This is what today’s popular websites look like on the 1st generation iPhone

Luc Luxton
Jan 11, 2016 · 4 min read

January 9, 2016, marked 9 years since Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at the Macworld Expo. I can remember watching the keynote in amazement and realizing that the product being announced was going to change everything.

Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone — Steve Jobs

I received a 1st generation iPhone as a birthday gift last year from a good friend of mine and I really haven’t done much with it. I started wondering if the phone could be used day-to-day if needed and if so, what the experience would be like today.

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iPhone (1st Gen) on left, iPhone 6s Plus on right

So, I thought it might be fun to have a look at what the most popular websites today look like on that incredibly revolutionary device.

A couple quick notes: The 1st generation iPhone I have is running the latest available version of iOS for the device, iOS 3.1.3. Both phones were connected to a home wi-fi network.

So, let’s have a look at medium.com

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Left: iPhone (1st gen) — 32.97 sec load time, Right: iPhone 6s Plus- <1 sec load time

It’s actually not bad. Except for a few missing elements like the search icon in the upper right and the Medium logo in the upper left, the site is fully usable. It did take a lengthy 32.97 seconds to load the first time but not nearly as long as some of the other sites you’ll see below.

Next up: The Verge

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Left: iPhone (1st gen) — 3 min 3.6 sec load time, Right: iPhone 6s Plus– 2.8 sec load time

This one was much worse… The site looks like a mess on the 1st gen iPhone. We see overlapping elements, broken formatting and worst of all, it took a whopping 3 minutes, 3.6 seconds to load the homepage. SMH

Next: The New York Times

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Left: iPhone (1st gen) — 56.4 sec load time, Right: iPhone 6s Plus– 2.7 sec load time

I thought The New York Times would be an interesting one to take a look at seeing as it was one of the original sites Steve Jobs showed off on stage at Macworld when he was demoing Safari. The New York Times today looks pretty similar to the iPhone’s youngest sibling, the 6s. It was also one of the most usable sites of the bunch. This is most likely due to the fact that NYT still uses a mobile-optimized version of the site rather than a responsive, full featured site. The site took 56.4 seconds to load on the 1st gen iPhone. Not amazing, but not that bad for a 9-year-old device.

(Added) NYT’s Desktop Site

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Left: iPhone (1st gen) — 2 min 2.83 sec load time, Right: iPhone 6s Plus– 1.02 sec load time

Someone pointed out that when Steve Jobs demoed Safari on the iPhone, he showed off the desktop version of The New York Times website which is correct and I somehow overlooked. The home page took quite a while to fully load but once it did, it looked great.

Good ol’ Facebook

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Left: iPhone (1st gen) — 5.9 sec load time, Right: iPhone 6s Plus– <1 sec load time

Facebook is also serving up a mobile version of the site which is super fast. I loaded the Facebook home page in 5.9 seconds on the iPhone (1st gen). This site not only loaded the fastest of the 4 websites tested, but was also the least broken of the lot. The site looks and acts as you would expect and is fully usable on the original iPhone. I can only assume it has something to do with Facebook engineering team’s focus on speed and site size for users in developing countries with limited bandwidth and hardware.

Closing

It was fun having a look at what some of the most popular tech, news and social sites look like today on the original iPhone. It is interesting to see how far we’ve come with both software and hardware since this phone was released and as always, I’m excited to see what Apple has up their sleeve next.

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Luc Luxton

Written by

Technology. Photography. Travel. Director, Tourism Partnerships @ CrowdRiff

HackerNoon.com

Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean

Luc Luxton

Written by

Technology. Photography. Travel. Director, Tourism Partnerships @ CrowdRiff

HackerNoon.com

Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean

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