TrueType font embedding has come to iPhone and iPad, Hallelujah, brothers and sisters. That is to say, Mobile Safari now supports CSS embedding of lower-bandwidth, higher-quality, more ubiquitous TrueType fonts. This is huge. Test on your device(s), then read and rejoice:
iOS 4.2 is also the first version of Mobile Safari to support native web fonts (in TrueType format) instead of SVG. This is also exciting news, as TrueType fonts are superior to SVG fonts in two very important ways: the files sizes are dramatically smaller (an especially important factor on mobile devices), and the rendering quality is much higher.
Thanks to Matt Wiebe for mentioning the rumour that Mobile Safari on iOS 4.2 supports TrueType fonts and providing a handy link to test.
TrueType is an outline font standard originally developed by Apple Computer in the late 1980s as a competitor to Adobe’s Type 1 fonts used in PostScript. TrueType has become the most common format for fonts on both the Mac OS and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
The primary strength of TrueType was originally that it offered font developers a high degree of control over precisely how their fonts are displayed, right down to particular pixels, at various font sizes. With widely varying rendering technologies in use today, pixel-level control is no longer certain in a TrueType font.
More about webfonts
If you’re coming late to the party, the following bits of required reading and listening will get you up to speed on the joys (and occasional frustrations) of “real type” on the web:
- Bulletproof @font-face syntax, Paul Irish, 4 September, 2009
- Web Fonts at the Crossing, Richard Fink, 8 June 2010, A List Apart
- Big Web Show Episode 1, Dan Benjamin and I discuss webtype with Ethan Dunham of Fontspring and Font Squirrel and Jeffrey Veen of Typekit
- Big Web Show Episode 18, Dan Benjamin and I discuss webtype, screen resolution, and more with Roger Black
My thanks to David Berlow of Font Bureau for waking me from my Thanksgiving stupor and alerting me to this exciting slash overdue development.