Apple’s iPad has galvanized the tablet PC market and established the Cupertino-based company once again as the thought leader in a new product category. While magazine publishers may be slow to harness the medium’s true potential, instead replicating stale print content on a tablet platform, desktop browsing has quickly been transformed by the mechanics and interface of the iPad.
The iPad has driven a new take on the content site — a streamlined, sexy version. One typically might see navigation on the left, related content to the right, and articles that float open in the middle — a simple, uncluttered format. Most importantly, as with the iPad’s App Store, the Mac App Store and Chrome Web Store offer a micropayment mechanism that lets people pay small amounts of money with a single click in order to subscribe to content.
Apps, furthermore, have a dedicated presence, putting themselves at the top of a user’s menu of online activities. A Web browser contains infinite possibilities — but users only install a finite number of apps, giving app publishers an advantageous position in mindshare.
Twitter’s current Web interface is among the most prominent examples of how the iPad format has influenced site design for the desktop computer. Users of the Twitter iPad app will be intimately familiar with the browser-based flow and functionality, as it more and more closely resembles the microblogging tool’s performance on the iPad.