There are actually several alternate app download mechanisms for the iPhone platform, from the installers of the jailbreaking scene (Cydia, Installer, etc) to PhoneGap apps that simply display a list of web apps to websites that are simple landing pages. Given that the iPhone platform supports local web apps (via manifests for caching, local storage, the navigator object in Javascript, web page app launcher icons, etc), I don’t seen any significant problems with installing web apps on the iPhone today. Download and play Neven Mrgan’s Pie Guy if you don’t believe me.

However, to return to the original question of whether HTML5 could (or should) include anything that creates a business model for app makers, I say no. HTML5 is (should be) a technology standard, not a way to directly make money. Who runs the HTML5 App Store? Who charges the user and passes on money to the developer? The W3C? Looking at it from another way, there’s no reason you can’t drop in PayPal, Amazon FPS, or something similar to your web app and charge for the app or special features (in-app purchases) today.

Of course, the point is that Apple has created a system where the technology is tied to the platform API which is tied to the discovering, sales, and delivery mechanisms. The general web doesn’t have this, both to its detriment and benefit.

I’m sure I went off on a tangent and Greg simply meant that people are more willing to pay for iPhone apps than for web page content. In the end this is a psychological issue more than a technical issue. HTML5 can’t be made any better to make developers money directly from users.