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Apple iPhone Promoting .com TLD?

One of the key features of the soon-to-launch iPhone is its advanced web browser capabilities. The Wall Street Journal’s recent test report of the product describes the browser as such:

“The iPhone is the first smart phone we’ve tested with a real, computer-grade Web browser, a version of Apple’s Safari. It displays entire Web pages, in their real layouts, and allows you to zoom in quickly by either tapping or pinching with your finger. Multiple pages can be open at the same time, and you can conduct Google or Yahoo searches from a built-in search box.”

To make the user’s browsing experience even more efficient, the phone even comes with a top-level domain (TLD) button labeled “.com”. Rather interesting given that today there are over two hundred TLDs in existence including .mobi. Patrick Vande Walle posted the following observation on his blog today:

“There are already 267 TLDs in the root. So, it is a little strange than the upcoming iPhone will have a special “.com” key to be used to type URLs. Why on earth did Apple decide to favour .com? How much has this cost to VeriSign? ...If Apple wants to sell the phone outside the US it will have to adapt to local customs.”

Luckily, this is only a virtual button as the iPhone does not have any physical buttons on its front. So the question will be whether Apple provides—or plans to provide—a TLD button customization feature in the iPhone’s software?

By CircleID Reporter

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Kirk Strauser  –  Jun 28, 2007 2:28 PM

Conspiracy theories aside, it makes since to have a button for the one TLD used by probably 95% of websites.  If I were writing a browser frontend, I’d probably do the same thing - regardless of VeriSign’s sponsorship status.  From an interface perspective, you simply couldn’t provide a clickable link to every single TLD (with a constantly-updated list for completeness) without requiring as many clicks as it’d take to writeout the address manually. 

I just don’t think the demand is there.  For example, I still think .mobi is the dumbest idea to come around in a while.  Why would we register example.mobi when we already have mobile.example.com for free?  I don’t blame Apple for not having a link to it.  First, their goal is to bring the “real” Internet to the iPhone, and not shunt their users into a stripped-down corner of the web.  Second, no one seems to want .mobi or use it, so why should Apple go out of their way to advocate it?

I mean, really, when was the last time you went to a .aero or .coop domain, or any of the other 267 (make that 268 - I think they just created .bostonterrier)?  Apple took the smart path and optimized for the common case that people actually use.

Signed, someone posting to circleid.com

Christopher Parente  –  Jun 29, 2007 7:03 PM

I agree with the .mobi point. It always seemed to me a tenuous value prop—by saying you needed a special domain for mobile sites, in a sense you were betting against the advancement of technology.

Sooner or later a device would be created that came close to replicating the browsing experience on a mobile device. At that point why would you need a .mobi domain?

Maybe the iPhone is that device, maybe it will be eventually or maybe never—but it will come.

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