Busy making things: github, links, photos, @mc.

Accessing iPhone built in services from Safari

Posted: June 12th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Apple, Mobile | 45 Comments »

During the iPhone demo at yesterday’s WWDC keynote, we saw several examples of accessing the iPhone‘s built in apps and services. I thought I’d go through the demoed features and break ‘em down a little:

Tap on a phone number to call

This technology dates back to the wtai:// pragma from the WAP/WML dark ages and has since been codified with the tel: uri scheme as outlined in RFC 3966. The tel: scheme is used with XHTML MP and existing mobile browsers (here’s an example from one of Brain Fling’s presentations). I would hope for consistency sake that Apple makes use of tel: but there’s a chance they might go for the unstandardized-but-used-a-lot callto: instead. The callto: scheme is used by Microsoft Netmeeting and Skype on most desktop systems.

Tap on an email address to invoke the native mail client

It’s mailto: folks, let’s move along.

Tap on an address to launch the Google Maps app

I’m assuming that this is being handled via a proprietary URI scheme which the Google Maps app is registered to. I can’t tell you if it’s going to be gmaps:// or something else, but it’s going to be as simple as creating a link to gmaps://q=20+Infinite+Loop+Cupertino,+CA (or something very similar). This functionality is the most intriguing to me as a geowanker, but my gut tells me that it just boils down to a URL scheme.

During the demo, leaving the Google Maps app returned to the home screen instead of going back to Safari, so an extra click was required to get back to the Safari webapp. No big deal, just an interesting tidbit.

So what’s the takeaway for a developer looking to target the iPhone? The long and short of it is that nothing’s really changed since before WWDC. Write yourself a webapp and target the iPhone. What about access to all those built in services and apps? The good news is that it’s nothing special, it’s stuff you’re used to dealing with, and (with the exception of a new uri scheme for Google Maps) there’s really nothing new here. The bad news? It’s nothing special, it’s stuff you’re used to dealing with, and (with the exception of a new uri scheme for Google Maps) there’s really nothing new here.

Update: Apple has released developer notes for the iPhone. The winners are tel:, mailto:, and (interestingly) they’re just hijacking calls to maps.google.com and sending them over to the google maps app.


45 Comments on “Accessing iPhone built in services from Safari”

  1. 1 Rob Goodlatte said at 12:55 pm on June 12th, 2007:

    It would be interesting if they recognized something like Microformats in addition to proprietary standards. Also, for phone numbers they could just use a regular expression checker like the Treo does.

  2. 2 Matt Croydon said at 1:35 pm on June 12th, 2007:

    Rob,

    Indeed! Good call.

  3. 3 Manas said at 5:54 pm on June 12th, 2007:

    iPhone @ WWDC – Why are they not loving it?…

    I don’t get why the world is not in love with the iPhone even more. Yeah I know, that’s almost impossible. But what is this outrage over no SDK? It takes Web Apps and AJAX apps. Waitaminnit -
    We can write our own apps on our favorite phon…

  4. 4 Kev said at 9:57 pm on June 13th, 2007:

    If Safari is the platform, then Apple also needs to give out CSS styles, icons, backgrounds, etc to match the iPhone look. Otherwise there’s going to be a hodgepodge.

    It’s just common sense.

  5. 5 Dudley said at 4:29 am on June 14th, 2007:

    Rob, while microformats are fine and good, I greatly dislike the idea of a regex checker. Nothing but nothing about a browser, should automatically scan through your webpage and alter the page, purely to add something the developer did not intend. A good developer should all the phone link themselves. We don’t rightly know where Flash stands, but honestly, I feel strongly that developers have fallen asleep MOSTLY because of lame, crippled, browsers on mobile phones (like the Treo).

    Does anyone realize you can reproduce the game Wolfenstein 3D or Doom in Safari, right now, with sounds and animation, without using Flash? I mean, IE has really blinded people to what can be done inside a browser today. Parallax scrolling, bezier curves, etc. I agree with Kev though. Scott Forstall, as VP of platform experience, should be “helping” people along by giving out DEV “packs” of graphics, etc. I didn’t attend WWDC, so maybe they wanted very badly to give developers bang for their buck without completely sharing it with the world too quickly.

    I’m personally hoping it might be possible to specify or automatically understand the orientation of the screen on the iPhone. I’m sure Window size would do it, but it’d be great if Safari let off an “event” when the browser orientation is changed.

    http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Category:Canvas_examples

  6. 6 Kevin said at 2:31 pm on June 15th, 2007:

    Just a note. On Windows CE devices, when you change the screen orientation, the browser sends a normal window resize event. This makes perfect sense.

    We use this in our internal web applications… depending on orientation, our menus either are at the bottom (portrait mode) or on the side (landscape mode).

    Regards.

  7. 7 The reason for no iPhone SDK, Apple makes money from iTunes « Put Together Quickly by Michael Biven said at 10:51 am on June 18th, 2007:

    [...] I still have a few of questions I’ve still not seen answered yet. Will the iPhone services include access to the camera and will terminal.app be included if it is a full version of OS X like Steve says? Since most of the other services look to be just mailto: and callto: URIs and there is already some ways to access the iSight camera in Safari I’m hopeful that the services will include access to it. [...]

