It might seem beside the point for Apple to introduce a Windows version of its Safari browser as an aid to iPhone adoption. What seems likely, though, is that Apple appreciates the need to drive more Web site designers to consider Safari (or even just consider Web standards) as part of their charter, rather than just coding by trial and error until it looks right in Internet Explorer. That’s what has to happen for iPhone users to find it an acceptable Web appliance.

What only developers are likely to understand is the flip side of that Safari emphasis: that real Safari on real OS X is Apple’s preferred path for third-party developers to deliver applications to Apple’s device. This is entirely consistent with Evans Data research showing that developers consider Ajax-style Web 2.0 techniques to be a critical area for building their skills.

In the large, this suggests that the nightmare prospect that drove Microsoft to crush Netscape (please, no flames, those actions are a matter of record) would now seem to have come to pass. Developers are targeting the user interface conventions and the underlying APIs of the Web as the mainstream path for outreach to new users.

Will Apple’s control of the coolness agenda alter the Webscape as dramatically as it has transformed the world of recorded music? And perhaps, in the process, make browser-based application delivery the new normal? It seems an outrageous suggestion, but no one predicted the massive success of the iPod either.

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