Forcing Google Apps for your Domain (GAFYD) into Mobile Mode on your iPhone
I'm thinking I'm going to take the iPhone back. I want to like it, I really do, but there's just so many things that don't fit into my life's workflow. For example, I just couldn't get the contacts and calendar to sync with Outlook for the life of me so I ended up going Outlook->Plaxo->Google Calendar->Spanning Sync->iCal->iPhone. Rube Goldberg would be proud. It's ridiculous. If it only had Exchange support...it'd be perfect. Anyway, I'm 85% going to take it back next week and pay the $40 restocking fee.
While I've been trying to get it to work I've also been totally hating the Gmail support. How can they possibly call POP3 support for Gmail support for Gmail?
The whole POINT of Gmail is that it's a view on this massive amount of email. POP3 support for Gmail apply filters (how could it?) and oddly, your own sent items come back at you as new inbox items. It's untenable if I want to keep a tidy mailbox. If Google added IMAP support, again, the problem would largely go away.
The Gmail Web Interface is yummy and wonderful in a real browser. It's utterly unusable and craptastic in the iPhone browser. The screen is too small.
Side bar: iGmail is a great compromise that Apple should take note of. It's a little Rails app that will give you an iPhone-looking interface that's really a web-proxied-face over Gmail. However, I haven't figured out how to make it point to my Google Apps Hosted Domain (where mail.hanselman.com is hosted) as GAFYD (Google Apps For Your Domain) is a fork of Gmail...it's not the same code.
So, since the Gmail Web Interface isn't usable and the POP3 solution isn't usable, what could be? Welll, Google Apps have a "mobile mode" that it'll switch into automatically when it detects a mobile device like a Windows Mobile Device or smaller phone. However, it doesn't see the iPhone this way and gives the desktop experience.
Turns out you can add /x at the end of a Gmail URL to force mobile mode like:
It's great if you're on a slow link in Africa. However, for hosted GAFYD sites the URL is different and less obvious. Also, the Gmail browser sniffer on the server side appears to really want to prevent you from "hurting yourself" and will stay in standard mode anyway.
However, try this
The trick appears to be the "?btmpl=mobile" and it works great on an iPhone, but also in IE7.
In Google Calendar for your Domain you'd add /m to the URL:
Both of these, in my opinion, make Google Apps for your Domain more usable on the iPhone until Google decides to detect the iPhone as a mobile device and not only make the experience better but also conserve a lot of bandwidth and make for a snappier experience.
I'm still taking the iPhone back though. Actually, I think this is the my first truly failed technology purchase in recent memory. I should have paid more attention to the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) numbers. ;)