Apple Unaware it 'Did a Bad Bad Thing'
Web Apps Made for iPhone, iPod touch Spark Mini Revolution


by Joe Leo, Columnist


OPINION: (10.12.07)-- In Chris Isaak's hit song from the album Forever Blue, there's a verse asking, "You ever love someone so much you thought your little heart was gonna break in two?" It seems web developers love the iPhone interface so much that they've dedicated themselves to creating web pages designed to fit on the 3.5-inch screen, in turn, creating a new double-standard approach to the internet that's broken development of it... in two.

At the heart of the matter is Safari and how it functions one way on a computer, and another way on the iPhone and iPod touch. Unbeknownst to Apple, they've... "Did a Bad Bad Thing."

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Yesterday, Apple debuted a special page on their site dedicated to web applications that run on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Apple says, "With Web apps, the power of the internet meets the brilliance of multi-touch. And suddenly, iPhone and iPod touch can do that much more... Web apps don't just extend the functionality of iPhone and iPod touch, they do it in style."

In a search the other day to find third-party applications made for the iPhone that would also work on a recently purchased iPod touch, we found one link that pointed to specialized web pages built for the iPhone that subsequently work with the newly-released iPod touch.

Accuweather.com has such a web page that works on the iPhone and was made just for it. If you view the same link on your desktop or notebook computer, all you'll see is a 3.5-inch graphic and lots of white space around it. On the iPhone, or in our case, the iPod touch, it stays centered on the graphic and you can't--oddly enough--zoom in or zoom out.

The fascinating thing about it is that within that small area of screen real estate is a fully-featured interactive interface. And while when viewed on a standard computer screen you can navigate with your mouse, it was totally designed with only one thing in mind.

A device with a 3.5-inch screen with multi-touch capabilities. That's right, the iPhone.

In that same search, one of the results on the Google page directed us to a posting by a blogger at "The Unofficial Apple Weblog" or TUAW.com for short, who just two weeks after the iPhone debuted, complained about these new stylized web pages made just for the iPhone.

TUAW.com blogger Scott McNulty doesn't like it because he feels it defeats the whole purpose that Apple had in mind. Instead of people browsing web pages as they were designed to be (by zooming in on areas of the screen to bring it in full view, or at least, actual size)?

"...users are pointing MobileSafari to more and more iPhone specific websites (which smack of the 'mobile web' to me). What's the deal with that?" McNulty says.

He also points out that these web pages designed for the iPhone are done by people with lots of clout in the internet field, and they aren't necessarily doing it for the benefit of the Mac.

Long story short, McNulty feels that Apple goes against the whole idea it created in the first place. That the internet on regular cell phones is a watered down version of the web, and the internet on iPhone--courtesy of Safari and OS X--changes the game.

But when web pages are being designed specifically for the iPhone and its 3.5-inch screen, isn't that defeating the purpose? In essence, playing the same game?


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