First Look: Flipboard for iPad

There are already lots of opinions on places like iTunes for Flipboard for iPad. If you were looking at some of them in the first week, users were pissed. I was so freaking excited to get “my” content on my Flipboard, I just had to wait a while. So after about 3 days i was finally able to get it all setup and it was over the weekend, so the folks who developed Flipboard were indeed working on adding capacity. (hey, I used to be a systems architect for a similar model, I know what it takes, and so far, so good for you guys.)

Anyway, let’s talk about what I think Flipboard can do. I think the best way to describe Flipboard is that it is a media aggregator. It is completely configurable with up to 9 sources which you then flip through to read much like any digital magazine and it even has a page flip animation which overall, is nice, simple and makes good use of the iPad screen. Reading can be done in landscape or portrait mode. I will point out that the sources are a bit limited but Facebook and Twitter feeds are among the top possible choices so getting used to seeing your own media inside Flipboard is pretty easy and quite interesting given the layout of the data displayed. You can also easily repost to any configured services or forward/browse stories and links to share something which crossed your path.

Now for what Flipboard doesn’t do. There is no reload button, so when trying to browse on a slower connection, it can certainly be frustrating. And by slower, I don’t just mean 3G vs WIFI, but more like 3G vs Edge. Edge seems to be the killer but without a reload button, and some kind of Edge aware caching, I don’t know if the reload button would help, but I still feel this is necessary.

Another thing is the current lack of RSS support, but the folks at flipboard are currently working on , or are about to be, that feature. There is also no text only or low bandwidth mode, so speed, even across 3G, means there may still be some waiting depending on the number of images being loaded. There are also no groupings of data that can be configured. You’re stuck at 9 configurable inputs and that’s it. One thing it does do though is that Flipboard not only aggregates the data you want it to, but you get to share and reply to things you see. I’m just pointing that out again though I mentioned it earlier, I think this aspect needs to be reinforced. It’s not just a hews reader with a pretty face, though it does have one of those, it is a communications application to help us manage our social data. So head on over to iTunes and grab yourself a copy and try it out and en give feedback to the flipboard folks as they sure seem to be listening (@flipboard on Twitter). Likewise you can check out the feedback forums and tell them what you think.

Overall a great app with a lot of potential and great built-in feeds which can be replaced with any protocol they support as well as preconfigured feeds which you may also like. I do recommend this app, and have yet to see anything quit like it in the app store to date. I just hope they keep the pace with the user issues and balance that with good clean technology as they continue to work through features and bugs. Don’t forget, if your trying it now, you’re on the bleeding edge of this technology so understand there will be changes and issues along the way. So be sure to utilize their feedback forums!
Homepage: http://www.flipboard.com
Feedback: http://getsatisfaction.com/flipboard

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