A lot of applications make the IPad shine: they’re fast, responsive, elegant and take full advantage of the touch screen: Flipboard, Ocado, Twitter and most magazines (Wired, Economist, New York Times, …). Swiping is smooth, the whole screen is used.
Take Safari To Go: I was expecting to be able to easily flick through my collection of Safari books stored offline, it was the reason why I bought the IPad in the first place. Well it turns out you can’t even swipe the pages!!! You have to press left/right arrow buttons to navigate. It’s full of strange rounded dialogs that waste space. It’s very buggy. The table of contents appears in an annoying modal dialog right in the middle of the screen, the table hierarchy is flatten and slow to scroll down… I actually find the web version of Safari Online Books to be much more usable than the IPad app, even if the web version does not support offline storage.
Amazon Touch Shopping is not as buggy but you will find similar clunky rounded dialogs, wasted space, slow scrolling plus some very annoying sounds that acknowledge every user action.
Although it’s fantastic to be able to watch BBC programs on the IPad for the price of a TV license, the BBC IPlayer app suffers from the same sort of web-like sluggishness.
- I read that OReilly removed Safari To Go from the app store on 24/11/2011, 3 weeks after it introduced it. They’re currently working on a new version (yeah!).
- There is now a proper BBC IPlayer (released 10/02/2011) designed for the IPad from the ground up. It’s much much much nicer than the previous one.