download Safari" button en masse.

        It's the great unwashed they're after. They know damned well that those with enough savvy to spot the con aren't their target customer base anyway. The likes of us don't need "just works", aren't prepared to pay extra for it or put up with the straightjacketing. We're quite happy to save a few quid and go with "will work perfectly well if treated with a bit of common sense".

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Own Goal?

          Definitely. Apple figured out a long time ago that anyone who knows anything about technology will avoid their products like the plague. What they saw was the path Nintendo was taking in the gaming community. Namely, screw the community, we'll go after everyone else without a brain.

          Apple products are like a Wii... kind of fun when drunk at a party, but severely technologically inferior, with a high possibility of breaking something or embarrassing yourself during use.

          On top of all of that though is their "hey if we lie to their faces they'll be too stupid to know" marketing style. They use the exact same tactic as virus and malware users do. "If we throw a little popup up and say WARNING YOU MUST DO THIS and make it look all official, people will download whatever damaging software we choose".

  9. M Gale

    Reminds me of that IE8 competition.. remember? The one that said it needed IE8 to experience the WONDER of the new site? The one that could be tricked by futzing with your user-agent string?

    Wonder if a Firefox (or worse, Konqueror with all its Linux connotations) browser user ended up winning that $10k?

    Interoperability my arse.

  10. Malcolm 1

    Try the demos here

    The really stupid thing is that the same demos are available from the safari developer website without the browser check:

    All work find on Chrome for instance (apart from the video one that needs a quicktime codec - why not the much lauded h264?). Apparently Firefox also works quite well.

    Someone should explain the meaning of the word standards to whatever marketing wonk thought this was a good idea.

    1. George of the Jungle

      Things have changed

      I just tried the link provided. They must have changed it since Friday as it is now doing a Safari check when you try to run a demo. This was on my Windows/Firefox box at work.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Have a little sympathy...

    ...for the poor guys in the office.

    Would you want to be the one explaining to Skeletor that HTML5 isn't what he thinks it is, is a year off being completed and actually most Flash video is using h.264 at the moment anyway.

    ...then you're ordered to produce a showcase site demonstrating how great HTML5 is.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Having difficulty suppressing my contempt for Apple...

    Don't. Let fly like Jobs.

  13. James Foster
    Jobs Horns


    HTML 5 is a half baked techology right now. The spec is not completed never mind implemented. Flash does have some problems. But it is still very useful. Especially to advertisers. And for us it is very useful for streaming video. And it is cross platform.

    Flash won't be dead for maybe another 5 years.

    Open means whatever Jobs wants it to mean.

    Also Flash will be on Android, MeeGo, Windows Phone and other platforms.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "[Flash] is still very useful. Especially to advertisers."

      is that supposed to be a good thing?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Apple talking crap again..

    of course the iTards will lap it up, I mean why would tha nice Mr Jobs feed up with untruths? However anyone with ANY common sense will ask how comes this does not work with Opera 10.5 when it's WAY more HTML5, CSS3 and SVG compliant than any Apple offering (and any Mozilla or Google offering for that matter too)

  15. Chas

    Yet more whining from the Apple bashers

    We can all agree that HTML5/CSS3 is a work in progress. Apple have created a showcase that presents the _potential_ that this emerging standard is capable of, but instead of giving a little credit where credit is due, other browser vendors start bitching that Apple locks them out by browser sniffing. Well there's a bloody good reason: other browsers don't yet support HTML5/CSS3 to the same level as Safari and Apple, quite rightly IMO, don't want the users to experience a broken demo. Most users wouldn't understand why it didn't work when using their preferred browser

    The point about H.264 is a complete red herring: the article seems to imply that only H.264 videos can be used with the new <video> tag. Crap! You can use WebM and Theora if you want and no doubt other formats will make an appearance. Why shouldn't Apple showcase the very video format they helped create?

    Rather than whinge like a bunch of snivelling schoolkids, why don't Mozilla, Opera et al create their own showcases? Let's see how good their support for these new standards is. Perhaps some enterprising developer might care to try and create a vendor-neutral version of Apple's showcase so we can truly compare how well current browsers handle these new standards. I suspect it won't be as good as Safari.


    1. Eddy Ito

      But it works fine

      I switched Firefox's user agent string to appear to be an iphone 3 and most of it worked just fine. It did spit an error telling me I needed quicktime and to download it, which is odd since it actually is installed. If something else didn't work, I didn't find it during my brief test. There you have it, all anyone has to do to make a "vendor-neutral" version is strip out the user agent sniffer from the javascript file. Besides, if it didn't work in other browsers it would be more impressive to point out those things that don't work and say "X, Y, & Z" are much cooler when viewed with Safari... I wonder why they don't.

