By Richard Menta 12/2/07
I guess it should not be surprising that online stores are catering to iPhone and iPod touch users. After all, here I am searching the Web for Christmas idea using the iPod touch I have been reviewing these past couple of months. Frankly, the iPod touch makes quite the convenient tool to troll for holiday goodies thanks to Apple's well executed mating of its Safari browser and Wi-Fi in the iPod and the iPhone.
For example, go to Amazon.com with one of these two devices and you will be greeted with a new screen that says "Welcome to the iPhone beta site". For those already sipping Java at a Wi-Fi-enabled Starbucks it offers an opportunity to get a quick scan in between mall stores. To make things clearer and easier, Amazon offers a simple search interface that allows you to enter a specific gift idea into your iPod or iPhone or just pull up the top sellers by catagory in a clean pull-down list.
Such a special home page is nice when you are dealing with a small screen on a hand-held device, even though the iPod touch and iPhone do a pretty good job of dealing with regular web-pages - assuming those pages don't use require flash or Java, which are yet unavailable for either player. At that point an iPod-specific page is necessary. It is needed, because the iPhone has already achieved critical mass in the marketplace and the iPod touch is well on its way to posting big sales numbers. If mobile shopping is indeed destined to see the growth projected by some pundits it is these two devices that will spark consumerism in that direction in reasonable large numbers.
I visited the Woodbrindge Mall in NJ Friday and was shocked that the parking lot was half-empty. A decade ago there would not be a spot to have as that mall would draw hordes of just-over-the-bridge Staten Islanders looking to avoid tax on clothing. (8.25% in NY, 0% in NJ). There is no tax when you shop online as long as the business you patronize does not have a physical store in your state. Today, shoppers are comfortable shopping from their PCs. If you can extend that comfort to iPod and iPhone shopping, then mobile consumerism as something more than an activity for the digitally experimental is here.
SanDisk Sansa View 16GB flash player is available on Amazon.
The Archos 705 Wi-Fi portable DVR is available on Amazon