Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
One million people may have already bought Apple's iPad gizmo, and tens of millions of people own an iPhone.
Does the luxury industry care? Eh, not so much.
Out of the world's top ten most powerful luxury brands (as ranked by Forbes in 2009), not a single website was capable of matching desktop-laptop usability on the iPad-iPhone platform.
The key issue, according to PSFK, a research and innovation company, is that luxury brands use Flash to build their websites. Apple's iPhone and iPad don't support Flash.
When viewed through the iPad, many of the luxury brands’ websites simply fail to load and instead ask the user to download Flash – a request which is not an option for the device’s owner. Three brands of the top 10 offer a store locator but the Chanel’s offering is so poorly designed (read: not even contemplated) that it looks like it was created for the worldwide web of 1993.Prada, Fendi, Cartier, Moet & Chandon, Hennessy, and Rolex all fail to load. Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, and Vuitton only offer partial functionality.
To be fair, the PSFK review takes a strong pro-Apple stance—i.e. working on the underlying assumption that all brands immediately ought to adapt to conform to Apple's new technology, that the future is a future without Flash.
True, it wouldn't hurt brands to have working iPad-friendly sites, but, as has always been the case, the fashion industry is not exactly the most innovation-friendly bunch of early adopters. (We will take every opportunity we can to point out that Karl Lagerfeld still communicates by fax).
The iPad was only just released a month ago, so right now it's a wait-and-see game to see whether the device has staying power—and even if the iPad audience is a luxury e-commerce audience. We've heard of a lot of people buying the iPad to use while on the loo (true story!) or to multi-task while watching games on TV. Where is the iPad-Chanel bag customer overlap?
Is this Apple's world and do we just live in it?
· Top 10 Luxury Brands’ Sites Fail To Work On iPad [PSFK]