When Steve Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007, he told developers to just build software for iPhones inside the web browser: “You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today”. At that time, those web apps had serious limitations in terms of performance and functionality – and one year later the App Store for native apps got released..
Unfortunately Steve Jobs never saw his vision become a reality, but now, with PWA as the new web standard, we at DEITY brought his vision back to life and made it happen. We did the impossible: we brought our PWA technology to the iOS App Store.
Progressive Web What?
At its core, a Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web application that uses the latest web capabilities to deliver a native app-like experience to users. PWA’s are reliable, incredibly fast and highly engaging. It is the technology that will bring consistency between web and native apps. It gives businesses the opportunity to target a mass market, and open a whole new world of marketing possibilities.
Since the introduction of Progressive Web Apps in 2015, many companies have taken great advantage of this technology. They are able to deliver highly engaging user experiences, while at the same time reaching new user bases. The most notable use cases have come from large companies like Twitter, Trivago, Alibaba, and Walmart, reporting doubled conversion rates and unprecedentedly growing revenues. All very promising, and with a global pandemic pushing ecommerce faster than ever, we all expected PWA’s to have replaced most consumer facing apps by now – but it hasn’t happened (yet).
And why is that? Well that answer seems to be the same all the time: ‘’A (significant) part of our iOS customers are using our native app, and Apple still doesn’t allow PWA’s to replace the full native app experience.” – hard to argue with that.
From PWA to the App Store
While the world is out there waiting for Apple to finally release full PWA support, like push notifications on iPhone and easy direct downloads, we at DEITY took matters into our own hands.
As true innovation-driven tech enthusiasts in the world of headless, PWA and Composable Commerce, we took on our biggest challenge yet. We challenged Apple and we were able to do what was previously perceived as impossible: releasing our PWA to the App store.
Before taking on the challenge, it’s important to know Apple’s point of view regarding PWA’s in their App store:
“Your app should include features, content, and UI that elevate it beyond a repackaged website. If your app is not particularly useful, unique, or “app-like,” it doesn’t belong on the App Store.”
A PWA, as a repackaged website, is not considered “app-like” by Apple, which is why a PWA is not accepted in the App Store. Some developers tried to make “a PWA for the App Store”, and with that they technically built a different application. Which then by default loses one of its biggest business values for website owners: using one code-base, one application, one point of maintenance for all channels. Web, Google Play ánd the App store.
DEITY PWA in the App Store
We at DEITY know PWA’s by heart. Even before the word PWA was common knowledge, we were already building and releasing them on live stores. Our platform is more than ‘just a PWA’ with a simple theme and some service workers. True mobile first, native like experiences, with the dynamic flexibility of the web is what we aim for: only the best for the best.
Our new goal was challenging, but straightforward.
- We want iOS to be part of the PWA ecosystem;
- And we want PWA to be part of the iOS world.
And so we did. Within just a matter of weeks we were able to work our magic and bring our own demo PWA webshop as a true native app to the Apple App store. Not only were we able to bring our own demo shop to the App Store, we also prepared our platform as such, so any PWA built with our platform can be brought to the App Store. Giving users on iOS a true native app experience while at the same time giving online businesses all the benefits a PWA brings, including cutting duplicate development and maintenance costs and efforts, by working from only one codebase.
Currently, we are working with one of our customers to take this one step further and launch their large webshop, with high volume traffic and transactions coming from native apps, in the iOS App Store. But now fully PWA based.
With this achievement, we hope to inspire others to push through barriers and build a great ecommerce landscape together. As we proved that the impossible is actually possible: a PWA in the App Store.