iPod Touch

Filed under: mobile,review — jaydublu @ 6:31 pm

I finally got my hands on the iPod Touch I got the team for R&D – cheaper than an iPhone – and have spent a bit of time with it myself.

First thing I should say is that dissapointingly I find I really, really like it – it’s a stunning device that’s hard to fault; at least inital impressions are that way.

It’s a perfect size and weight, screen is clear and bright, and as for the ‘touch’ user interface – well what can I say other than ‘wow!‘?

I’ve played a bit with the music and video playing capabilities, and they’re just stunning, but most of my attention has been, unsurprising, on the browser.

Despite my initial shock that the thing won’t accept xhtml-mp markup, so although it is a mobile device you can’t treat it as such (at least not the way I’d like to with a custome xhtml-mp view of a site) I can see a way past that as it makes a pretty fair stab at rendering the full site. With the zooming feature – the double tapping is just genius – and wifi connectivity meaning the bandwidth isn’t much of an issue, it really is feasible to browse most sites in the full fat version without needing a slimmed down markup.

But, if the site hasn’t been sympathetically designed – and the one big irritant is lines of text that are too long to be able to read in one screenfull so you have to keep scrolling backwards and forwards – it’s easy to get less than satisfied. And if you’re on an iPhone with limited (and expensive) bandwidth optimised graphics etc. wuold be a big bonus. And having seen sites specifically designed for the iPhone e.g. iphone.facebook.com – they’re just so much nicer to use than the full one.

I’m working on a concept proving site at the moment from first principles, using tera-wurfl for device detection, and Smarty templates to deliver different styling of the same content to different devices. I’ve not yet settled on my preferred approach but when I do I’ll publish it somewhere.

One thing is for certain – I’m now more comfortable with the idea that you don’t treat iPhone (or iPod Touch) the same as a ‘normal’ phone, but don’t think you should ignore it either and feed it a site designed for big screens.

iPhone is different!

Filed under: mobile,rants,why? — jaydublu @ 10:33 am

I once posted something about ‘why the fuss about the iPhone‘ – I still don’t get it.

We’re a few months away from having the thing released here, but in the mean time there’s the iPod Touch which is most of the iPhone without the phone. Since the bit I’m interested in is the web browser and the Internet features – it’s ideal so I got one for the team for R&D.

I pointed it at one of the sites I’d optimised for mobile devices following recognised best practice (e.g. Luca Passani’s Global Authoring Practices for the Mobile Web) and was not hugely surprised that it rendered the desktop version as my mobile detection didn’t pick up the User Agent.

A quick tweak to get it to spot that ‘iPod’ is a mobile device and … Safari throws an error.

It turns out that Safari Mobile doesn’t support xhtml-mp!

So to get an iPhone friendly version of a site you can’t use your mobile version and keep it xhtml-mp. I see Facebook have a mobile version using xhtml-mp, and a special iphone version without a doctype.

Do I feel a return to the bad old days of browser sniffing and multiple versions of sites? Oh dear!

Why do Apple always have to be different?