With the launch of the iPhone, Apple has finally posted some documentation to help web designers understand the browsing capabilities of the mobile Safari browser: Web Development for iPhone.
I was looking for this sort of information before the launch, but I guess it was under NDA. Maybe those who attended WWDC this year were privy to the info?
In any case, the most interesting content is a guide titled Optimizing Web Applications and Content for iPhone. The guide gives a good explanation of the user interactions on the phone and explains how to target content, including some iPhone-specific meta tags to help optimize page layout.
As a big fan of the potential of the “mobile web”, I’m hopeful that the iPhone buzz will bring validity to the idea of browsing the web from your mobile phone. Sites specially formatted for mobiles are slowly growing (see my latest list), but are certainly not the norm.
I’m worried that instead of moving mobile web forward in general, the iPhone will only cause a ton of iPhone-specific tweaks. For example, look at all the hacked-together sites listed on rev2.org’s Top 25 Web Apps for iPhone. Or check out 37Signals’ Ta-da List, a great web application, now with a custom iPhone version.
I’ll be on the lookout for useful mobile sites that render well on the iPhone as well as other web-capable phones.