By PCMag.com / Alan Henry
One of the best things about the iPad as a platform is the flexibility developers have to aggregate media and other Web content in an interface that looks attractive and feels natural when you interact with it. Most Web services and content aggregators that have developed apps for the iPad look great, but none of them really capture the magazine-like feel of Flipboard, a new iPad app that aggregates social media in a unique and attractive way.
Flipboard has been making waves lately partially because of how well it fits with the iPad’s touch interface and how closely it really does resemble an interactive magazine, but also because of the way it collects all of the articles, blog posts, images, and videos that your social network is discussing.
Flipboard is a free app, and once you have it installed and you’re logged in to your Facebook and Twitter accounts (if you want the app to see them), it will scan your friends’ posts and present the links and articles that they’ve been posting to Facebook or Twitter to you in a magazine-like layout. Your Facebook friends, their shared links, photos, and videos are all arranged in a layout that looks much better than Facebook itself, and the links from the people you follow on Twitter are pre-loaded and the articles displayed in-line.
You don’t have to scroll endlessly through pages and pages of content to find the things you’re looking for, either: They’re all laid out on pages that look like you’re reading an actual magazine, and you can move your finger across the iPad display to flip between pages. The app also recognizes if your iPad is in portrait or display mode, and will change the page layout accordingly.
Once you have your accounts added, the app will show you all of your available sections, and you can opt to view just the links and posts from your Facebook friends, the people you follow on Twitter, or any of the pre-loaded channels that the app from popular news sources elsewhere on the Web. When you enter one of the channels based on your social network, the app displays the media from your social networks laid out like a magazine, with the hottest and most popular news stories highlighted.
If someone’s posted something particularly interesting, you can tap it to zoom in on the article and read the whole thing. If there’s an associated image or embedded video, you can tap it to zoom in on the image or to play the video inside the app without having to leave Flipboard and open a video player. When you’re using the Twitter or Facebook sections of the app, you have the ability to interact with your social network straight from Flipboard, which means you can like, comment, and re-share links on Facebook from inside Flipboard. Over in the Twitter section you can retweet and reply to links and interesting tweets as well.
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