    2. Player_16

      Ever notice...

      ...that most of these 'Apple Bashers' are Anonymous Cowards?


      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Oh nooooo...

        Anonymous critique is one of the foundations of free speech.

        However I quite happily bash apple with my name visible for all to see.

        1. Steve Roper
          Thumb Up

          ...I quite happily bash apple with my name visible...

          As do I.

      2. GeorgeTuk

        Thats because they scour the web for Apple guff

        And then when they find out they can post they will, always supporting Apple.

        Thats why I am scared they will do similar to this and Adobe bashing and fanbois plus the casual market will just take it as truth.

      3. Geoffrey W


        And Player_16 is your real name, Mr anonymous Fanboi?

        1. Player_16
          Paris Hilton

          And your...

 question to me to see if that's my real name? Duh.?

          1. Ben Tasker

            Your Name

            A sane person might just conclude that it's a sarcastic point. Posting under a pseudonym does somewhat undermine your point about A/C's.

            I'll agree that I don't know why so many people use A/C nowadays, but I'd guess it may be something to do with being at work.

            Re the article: To me it's an underhanded tactic, other browsers support HTML 5 so why limit it to Safari? Oh... of course, to try and trick users into downloading Safari because it's the only standards compliant browser.

      4. Big-nosed Pengie



    3. heyrick Silver badge

      @ Chas

      You miss the point somewhat. Apple is promoting a luxurious vision of an open Internet with clear sane standards that "just work"...

      ...using a video codec that is "free for now" (you can't underestimate the levity of those final two words, "for now")...

      ...and it only works (without dicking around) on Apple's own Safari browser. The fact that a comment below mentions that it (mostly?) works by screwing with the UserAgent suggests that this is a fairly deliberate bit of pro-Safari advertising being passed off a a public service announcement. The hypocracy is rather comical.

      As for a vendor-neutral version - firstly didn't other commentator say it tried to look for Quicktime? Oh, wait, is that a plug-in I see? If you wanna play H.264 why not just do it like 99% of the web and use Flash? <grin> But more importantly, would Apple waive copyright and such over a properly open reworking of their demo? After all, they could have done exactly that themselves. So either their webdevs are too lame to try, or there's a not terribly well hidden agenda thing going on.


      The single vendor standard...


      If the demo is broken then the whole notion of HTML5 as a proper open standard is broken. The fact that other browsers and other vendors aren't locked out is the entire point. The only thing such a demo demonstrates is the potential for Apple to abuse and subvert standards.

      The other browser vendors are rightfully annoyed.

  16. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Apple propaganda website only works in safari!

    And nothing of value was lost.

  17. raving angry loony


    Seems like Apple is getting to be more and more like Microsoft, and Jobs is finally channelling more and more of whatever it was Gates was channelling. Possibly Hastur, although some might argue for Yog Sothoth. Ego the size of a planet, and ethics undetectable by a quantum microscope.

  18. Kanhef

    Works fine in OmniWeb

    Well, except for the VR part. If there's any user-agent sniffing, it's looking for WebKit, not Safari specifically. Apple's own guidelines strongly encourage checking browser capabilities dynamically, not by sniffing.

  19. Matware
    Jobs Halo

    @Chas. Well that would make the site a Safari demo, not a HTML 5 demo then

    But most of it works ok in Chrome with a user agent switcher, and isn't that much more exciting than various jquery demos.

    At least sites like have the good grace to let you give them a go in your browser of choice, or kindly explain why it won't work.

  20. Ian Davies

    Some truth...

    ...but some nonsense.

    Apple's use of the h.264 codec doesn't make it non-standard, because a standard codec was never agreed upon and is not part of the html5 spec. The <video> tag is.

    All these demo's *don't* "work fine" on Chrome (even excluding the video demo for the reason above). How are those 3D transforms working out for you on Chrome?

    Gruber makes a valid point:

    The gallery should probably be called "Safari Showcase" or better yet "Stuff you can do without Flash".

    And yes, the conflation of HTML5 and CSS3 is unhelpful and (deliberately?) confusing.

    1. sandshark

      Use latest version

      Are you using the latest chrome dev build? (unstable channel).

      I think thats where all the fun stuff is and also what you need to use Websockets for example.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Gates Halo

      Gruber's valid point

      Yes. contains lots of examples. After all it is where the <video> tag debuted.

      HTML5 isn't complete and Apple's support for it (especially the new form widgets) isn't complete either.

      The demo is seductive but poorly implemented. At least the IE 9 showcase doesn't really on browser sniffing to work.

