Dave Winer reports that the NY Post blocks iPad access to its website when you use the iPad’s standard Safari web browser. The Post wants you to buy its iPad app, which is priced at $1.99 and apparently requires an additional $6.99 for a monthly subscription. In the meantime, the content is free from your computer or from another tablet.
The solution is completely obvious. Apple could stop sending back information to the servers that identify me as an iPad user. Or give me a way to edit that information.
The user agent reported by Safari on the iPad (wrapping the line so it fits) is
Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J3 Safari/6533.18.5
Apple could change the user agent string to omit mentioning the iPad or allow a user to set an alternative user agent. For example, this is the user agent reported by Safari from my MacBook Pro:
Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_6_7; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.21.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.5 Safari/533.21.1
I tested the Cyberspace web browser on the iPad, and it is (so far) immune to the Post’s redirection. Its user agent is almost identical to the iPad’s but apparently different enough that it isn’t detected.
Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/8J3