  8. 8 Rich said at 1:43 pm on June 25th, 2007:

    Just wondering, is there a simple way to determine whether or not the browser rendering your page understands the different schemes (“tel:…” or “gmaps:…”).

    I’d like to take advantage of these if the browser supports it, but leave telephone numbers “as is” (purely static text) if the browser will not know how to handle it.

    I was poking around and couldn’t find a way in JavaScript to determine browser support for a given scheme. Any ideas?

  9. 9 xeegvhyylb said at 2:23 pm on June 26th, 2007:

    Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! rtvjxpnbvq

  10. 10 Jeff Croft said at 10:46 am on July 4th, 2007:

    Matt, I noticed Apple also hijacks links to youtube.com and opens the YouTube app. I think both this and the Google Maps bit is pretty smart, UI-wise. The built-in apps are clearly better experiences on the iPhone than going to those websites would be.

  11. 11 mulacorulafaxekucn said at 3:51 am on July 28th, 2007:

    mulacorulafaxekucn…

    nice post…

  12. 12 Taylor said at 1:29 am on August 10th, 2009:

    Taylor…

    once again i outdid myself…

  13. 13 Lyle said at 2:09 am on August 10th, 2009:

    Lyle…

    this is why i always pick my nose….

  14. 14 Fatima said at 3:44 am on August 10th, 2009:

    Fatima…

    once again i outdid myself…

  15. 15 Jerrold Pelletier said at 11:29 pm on December 24th, 2010:

    ftw :D

    chat city

  16. 16 Mohamed said at 11:20 pm on December 28th, 2010:

    Hey , are you sure???

    berlin chat

  17. 17 Lance said at 9:38 pm on January 4th, 2011:

    Earnest ROCKS???

    porno

  18. 18 weight loss pills said at 11:41 pm on January 19th, 2011:

    I feel that may be a captivating point, it made me think a bit. Thank you for sparking my pondering cap. Every now and then I am getting such a lot in a rut that I just feel like a record.

  19. 19 QROPS said at 1:56 am on January 21st, 2011:

    Good issues?I’d note that as somebody who truly doesn’t write on blogs so much (in truth, this can be my first post), I don’t suppose the term ‘lurker’ could be very changing into to a non-posting reader. It’s not your fault in the slightest degree , but most likely the blogosphere could come up with a better, non-creepy title for the ninety% people that experience reading the content .

  20. 20 badge lanyards said at 1:09 am on January 22nd, 2011:

    Thanks for making the sincere strive to give an explanation for this. I feel very robust about it and want to be informed more. If it’s OK, as you reach more in depth wisdom, may you mind including extra posts similar to this one with additional info? It could be extremely helpful and helpful for me and my colleagues.

  21. 21 Bankruptcy Attorneys NYC said at 12:06 pm on January 22nd, 2011:

    I’ve been studying your entries all over my morning holiday, and I will have to admit the entire article has been very enlightening and really well written. I thought I would will let you understand that for a few reason this blog does now not view neatly in Internet Explorer 8. I want Microsoft may stop converting their software. I have a query for you. Might you thoughts changing blog roll hyperlinks? That may be really neat!

  22. 22 Lea said at 4:24 am on January 23rd, 2011:

    Gwen ftw…

    kostenlos gb bilder

  23. 23 Hip Hop News said at 6:40 am on January 23rd, 2011:

    I have been studying your entries all the way through my morning holiday, and I should admit the entire article has been very enlightening and rather well written. I assumed I’d allow you to understand that for some reason why this weblog does not view smartly in Internet Explorer 8. I wish Microsoft would prevent converting their software. I have a question for you. May you thoughts exchanging weblog roll links? That would be truly neat!

  24. 24 reverse osmosis said at 11:06 pm on January 23rd, 2011:

    Thank you for making the sincere strive to give an explanation for this. I think very strong approximately it and wish to learn more. If it’s OK, as you reach more intensive wisdom, could you mind including extra posts very similar to this one with additional information? It could be extraordinarily helpful and helpful for me and my colleagues.

  25. 25 Bankruptcy Attorney New York said at 10:54 am on January 24th, 2011:

    I admire the valuable knowledge you be offering on your articles. I will be able to bookmark your blog and feature my children test up here generally. I’m quite certain they are going to be informed a number of new stuff here than any one else!

  26. 26 buy propecia said at 3:24 am on January 25th, 2011:

    Yes, really. And I have faced it. We can communicate on this theme. Here or in PM.

  27. 27 sizegenetics said at 8:24 pm on January 25th, 2011:

    Hello.This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was investigating for thoughts on this topic last Tuesday.

  28. 28 car insurance information said at 5:43 am on January 26th, 2011:

    I’ve been studying your entries during my morning break, and I should admit the entire article has been very enlightening and really well written. I thought I’d let you understand that for some reason why this weblog does not view smartly in Web Explorer 8. I desire Microsoft would prevent converting their software. I have a question for you. Could you thoughts changing blog roll hyperlinks? That might be truly neat!

