With great fanfare, Steve Jobs told the world the one of the biggest innovations of the iphone was bringing the “real” internet to a mobile device for the first time. No more junior, stripped down websites, with the iPhone you can view entire original websites as they were intended to be viewed.
Because the iPhone did not ship with the ability to run third party native applications, Jobs boldly told the development community they should build web 2.0 applications that would be just as good as native applications. Than Apple release development guidelines detailing how developers could build custom web applications formatted perfectly for the iPhone.
Thousands of web applications have sprung up for the iPhone, many of them very useful and well done. But these are custom applications that only run on the iPhone. What about the rest of the mobile market? What ever happened to the “real” internet? The point that you didn’t need to develop any kind of special or stripped down version of a site just to view it on a mobile phone? Apple has fallen into its own bear trap. I’m not complaining too much, being an iPhone user myself, but the rest of the mobile world is getting a little bit of a rip off with more development time being put into iphone specific web applications.
If you’re a business and you are looking to make some noise in the mobile market, should you create an iPhone custom web app? Probably, especially if you believe your target customer is likely to own an iPhone, but don’t forget about the rest of the mobile universe. It’s still a great deal bigger than the iPhone market, at least for now.