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The Impact of the iPhone and iPad

The iPhone changed everything in the mobile world. For years, developers have been talking about the mobile web and all the things that would be possible when the mobile Internet reached the masses. Year after year, pundits declared "the year of mobile," but not until the iPhone came along did the dream become reality.

From the moment Apple CEO Steve Jobs strode on stage to introduce the iPhone, a kind of over-the-top technological frenzy enveloped the mobile phone industry. On June 29, 2007, eager Mac fans stood in lines that crawled around city blocks and waited for Apple stores to open and sell the iPhone.

Before the iPhone became available outside the United States, enterprising travelers could buy one for $300 and sell it on the streets of Moscow or Bangkok for $2,000 or more.

The iPhone deserves credit for driving the popularity of the mobile web. [Credit: Photo courtesy of
Credit: Photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.
The iPhone deserves credit for driving the popularity of the mobile web.

The iPhone was also the first mobile device that could display web pages almost as well as most desktop computers do (with the notable exception of its inability to play Flash and many video formats).

The iPad was initially derided as “an iPhone that can’t make phone calls,” but its success has been unlike anything ever seen by the electronics industry. The iPad was selling at a rate of 4-1/2 million units per quarter and is already generating more revenue for Apple than its entire desktop and laptop computer lines.

With this information in mind, any forward-thinking web designer must explore what it means to design websites for these new mobile platforms. You can start by considering the difference between creating content and consuming all the text, video, web pages, e-books, music, and other increasingly interactive rich media that’s now available.

Whether you're designing a website to be viewed in business settings on the desktop web, as traditional browsing is called, or consumed on an iPhone while killing time waiting in line, remember that at the end of the line is a person. And, every member of the digital world is quickly coming to expect to find what they want, when they want it, on whichever device they want it on.

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