09th October 2013

Why is Apple.com not responding to mobile users?

Forgive me for resurrecting a hoary old chestnut, but this chestnut is getting increasingly… hoary.

Up to 20 per cent of global internet use is conducted through mobile devices. And Apple’s website still doesn’t look good on smartphones. Even its own smartphones. Which are very popular.

Apple.com does have some subtle responsive elements, but not enough to qualify as an optimal mobile experience.

Isn’t that a little bit nuts? Or at least, kind of arrogant?

I’ve searched high and low for a sound rationale. One argument that crops up on forums is the idea that Apple designed the iPhone to support the full web experience. Why hobble Apple’s site when the iPhone displays it just fine?


[caption id="attachment_5971" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Spot the difference. That thin grey line at the top of the Apple screenshot is actually the site navigation.[/caption]

Except it clearly doesn't.

The ‘full website on your phone’ concept was revolutionary in 2007. But that was combatting the then industry standard definition of mobile as an abbreviated experience. This is much less applicable today.

With responsive web design becoming the new standard, websites no longer need to sacrifice content to display on various screen sizes. Plus, you get navigational elements that are optimised for your device. No tap-to-zoom or any of the other friction that comes with the desktop-on-a-phone experience.

Apple is the company that has turned its dedication to the user experience – and pertinently, the mobile user experience – into an industry-changing competitive advantage. So why does Apple.com offer mobile users such a shoddy time?

If you have any idea, enlighten me please.