  29. 29 rocky patel sun grown toro said at 4:16 am on January 27th, 2011:

    Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was looking google for, but it was once listed at the first page. I suppose your doing one thing proper if Google likes you adequate to position you at the first web page of a non related search.

  30. 30 custom dog tags said at 1:59 am on January 28th, 2011:

    I picture this may well be numerous upon the written content material? nevertheless I still imagine that it could be suitable for virtually any form of topic material, as a result of it would ceaselessly be pleasant to resolve a heat and delightful face or possibly listen a voice when initial landing.

  31. 31 wholesale la martina said at 2:20 am on February 2nd, 2011:

    Odd this publish is totaly unrelated to what I used to be looking google for, nevertheless it was listed at the first page. I assume your doing something proper if Google likes you adequate to position you on the first web page of a non comparable search.

  32. 32 NYC Movers said at 12:51 pm on February 2nd, 2011:

    City move can be and should be an easy process. With Manhattan Movers NYC it start with call to our office! No hidden costs, no surprices! Call us. We serve Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens – all NYC. Manhattan Movers NYC, 553 Broome St, New York, NY 10013, (212)300-6628

  33. 33 Alphonse Stevens said at 6:08 am on February 3rd, 2011:

    Maybe the greatest page I read this week?!

    cigar

  34. 34 Adam Phillips said at 3:25 am on February 4th, 2011:

    I am curious exactly what Horace can do about this :D

    Best Regards
    Lola

    Butik Online Murah

  35. 35 New Zealand QROPS said at 12:05 pm on February 4th, 2011:

    Thanks for making the sincere effort to talk about this. I think very sturdy about it and want to read more. If it’s OK, as you gain extra extensive knowledge, might you thoughts including extra articles very similar to this one with additional information? It might be extraordinarily useful and helpful for me and my friends.

  36. 36 pro audio said at 11:54 pm on February 4th, 2011:

    Bizarre this put up is totaly unrelated to what I was looking out google for, however it was once indexed on the first page. I assume your doing something right if Google likes you sufficient to position you at the first web page of a non comparable search.

  37. 37 hyundai radio said at 10:26 am on February 5th, 2011:

    I love the dear knowledge you be offering in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and feature my youngsters check up here generally. I am moderately sure they’re going to learn lots of new stuff right here than anybody else!

  38. 38 vigrx plus said at 1:57 am on February 6th, 2011:

    Hiya, I just hopped over for your website by way of StumbleUpon. No longer one thing I might in most cases read, but I preferred your feelings none the less. Thanks for making something worth reading.

  39. 39 lanyards said at 11:05 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    I’ve been reading your entries during my morning holiday, and I will have to admit the whole article has been very enlightening and rather well written. I believed I’d permit you to realize that for some reason this weblog does now not view well in Internet Explorer 8. I wish Microsoft might stop converting their software. I have a question for you. Would you mind changing blog roll hyperlinks? That may be in point of fact neat!

  40. 40 my site said at 10:15 am on February 8th, 2011:

    I image this could be various upon the written content? then again I nonetheless believe that it is usually appropriate for nearly any form of matter subject matter, as a result of it might steadily be pleasing to decide a heat and pleasant face or possibly hear a voice whilst initial landing.

  41. 41 funny facebook status said at 5:37 am on February 9th, 2011:

    I am speechless. This can be a excellent weblog and very enticing too. Great paintings! That’s not in reality a lot coming from an novice publisher like me, nevertheless it’s all I may say after diving into your posts. Great grammar and vocabulary. Not like different blogs. You in reality know what you?re talking about too. Such a lot that you simply made me wish to explore more. Your weblog has change into a stepping stone for me, my friend.

  42. 42 facebook like said at 5:59 am on February 9th, 2011:

    Thank you for making the sincere try to give an explanation for this. I believe very sturdy approximately it and want to be informed more. If it’s OK, as you attain extra extensive wisdom, might you thoughts including extra posts similar to this one with additional info? It would be extremely helpful and useful for me and my colleagues.

  43. 43 pioneer vsx-1020-k review said at 7:24 am on February 9th, 2011:

    Good issues?I’d notice that as any individual who really doesn’t write on blogs much (in truth, this can be my first publish), I don’t assume the time period ‘lurker’ could be very changing into to a non-posting reader. It’s now not your fault the least bit , however possibly the blogosphere may just get a hold of a greater, non-creepy name for the ninety% folks that enjoy reading the content .

  44. 44 cell phone zapper said at 1:42 pm on February 11th, 2011:

    Thank you for making the sincere effort to talk about this. I feel very sturdy approximately it and wish to read more. If it’s OK, as you acquire extra in depth knowledge, could you mind including more articles very similar to this one with additional information? It could be extremely helpful and helpful for me and my friends.

  45. 45 SCHMIDTCINDY said at 5:31 pm on February 16th, 2011:

    Some time ago, I did need to buy a good car for my firm but I didn’t earn enough money and could not purchase anything. Thank heaven my sister suggested to try to take the business loans from banks. Thence, I did that and was happy with my student loan.