  21. mfraz

    Try Konqueror

    I've got most of them to work here with Konqueror by installing kpart-webkit and changing view mode to webkit. Video won't work as it is H.264 though.

  22. jacksite

    EPIC fail

    Thing is, the iphone/ipod touch is crap at rendering these demo's. The 360 demo is the worst, The frame rate is slow, it takes a age to do anything. And this is on a 3gs iPhone and a 3G iPod Touch.

  23. lucmars

    Embrace, Block them and Dictact

    EBD, the new startegy after EEE?

  24. Psycho Flump

    Not standards yet

    I won't be using HTML5 until it's a finalised standard, same goes for CSS3. As for Video embedded with Flash, I will be continuing to use that too. I remember the days before Flash video when the choices were; Quicktime (supported on Apple's and a few Windows based users who installed QT), WMV (Windows only) or Real video (just crap all round).

  25. BenDwire Silver badge

    It's simpler than that

    I can't help thinking that this is a media storm to appease all the iPad/iPhone users whose mates point out that their new "Shineys" won't render half of the internet. This 'demonstration' gives them the opportunity to go "Ahh, but look at this! Marvel at what will happen when the rest of the internet catches up with us!"

    TBH I don't care either way, but we do need extremists to push technology. I can't imagine any ElReg reader would defend Flash applications as being the best in the world - I've had far too many browser crashes (all of them apart from Safari, of course*). The only thing wrong with the H.264 bit of HTML5 is nothing technological, it's just that the big boys have included the ability to demand money out of the rest of the playground.

    All standards (in all walks of life) should be fully open, royalty free and promote competion for the benefit of the consumers. If there were less greed around this could be possible...

    * Safari? Never bothered using it.

    1. GeorgeTuk

      I agree with top paragraph... is to allow them to gloat a little bit, whether 100% accurate or not. And really who of the casual buyers is going to know (or care) about the technical difference.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Innovation by theft

    Of course, the Mac cult will see this as another example of innovation.

    Why don't the rest of the people GET IT and see Apple for the genius it is?!? This is just another example of Apple breaking new ground, just like they invented the mp3 player, the smart phone, and the table. Nobody else ever THOUGHT of doing this! They are clearly the first! Everybody else are just jealous geeks who don't have the cool white ear buds.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Hold on there!

      I have cool white earbuds. I got them from a friend with an ipod who found them uncomfortable. I have to say he was right, they are. But until I'm annoyed enough to replace the ones the cat chewed, they'll do.

    2. Adam Salisbury


      Couldn't resisting pointing out that the sound quality those 'cool' white earbuds is unforgivable anyway, check the feline mastication hasn't in fact improved them!

  27. Havin_it


    Results using Firefox 3.6.3 on Win 7 (pretending to be Safari 4.0.4 on Win 7):

    Video - No (duh)

    Typography - partial

    Gallery - No (degrades semi-gracefully, at least)

    Transitions - No

    Audio - No (wants Quicktime. What codec?)

    360° - Yes (quite impressive this one)

    VR - No

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nice test...

      But the 360° one you say is quite impressive is a very simple VR-style image flipper - it would be cool if it were real-time, but it's not - it's a set of 72 pre-rendered images, as far as I can see.

      It probably wouldn't take that much effort, with a bit of jQuery trickery, to make that one work in IE6!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Define "plugin"

    HTML 5 video doesn't need a plugin, it just needs you to use a different browser for different sites? Get real!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Typical Apple BS

    The story claims that the Apple HTML5 tests actually only use the audio and video tags for HTML5...the issue is that unless you install Quicktime as well, Safari can't even handle these tags. The browser doesn't support HTML5 very much at all, and they simply hiding behing typical Apple marketting bullshit. Adding also that Apple have barred other browsers which actually support HTML5 better than Safari from the tests on the site, it's nothing but typical Apple smoke and mirrors.

  30. dave 93

    Some nice demos of HTML 5 <canvas>

  31. Carol Orlowski

    Correction: CSS vs. Javascript

    "CSS is a member of a family of related HMTL5 technologies that includes Web Workers to run tasks in the background of a browser, Web Storage to store string data in a key-value pair database, and Web Sockets for server communications."

    Web workers, web storage, and web sockets are not CSS technologies. They are JavaScript technolgoies. These three technologies aren't even closely related to CSS other than the fact that they're all handled by a browser.

    1. IndianaJ

      I thought that too

      But re-read it. It does make sense. The relation is to the 'related HTML5 technologies' part, not to CSS.

  32. Adair Silver badge


    So, it's happened at last---Microsoft has been knocked off its perch.

