Browser is free to implement it any other way (and I think Apple should show title on tap-and-hold gesture).
So it's not lack of hover, it's just Safari's incomplete HTML support.
3 points define a triangle, which can be circumscribed by exactly one circle. Associate the 3 fingers in a triangle gesture with a reticle/magnifying glass. Initial placement of the 3 fingers defines the "magnifying glass." Expansion or contraction of the circle defined by the fingers does not change the size of the reticle but instead controls the relative zoom. The cross-hairs in the reticle can also be hovered over GUI items to give a hover functionality.
This would have utility beyond enabling hover. (Sometimes it is more convenient to momentarily magnify a portion of the screen than to zoom the whole screen. One example is Google Maps, where a zoom-in/zoom-out sequence can cause unwanted downloading of map tiles.)
Hover is a way of hiding complexity in a design. Eliminating that complexity is the best way to hide it.
Just have her put her 3 fingers down on the iPad. No words necessary!
> Second, placing three fingers from the same hand on the touch screen would block the place on the screen I am trying to magnify/manipulate from my view.
Wrong. Only certain triangular placements will do this and users will easily learn not to do that. Very flat triangles will have the hand off to the side, just as if you were holding a magnifying glass with no handle. With the right hand, you can do this by having the index finger and thumb extended, with the middle finger bent to sit just below and to the right of the index finger, like so:
EDIT: This gesture would only work on the iPad. The iPhone would be too small to accommodate it.
Once the iPad has a front facing camera, in theory eye tracking can serve as a hover. It would be modal, so that you'd have to be holding down a button (perhaps on the edge of the iPad's bezel) to enable "hoverability", but it would probably work well. If you want to see more detail on a certain DVD in Netflix, look at it, and hit the button on the side of the iPad. This will require less physical motion on behalf of the user than even a hover, and much less than a click.
I like this approach, but as noted, often the problem is "users get no cue that tapping... is even an option".
I think a suitable solution is to start with one item 'pre-tapped', with strong cues that it is 'selected' (via highlighting, intensified colors, icons, etc.). That provides a strong clue that its peer items could be tapped to show the same 'hover' controls.
This would then allow the hover state to live long and prosper.
Ultimately, I think any tablet made for serious work will have to implement Wacom pen tech and multitouch.
The endpoint of all this stuff seems to be the Minority Report UI (http://www.ted.com/talks/john_underkoffler_drive_3d_data_wit...) or Kinect, where the computer is detecting what you're doing with your body in a holistic way; it can infer intent, rather than measuring specific points of data without knowledge of where they came from.
Of course, that requires bigger and more expensive sensors than you're likely to find in a $499 device today.
I think this is just a matter of designing for your audience, not a matter of "moving forward".
Perhaps you should also put up a popup: "This site best experienced with a computer that has a mouse. If you are visiting with a phone or touch-screen tablet, please consider buying a computer, or visiting one of our many fine competitors."
Remember when lots of websites had messages urging you to visit with specific browsers? Remember how much fun that was?
When I make websites I have no time for ideals or philosophical statements, I look for where my market is now and where it's going in the short term, and make my decisions based on that.
It's not just a philosophical statement. It's a practical matter. Unless your plan is to high-tail it out of there and leave it to someone else to maintain your mess, that is.
Every practical situation starts out life as a philosophical position. The atomic bomb was once a napkin doodle.
Edit: Isn't the problem with touchscreens ultimately "focus", and not "hover"? There's no way to select an element without activating it at the same time.