The Localization of iPhone

So I gave in to my inner geek and purchased an iPhone.

One of the things I first noticed (and love) about the Web browser is the .com button on the keypad, shown here.

iPhone keypad

Of course, this little shortcut isn’t so handy if I want to visit a .org or .edu Web site.

It’s also not much use for visiting country-specific Web sites, such as

Which is why the localization of this interface is going to be an interesting thing to watch evolve.

It is just a matter of time before we see the iPhone launched around the world. So does that mean the .com key will be replaced by .de or .fr keys? I imagine so.

This will give companies yet another good reason to register country code domains. While a Web user in France may first go to and then navigate to when visiting a Web site. Using the iPhone, it’s likely that person will simply go to, an example of a new interface changing user behavior.

The other interesting thing I’ve noticed on the iPhone so far is that it doesn’t appear to be using a “conventional” Unicode font. That is, I’m finding that the interface displays Chinese and other Asian scripts just fine — as well as Cyrillic — but it can’t display Arabic or Hebrew scripts. What this says to me is that Apple doesn’t have the Middle East on its near-term global expansion plans. My guess is that it’s using the scaled-down font to conserve drive space. Documentation is hard to come by so far so I’d love to hear from anyone out there who knows more about this.

I’ve been to Europe once so far and the iPhone held up quite nicely; AT&T didn’t hit me up for too much in roaming fees. It is interesting — though not surprising — that you can’t de-activate cellular roaming and just rely on Wi-Fi. I did have a faulty power adapter but got that replaced at the Apple store with no resistance.

But back to the Web browser. I know this has been said many times before, but this is the first phone that makes browsing the Web about as easy as it is on a computer. And I suspect that over time this will have an impact not only on how companies develop Web sites in the US, but how they localize these sites for markets around the world.

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2 thoughts on “The Localization of iPhone”

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    Display Type 16M colors
    Size 480 x 320 pixels
    Camera Resolution 2MP
    Video Yes
    Flashlight No
    Connectivity GPRS Yes
    HSDPA No
    EDGE Yes
    3G Yes
    WiFi Yes
    Bluetooth Yes
    A2DP No
    USB Yes
    Ringtones Type yes
    Card slot no
    Internal user memory 8gb
    Stand-by time Up to 250 hours
    Talk time Up to 8 hours
    Features Messaging SMS, Email
    FM radio No
    Games No
    Speaker phone Yes
    Operating System OS X v10.4.8
    Touch-screen Yes
    General Network GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900
    Announced 2007, January
    Status Available
    Size Dimensions 115 x 61 x 11.6 mm
    Weight 135 g
    Display Type Touchscreen, 16M colors
    Size 320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches
    Multi-touch input method
    Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
    Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
    Ringtones Type Polyphonic, MP3
    Customization Download
    Vibration Yes
    3.5 mm headset jack
    Memory Phonebook Advanced, Photocall
    Call records Yes
    Card slot No
    4/8 GB shared memory
    Data GPRS Yes
    HSCSD No
    EDGE Yes
    3G No
    WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
    Bluetooth Yes, v2.0
    Infrared port No
    USB Yes, v2.0
    Features OS Mac OS X v10.4.8
    Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
    Browser HTML (Safari)
    Games Yes
    Camera 2 MP, 1600×1200 pixels, video
    Google Maps
    Widgets support
    iPod audio/video player
    PIM including calendar, to-do list
    Photo browser/editor
    Voice memo
    Integrated handsfree

    Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion
    Talk time Up to 5 h


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