    Apple is the new M$, and instead of, 'Embrace, extend, extinguish', we are now blessed with, 'Initiate, inhibit, infantilise'.

    Big business, as usual.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    As my friends who work at Apple like to say

    You can tell when Jobs is BSing by the fact that his lips are moving.

  34. Law
    Paris Hilton

    yup - got a good laugh from the site Friday late afternoon

    The one I love the most is the 3D "rendering" demo... the one that shows the next image in an array when moving left to right with the mouse... it was appalling... the whole thing was pointless, it wasn't really html 5, and there was absolutely no reason for force me to use Safari again for it... Apple keep pulling these dumb stunts, and the more they do the close I get to just selling my macbook pro, never mind updating to a new one.

    Paris - because at least she doesn't pretend to be a genius while spouting bollocks.

  35. Paul

    but apple fans won't care about the bollox

    in my experience, apple fans are completely blind to any attempt at a reasonable discussion, and the more you try and find out why they toe the line on the jobsian myth of perfection, the less they explain and the more they push back with accusations of you being an "apple hater"

    kind of like the christian fundamentalists in the USA vs the scientific community.

  36. Matthew 17
    Thumb Down

    Reg fail

    So you want to view a demo written for Safari on a 3rd party browser and moan when it doesn't work?

    This constant bashing of anything that isn't Ubuntu is getting a little tired, perhaps you should change the record.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Matthew 17

      I'd say get ready for a barrage of downvotes, but the trolls usually are straight on to these stories so they can downvote and move on to spread more of their ignorant and offensive carnage on this site and others.

      Amazing that people who are technically literate (or at least claim this) don't understand the purpose of a fucking demo. It's not Apple's proprietary standard and Apple isn't responsible for other browsers. The standard is not ratified, the purpose of this is merely to demonstrate some of the things that can happen.

      I'd like to see the other browser manufacturers set up similar demonstrations to illustrate the art of the possible, try and inspire others. Should they then be obligated to ensure the demo works on Safari? Not one fucking reason why they should.

      But, I'm sure if they did the comments on here would be, "Safari isn't supporting HTML5" or some other Apple bashing ignorant rant.

      1. adrian sietsma

        Get a clue

        You say "Apple isn't responsible for other browsers".

        This "demo" is HARD-CODED to only run on Safari/Webkit, and misleadingly implies that other browsers aren't HTML5 compliant enough to run it.

        Apple marketing BS obviously works, though, judging by your post.

        I use a multitude of products from a multitude of vendors, all with good and bad points, and admit they all have failings. Why are so many Apple purchasers so prone to get all frothy and angry when Apple kit is criticized ? Too much "I am what I buy" identification ?

      2. JohnN
        Thumb Down

        Art of the possible

        "I'd like to see the other browser manufacturers set up similar demonstrations to illustrate the art of the possible, try and inspire others. Should they then be obligated to ensure the demo works on Safari? Not one fucking reason why they should"

        What total crap. Every company promotes their own strengths - but even M$ and the chocolate factory don't bother blocking other people's browsers. - javascript and canvas "art of the possible" - HTML5, CSS, SVG "art of the possible"

        Yes, they both work (mainly) in Safari

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What? You mean like...

        The site is by google, but the demo's are by many different people. And the few I could be bothered to try worked fine in Safari.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Doesn't work

      But surely for a demo, you'd want it to be viewable on other browsers so you can show that browser "x" (your product) is better? Assuming it is of course!

      If testing a website, do you just test it ONLY your browser of choice? No, because that's not what everyone is using.

  37. takuhii

    Doing a Microsoft!!1!

    LOL. This just crashes my copy of Safari!!

    This is very reminiscent of the old Microsoft; the internet our way and only using our technology approach of IE5.5/IE6.

    Apple appear to have initiated the Douche protocol

    HTML5 will be nice when it's finialised and implemented/supported properly. All this we'll only support these elements, while another browser will only support those elements is going to ruin it.

    I recently wrote a HTML5 video implemention script in jQuery, which has necessary fallbacks depending on what technology you are using, what should be a; <VIDEO>...</VIDEO> type affair has MUTATED into a massive script that utilises QT, MP4, OGG, FLASH, VIDEO tags, and a JPG/TXT area for appropriate messaging...

    i like HTML5 because it tells the browser what to do and not the other way round. They should then say YOU WILL use these codecs. It's tough if you don't like them, we're trying to standardise things here and you're all f*cking it up!!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if?

    Has anyone tried to recompile a browser to fool the demo site that is Safari that is talking to, not something else? It would prove that Apple employed a stunt.

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