This past week-end it seemed like everyone I follow on Twitter who lives in the U.S. got an iPad. For two days 80% of tweets appearing on my screen where about the iPad. Of course now I want one more then before but I have to resign waiting for release in The Netherlands which isn’t even scheduled yet.
But for us who don’t have an iPad for one reason or the other and do have a netbook(or any computer for the matter), we can enjoy a tiny bit of the iPad internet experience.
Google has already upgraded their websites for iPad support, with the Gmail iPad version being the most notorious one. It is worth mentioning that the Gmail iPad UI was made taking a touch screen in account and a browser with web kit engine.
Create a faux iPad browser
A netbook is ideal for this considering the 10 inch screen. Install Google Chrome if you don’t have it yet and from within Chrome(see the upper right icons)create an application shortcut. Go into the info details of the shortcut icon on the desktop and locate “Target”. Find the end of the string and do a space after “chrome.exe” and then paste the following line:
-user-agent="Mozilla/5.0(iPad; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B314 Safari/531.21.10"
This will change the user-agent of this specific Chrome window to pass as an iPad browser, surf to your Gmail account and it should look like this:
A much nicer and easier interface for a small screen and you can get an idea of what to expect when/if you buy an iPad. I browsed the web some and some website will give you their mobile version. But I assume it won’t be long before websites start optimizing for the iPad like Google has done with Gmail.
Apple has a special page listing websites that are optimized for the iPad, mostly by adding HTML5 video and audio instead of Flash. This is also great if you have a netbook or laptop with little CPU power, HTML5 requires less CPU power then Flash. Heck it happened a few times that Flash crashed my Firefox on my 2Ghz and 2GB RAM Mac Mini with only Firefox and Tweetie running.
Finally you can add an extra touch to your iPad-Chrome by adding a custom icon. Find an icon(.ico) of your liking via Google. Go back into the info details of the Chrome shortcut you created and find the icon details, browse and select your new icon. Rename the shortcut to “Faux iPad” or something else and you are done!
Now you can enjoy the internet with websites fitted for small screen efficiency and faster video and sound loading, courtesy of the iPad.