SproutCore Founder Leaves Apple to Build HTML5 iPad Apps

When Apple employees and contractors decide to leave the mothership, they usually don’t land far away. Charles Jolley, the mastermind behind SproutCore, just left Apple to create his own iPad-centric business, Strobe Inc. The new company will focus on building touch-driven web apps, using open mechanisms such as HTML5 and JavaScript.

In case you have no idea what SproutCore is, SproutCore is an HTML5 application framework for building responsive, desktop-caliber apps in any modern web browser, without the need of plugins – the suite mostly relies on JavaScript to offer rich web-based apps. The most famous use of SproutCore is the Apple MobileMe suite of web apps, as Apple hired Jolley to build it. The SproutCore-based apps include the MobileMe Gallery, iWork.com, as well as the upcoming Mail web-based app, and the new Calendar (currently in beta). Jolley is leaving Apple on good terms, and stayed with them through the completion of the beta of the new MobileMe Calendar.

An example of Folley’s work: the web-based MobileMe gallery

His new business, Strobe, is betting on the fact that the next generation of apps will use HTML5 and JavaScript, instead of having to build specific, native apps, like iOS and Android apps. Charles Jolley is not the only one to believe in HTML5/JavaScript, as many research firms are convinced that the app stores are on their way out, and will slowly be replaced by web-based apps. For instance, according to Volantis, “The unique selling point of the iPhone – its App Store – will dwindle in appeal within two years as HTML5 becomes the standard for browsers and mobile web applications become increasingly feature-rich”.

While it is extremely hard to believe that native apps are poised to disappear within the next few years, it wouldn’t be shocking to see HTML5 gradually replace a certain class of native apps, such as cloud-based apps (see for instance our news about the new HTML5-based mobile YouTube site here).

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