Developers are starting to realize that while the iPad might be little more than a “giant iPod Touch,” it needs to be treated very differently. You can’t just scale up–you need to think about how the device is used and how you can take advantage of its magazine-sized screen. Apps like Pulse, the snazzy news-reader app, are starting to figure out how to make the iPad more than it appears, and this new one, Flipboard, hopes to do the same for the social Web.
Flipboard takes your Facebook and Twitter feeds and uses the information within to create a sort of interactive magazine–Flipboard calls it “your personal magazine–that includes not just status updates, but links, photos, videos, and whatever else your friends have shared. So it’s not a static list of tweets, but rather an amalgam of links shared, updates, and photos in a magazine-style layout. Status updates look like pull quotes, and photos, since they draw your eye in, are given precedence. You can comment, “Like,” or delve deeper into that person’s profile from there.
There are some issues: All Things D notes that it doesn’t cache, so you’ll have to be locked into a wireless network (3G or Wi-Fi) to use it, and that it doesn’t offer many personalization options. But it looks really beautiful and unusual, and definitely worth a try.
Flipboard was founded by Evan Doll, a former iPhone engineer at Apple, and Mike McCue. The company just snagged $10.5 million in startup cash from such luminaries as Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, former That ’70s Show actor Ashton Kutcher, and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moscovitz, so it just may have some staying power.
Flipboard is available today in the App Store for free. In the future, the app may have ads, which will probably come in the form of full-page images, just like in a magazine–but for now, it’s ad-free.