There’s not a person out there who can deny that we are rapidly progressing into a mobile-dominated internet. In response, sites are being redesigned to include responsive layouts, the respective app stores are exploding with new and innovative products from all corners and our daily analytics are showing more and more visits from mobile devices. It’s a new world out there. Who do we have to thank for this? I would argue that there is one primary catalyst for this: the original iPhone.
It’s a fact that current iPhone users visit the web on their devices significantly more than any other mobile group, including Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and Symbian. But we can go even further than that—prior to the first iPhone in 2007, the mobile web was largely a niche market targeted at the dominant smartphone platform of the day: Blackberry. It wasn’t pretty. The iPhone introduced a paradigm shift: mobile was no longer only a supplementary web experience; it brought the full internet to your pocket. It introduced us to our modern definition of the mobile web.
These days, mobile is huge. The revolution introduced by the iPhone has passed, and we’re all well-accustomed to having websites that take our mobile devices well into account. Everyone has at least started considering a mobile version of their website; everyone, that is, except the company that started this all. Yes, that’s right. Apple has no mobile site whatsoever. Not a limited m.apple.com site, not a responsive design—nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
There’s no way that’s true. I need to investigate this. The Voice in My Head
My first thought when I realized this was ‘there’s no way that’s true. I need to investigate this.’ After pretty extensive research, it appears that it is indeed very true. Being as ardent an Apple fan as I am, this made no sense to me at all. It flies in the face of everything that Apple does—I mean, look at the freaking numbers! Apple is a mobile company. Sure, they make dynamite personal computers, but iOS and its devices are Apple’s bread and butter. Why would a company with such an obvious investment in mobile ignore something as simple and straight-forward as having a mobile site?
The more I pondered this, the more I began to realize that it’s not about an oversight on Apple’s part. They would have to be having an unprecedented lapse in common sense to have not considered a mobile website. No - it’s something else; something much more fundamental to Apple’s strategy.
Apple is completely committed to the iOS ecosystem.
If you haven’t noticed, there is an iOS app for almost every functionality on their website. The Apple Store has an app. The App Store has one. The only area not included is the “Support” section. It became clear to me that Apple views the ‘pure internet’ as a way of the past. In their eyes, the ideal experience for locating information is not typing in a domain name, but launching an app.
I like love your products, Apple—but that’s stupid.
Knowing that Apple’s market saturation is about as high as it’s likely to get without having to win over users from other mobile offerings like Android, it is a bit odd to me that Apple would not try to make their first purchasing experience as easy as possible. After all, the only people with access to an app from the App Store already own an iOS device. This is where a mobile site comes in—it provides the same experience to users regardless of their point of origin. They can come on an Android device, a Windows desktop or anything else with a browser.
I can understand wanting to lead by example. I can even get behind the dedication to the ideal that is pretty apparent—but idealism is never as effective as pragmatism. Apple needs to get their web strategy in line with the modern standard, as it's rapidly becoming the expectation of users; having anything less could lose possible users on their first visit to Apple.com.
Did I help you out?