Want to test drive iPad without heading over to an Apple store?  Here’s a way you can experience some of the iPad UI straight from your browser!

The iPad is the latest gadget from Apple to wow the tech world, and people even waited in line all night to be one of the first to get their hands on one.  Thanks to a simple JavaScript trick, however, you can get a feel for some of its new features without leaving your computer.  This won’t let you try out everything on the iPad, but it will let you see how the new lists and pop-over menus work just like they do in the new apps.

Test drive the iPad’s UI from your browser

Normally, the Apple iPhone developer library online looks like a standard webpage.

But, on the iPad, it looks and feels like a full-blown native iPad app.  With a nifty JavaScript trick from boredzo.org you can use this same interface on your PC.  Since the iPad uses the Safari browser, we ran this test in Safari for Windows.  If you don’t already have it installed, you can download it from Apple (link below) and setup as normal.

Now, open Safari and browse to Apple’s developer page at:


Now, enter the following in the address bar, and press Enter.

javascript:localStorage.setItem('debugSawtooth', 'true')

Finally, click this link to go to the iPhone OS documentation.


After a short delay, it should open in full iPad style!

The left menu works just like the menus on the iPad, complete with transitions.  It feels entirely like a native application, instead of a webpage.  To scroll through text, click and pull up or down similar to the way you would use it on a touch screen.

Some pages even include a pop-over menu like many of the new iPad apps use.

Note that the page will be rendered for the size of your browser, and if you resize your window the page will not resize with it.  Simply press F5 to reload the page, and it will resize to fit the new window size.  If you resize your window to be tall and narrow, like the iPad in horizontal mode, the webpage will change and the left menu will disappear in lieu of a drop-down menu just like it would if you rotated the iPad.

This works in Chrome as well, since it, like Safari, is based on Webkit.  However, it didn’t seem to work in our test on Firefox or other browsers.

We’ve previously covered how you can experience some of the iPhone’s UI with the online iPhone user guide.  Check it out if you haven’t yet:

View Mobile Websites in Windows with Safari 4 Developer Tools


Although this doesn’t let you really try out all of the iPad’s interface, it at least gives you a taste of how it works.  It’s exciting to see how much functionality can be packed into webapps today.  And don’t forget, How-to Geek is giving away an iPad to a random fan!  Head over to our Facebook page and fan How-to Geek if you haven’t already done so.

Win an iPad on the How-To Geek Facebook Fan Page

Matthew Guay
Matthew Guay is a veteran app reviewer and technology tip writer. His work has appeared on Zapier's blog, AppStorm, Envato Tuts+, and his own blog, Techinch.
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