iPhone Application or iPhone Pages?

Recently, a senior Optus executive came out and said that one of the mobile carrier’s recent areas of growth in the Australian market is due to sales of the iPhone. I am sure the other carriers in the Australian market have also seen a similar trend.

So the question many of our clients are asking us at present is “Should we build an iPhone Application?”  There isn’t an easy answer to the question, instead it may even be answered with a second question which is “Should we develop iPhone specific pages for our site?”

The second question is easier to answer than the first. If you’re already using Google Analytics, then you can determine the number of iPhone sessions on your site each day. If they are significant (ie higher than say 10% of your total web traffic) then it would be best to build iPhone specific pages. Using Google Analytics you could easily determine the most popular pages of the site being viewed on an iPhone, then make these available on the dedicated iPhone pages. The Browser User Agent is the Safari / iPhone option located under the Browser / OS.

This takes the guess work out of trying to work out pages which are essential for the iPhone user.

Developing an iPhone application is very different. First off it’s much more expensive than simply creating iPhone styled pages and secondly you need to have a specific reason for creating an iPhone application. An iPhone application needs to fill a niche and actually needs to do something beneficial for the user to install it. It has to have either entertainment value, provide a service or do a task the operating system doesn’t like mapping for example. Given the recent changes in the iPhone operating system you can even “push” content live to a user’s phone. It has to be unique.


Developing either an iPhone application or iPhone pages also means that it will accessible on the iPod Touch which dramatically increases the reach. I’m not sure about the actual numbers (i.e where they are sourced), but www.iphonemeter.com provides a great insight to the number of iPhones that have been sold by country. That way you can determine the numbers you need to reach etc.


Either path you go down, ie developing an iPhone application or iPhone pages, you’ll need to have a marketing plan in place to sell or promote it. Gone are the days of simply getting included in the ITunes App Store and selling thousands of sales. Wiliam can help develop an overall strategy for the launch and promotion of these pages.

Other Platforms

Apart from the iPhone platform, is it worth considering developing pages designed for mobile interfaces? If you’re interested in having your existing site made available on the iPhone or other mobile devices or want to develop an iPhone application, contact us for more information.