The Third Device

A blog about the iPad.

What’s new on my iPad this week.

A couple of good apps, both free and paid, have found a home on my iPad in the past few days.

The most eagerly awaited one (for me anyway) hit the App Store just a few hours ago. It’s the iPad version of a calendar/to-do app that I’ve been using since my Palm days and it’s called Pocket Informant HD.

Oh look. I'm not doing anything today.

Since I use cloud-based task management and calendaring (Toodledo and Google Calendar, respectively) setting up Pocket Informant was as simple as plugging in my username/passwords for both services and doing a full sync. Within minutes I was up and running. I look forward to giving this app a good workout over the next few days but for now it seems as stable and full featured as I could have hoped. Grab it now while it’s still being sold at a launch price of $7.

Now on to another recent release. Next up is the wildly popular Flipboard “social magazine” app. It’s hard to peg down exactly what it is – it’s not quite an RSS reader, not quite a Facebook / Twitter client, and not quite a photo browser. It’s a combination of all three.

Flipboard home page

What it does have, and in spades, is a polished, refined and elegant user interface that makes even the most inane tweets or FB status updates seem pithy and intellectual! You have to check out this video and appreciate its gorgeously designed, responsive layout.

A sample page from my Twitter feed

As you can see from the above screenshot, it adds a lot of class to the act of browsing your social networks. However, it still doesn’t replace a full featured Twitter client or the Facebook website. For instance, when browsing a Twitter feed, there’s no obvious way to compose a new tweet – you can seemingly only respond to or retweet someone else’s post. (Hint: You can however just delete their @usernames from your reply to start a fresh tweet). You also have no access to any custom lists that you might have, nor can you do a search. In fact, there seems to be no way to even set a refresh time or force a refresh other than quitting the app and relaunching.

Flipboard Photos page

It also offers you other pre-selected channels (tech, sports, news, etc) that aggregate interesting articles and photos from around the web. Unlike a dedicated RSS reader, there’s no way to subscribe to a specific feed or website, so you’re stuck with the default topics for now.

Overall, it’s a very promising app with loads of potential. The engine is powerful and beautiful and it’s just a matter of ramping up the features in succeeding updates. The past day or two, there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response, and you may even have trouble configuring your Facebook and Twitter accounts because the Flipboard server is still getting hammered.

Flipboard has rocketed to the top of the App Store charts, and for good reason – did I mention it’s free? Download it now.

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July 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments