Apple and the Site-Specific Browser

Apple is skillfully meshing the pieces of their product line, using effortless networking and synchronization technologies, and the web as the hub around which everything revolves. Stowe Boyd, who blogs at /Message, hopes that Apple focuses its attention on the browser:

Just as I believe we are turning a corner where the truly connected will have many computing devices for different times and purposes, I think we need to start conceptualizing the decline of the multi-purpose browser. Maybe we will have five or six tools for fiddling with — and through — the web.

I hope Jobs and Ives turn their attention to that. It’s much more important than the Air or the Kindle.

I agree with that sentiment, but if you examine things closely, this transition is already well underway.

iTunes itself is the most prominent example. In large part, it is simply a browser for which the sole purpose is allowing people to find and buy media from the iTunes Store. With the Wi-Fi Store, its reach even extends to iPhone and iPod touch.

And of course, Apple TV (Take 2) cleverly sets the home page of any widescreen television to the iTunes Store. It can also display slide shows using photos from .Mac Web Gallery and Flickr.

iPhone has embraced the web from the beginning, with customized interfaces for data pulled from the cloud. Maps builds on location based services provided by Google Maps. The new Web Clips functionality goes even further, giving any web application an icon on the home screen.

This is all part of a larger trend, referred to as site-specific browsers, which blurs the lines between the web and the way you access it. Apple seems to be ahead of this trend, and will undoubtedly introduce further innovations going forward.

Trackbacks

Backdrifter: What is a Web Browser?
writes:
January 17, 2008 at 10:27 PM

[...] response to my previous post about Apple and their use of site-specific browsers, Joe Clark replied with the following: They [...]

Comments

Lonna Hanson
says:
January 17, 2008 at 9:25 AM

That is again very interesting Jared. I was especially interested in your comments about iTV.
Mom

Joe Clark
says:
January 17, 2008 at 3:30 PM

They aren’t “browsers” because they aren’t browsing the Web. In specific, the iTunes (Music) Store is not HTML.

Unless of course you are advocating an expansion of the meaning of the term.

Jared Hanson
says:
January 17, 2008 at 10:33 PM

Joe,

I was going to reply to your comment inline, but my response was sufficiently long to justify a full blog post: What is a Web Browser?

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