Oops: The iPad Just Broke Your Site

By Steve Smith

Or your site just broke the iPad. Once the initial dazzle of Apple’s new cool toy abated (we calculate it having occurred nationwide at about 8 p.m. ET on Saturday), then we hope magazine executives warmed up that Safari browser to see whether the iPad and its notorious lack of Flash support works with their sites. Apple has already issued a short list of “iPad ready” destinations that include People.com, CNN.com, NationalGeographic.com and others. That list may not get longer in a hurry.

In our first passes of some major magazine destinations, however, we ran across some interesting results.

The entire carousel of features at Meredith’s BHG is just one massive field of emptiness.

UsMagazine.com turns into a mess above the fold because the slideshow of images dominating the page fails to load.

Similarly, at Playboy.com the lack of Flash support in the browser omits the entire top of the landing page and makes the site look like a gallery of thumbnails to the sections. At Style.com, much of the right rail of tabbed navigation and some key ad blocks are blank. Ironically, GQ.com has a lead story “GQ Rocks the iPad” on its cover…that is invisible to the iPad’s own browser.

UPDATE: Someone at Condé Nast Digital was paying attention, because sometime this morning the GQ.com site architecture changed to better accomodate the iPad browser. See the new look below.

Several sites we visited interpreted the iPad as a mobile browser and served up its “m-dot” version. Newsweek.com, Cosmopolitan and NYMag.com all behaved this way. When we clicked into the full version of Cosmopolitan, both the main marquee of features was broken on the iPad as was the video player.

While most of the Hachette sites also defaulted to the mobile versions, the full sites seemed to play nicely on the iPad browser.

In an earlier survey about anticipated uses of the iPad, Web browsing was far and away the most commonly cited. Analysts have been readjusting their estimates of iPad sales upward all weekend, with some targeting 4 million to 5 million in sales this year.