There’s been a lot of talk about a new social media app for the iPad over the last few weeks. It’s great little app called Flipboard. The aim of the app is to take feeds from various news-related sites and your personal Twitter and Facebook feeds to create a print magazine-like presentation for the topics that you care most about. Since Flipboard made it’s public debut on July 21, it’s been exceptionally swamped by iPad users that want to get a glimpse of the slick presentation that Flipboard gives you. I admit, I’ve been waiting for my email address to be given the green light to add my Facebook and Twitter feeds to the setup before I wrote up a review. I got my notification today, so I’ve been doing some poking around to see how things work.
I have to say that the app is really beautifully designed. The app launches with a nice pictorial view of a variety of possible “stories” from people that are in your feeds and from places that are pre-populated by Flipboard. Once on the Contents page, you can customize your screen to follow a variety of different topics and writers from pre-populated sources or you can search Twitter or Facebook for your favorite people.
It allows you to create a personal social magazine. You can flip through a magazine-style presentation of the things that your friends are posting to Facebook and Twitter, or you can add your favorite Twitter users and lists. You’re able to leave comments and share anything you read in the app. When your click on an article in the page view, you get a box with that specific article. On the article screen, you can also see any tweets that link to the article or post. If you just want to move on to the next article, you can just keep swiping and the next item will come up. Want to go back to your page view, just click on the little “x” in the top corner.
The only nitpick I have so far is that there are some connection problems occasionally with the Twitter and Facebook feeds. You’ll launch the app and you’ll get a “No Content” error on one or both of the boxes there. A lot of times that will go away if you close the app and relaunch, but it’s just a minor frustration. I suspect that it’s just a small connection problem with all the people out there trying to get this working.
The only other thing that I can see that could be a potential problem for Flipboard is the question of “Is Flipboard legal?” There have been a few place around the web that have tackled the topic, like Gizmodo and Wired, and I can understand both sides of the argument. Flipboard is using technology like the Reader function in Apple’s Safari browser to cache the content to Flipboard’s servers. Based on comments from Flipboard’s Co-founder Evan Doll, they are trying to be careful to not pull whole articles into Flipboard. Stories that come into the viewer are just little snippets of things and you can click on the “Read on Web” and get the full article. Tech pundits are wondering if the “content scraping” of non-affiliated sites is going to lead Flipboard to a copyright issue. How that will play out, we’ll have to just watch and see how that ends.
All that aside, Flipboard is a very slick app. It’s nice to see some out-of-the-box thinking with an app. If you have an iPad and your in to social media, Flipboard is a great app to have. The Flipboard App is available for free at www.flipboard.com or from the App Store on the iPad. Check it out!