iPhone Means Never Designing For a Mobile Device Again

If you’re like me and a Mac user, you probably were glued to blow-by-blow accounts of Steve Jobs’ Keynote on Tuesday. I didn’t know Apple was going to announce the phone at this time–I was just wanting to know if they were going to update the Mac Book Pro line as I would like a suped up Mac Book that runs on Intel chips so I can run Windows and Mac OS on one machine. 

Instead of news about the laptop line of products, Apple released the news of it’s forthcoming revolutionary product, the iPhone, this past week. 

If you’ve own a cell phone for longer than six months, you should have realized it’s limitations. Unless you use a smart phone, it’s like we are carrying around, for the most part, hard-to-use calculators that have captured the voices of our friends, families and coworkers. The user interfaces are bad, internet connectivity is painful (if you have it), and good luck trying to keep your contact listings in any semblance of order.

After 2.5 years of development, Apple seems to have an overnight hit on their hands. An amazing user interface for an all-in-one device: an ipod, phone and internet communication tool. No more strapping an iPod mini to the cell phone with a rubberband! True integration.

The main point I want to address is the internet communication device. On the iPhone will come with a modified version of Safari that’s running on modern Mac computers. So, if you have a web site right now that works fine on Safari, it should work just fine on the iPhone. 

The catch is that the browser doesn’t support Flash. Well, at this moment anyway. This could change when the browser ships in June, but I’m not really sure that it will. It could be that the developers for the iPhone have pinned Flash-support as a low level priority. Or they’ve looked into Flash support and it may simply drain an already limited battery life (5 hours) even more.

One reason I believe is that the many multimedia-geared web sites like YouTube use Flash to deliver their content. 

If Apple allowed people to view this content through means other than the iTunes-approved method, why on earth would people buy music and videos to then have on their iPhone? Simple. They wouldn’t. And I know I wouldn’t. I already have a stack of CDs in MP3 format. I’m just waiting to get unbusy in order to put them into a system where I can pull them on a home network accessible by just me anywhere in the world.

Lack of Flash support is just one downside in Web development for mobile devices. 

The upside counters the bad Flash news, IMO, since you no longer will have to design a web site version for a mobile device.

If you never had to design a web site or web application for a mobile device, count yourself lucky. It’s somewhat painful to see a beautiful, working piece of art barely looking like it’s former self. 

The news of Apple’s almost-too-good-to-be-true browser on a cell phone proves that a rich internet surfing experience can be placed on a phone. There’s no need to strip down a browser and then put it on a phone. There’s no more need to strip down a web site to make it somewhat usable on a mobile device. Now that Apple has shown the way, its competition will be revving up their own versions. Just like Microsoft did with its Zune to compete with the iPod. 

In the meantime, we will just have to bide our time till the phone is available for sale.

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