Is the Apple iPad a mobile device?June 30th, 2010 by Peter
The Apple iPad has been out for a couple of months now. There is an ongoing debate in the online and mobile advertising industry about how to classify it. On a practical level, the key question is if iPad users should be sent to regular websites or mobile-optimized ones.
Some argue the iPad can replace most netbook and laptop computers because it can do almost everything that these devices do. Others argue that the iPad is just a blown up version of the iPod Touch and that its capabilities are therefore limited.
Yes, the iPad is a mobile device. And no, it’s not a computer, at least not a real one. We will go into this further below. If we have to decide, we at Sponsormob still feel that at this stage it makes more sense to send iPad users to mobile sites instead of regular web sites.
Here are our reasons why:
Today most standard web pages are optimized for a minimum screen width of 1024 pixels. The iPad screen is just 640 pixels wide in landscape mode, 480 pixels in portrait mode. Even though the Safari browser on the iPad does a good job at fitting pages into the screen, one still needs to zoom in and out to surf the web. All this isn’t really an awesome user experience especially when you’re trying to market something.
Most web banners and even landing pages make heavy use of Adobe Flash which the iPad doesn’t support. Until banner ads and landing pages will switch over to HTML5 for animation and video, the mobile version is probably better.
Some websites are hard to use without a mouse and a scrolling wheel. The Safari browser has difficulties with scrolling within DHTML layers. Plus, once you activate the on-screen keyboard you lose a good amount of the screen height too.
If the internet connection is provided not through WiFi but a mobile carrier, the connection speed might be a bit low. The user experience is ruined when loading pages with lots of images, videos or banner ads.
No file uploads
Since you don’t have access to the filesystem on an iPad you can’t upload any files on web pages. Safari simply disables these buttons.
The iPad doesn’t have a built-in support for printing. One can’t simply print a confirmation page of a regular web shop, for example.