iPhone sites missing the mark

What’s with the anemic web apps being developed for the iPhone?

I don’t get it. If you want limited-use WAP applications, you get a regular phone, not the internet-in-your-pocket iPhone. For whatever reason, companies that should know better are making special iPhone versions of their websites that are almost useless. In fact, most of the WAP applications out there are actually more useful. Here are some examples:

Whatever Plaxo is doing with Pulse, they are a contacts storage company in my mind. Guess what you can’t do via their iPhone interface? That’s right – edit a contact. You can add one, but you can’t edit one. The site also won’t remember you, so you have to log in each time you visit.

Linkedin is worse. You can view network updates and invite people but you cannot respond to anything in your inbox or even see your inbox. You can of course invite someone. Despite their puritan posturing Linkedin knows their business is a numbers game and members mean more to them than responding to one’s network.

Google Docs won’t let you edit. While writing a document from scratch on the iPhone would be painful, editing one wouldn’t be. We also have to remember that eventually Apple will let someone make a keyboard driver for all the Bluetooth keyboards out there, and then the iPhone will be even more of a laptop replacement.

Google Mail won’t let you search, even though search is one of the most compelling features of Gmail.

Even Facebook’s notable site doesn’t let you add or remove a friend. But I can edit my profile – why I’d need to do that on the go, I have no idea.

You might be tempted to argue that since one can use the normal web page anyway, why do we need these features on the iPhone version? I would counter that if I need to go to the regular website to get anything done you might as well ax the iPhone version.

What we need are versions of these sites that allow us to get the full value of the product, but in a layout suited to the iPhone’s screen. Anything less is just making the iPhone as handicapped as a regular phone.

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