iPhone forking the Web… again

I see some difference between Web “applications” sites such as Zoho or BeeJive (creators of the BlackBerry JiveTalk software so well executed that it is changing my life) developing versions of their sites (or in BeeJive’s and Cerulean Studios‘ case, native software applications), that are “optimized” (or in some cases, simply “work”) on the iPhone, but now AJAXy content megasite Digg has joined the iFray and surely others will follow. According to TechCrunch:

[Kevin] Rose notes that users can still browse the normal Digg website on their iPhone, but the web application is lighter and faster way to visit Digg and takes advantage of some of the iPhone’s user interface features.

So now it’s not the “watered-down Internet or the mobile Internet.” It’s the no-Flash, small-screen, big-buttoned “iPhone Internet.” “Real” browser support should make such conversions less painful but they still suffer from some foibles that specialized versions of Web sites have engendered before. How do consumers find these optimized versions? Is it at iphone.blah.com? Is it at blah.com/iphone? Will all the features of the full site be there? How much work should Web developers have to do to compensate for the iPhone’s browser navigational inefficiencies, even if it is best in class at browsing “desktop” Web sites?

Even if you don’t accept everything about the iPhone as the wave of the future, there are clear advantages to the large screen and great Web rendering it provides. If a broader base of mobile phones adopt these conventions, Web developers should be able to provide one site that balances the needs of such handsets and the PC. Who doesn’t want lighter, faster Web sites everywhere?

P.S. Do you think Apple put any effort into making sure its Web iPhone developer guidelines site looks horrible in Internet Explorer? 

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