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Sunday, 1 January 2012
Get An IPad For Christmas? Top IPad Social Apps You Must Have
Social networking apps get better on the big screen. While the mobile experience is great for that untethered, out and about, live streaming and discovery social existence and perfect for creating content, there's an equally great pleasure in switching on your iPad from the comfort of your home and becoming a consumer of social affairs instead.
Sadly, there aren't quite as many iOS social networking apps optimised for iPad as one might like and expect but there's still plenty of good ones to enjoy if you know where to look. So, here's the best iPad social apps according to us lot at Pocket-lint. Enjoy and stay in touch now.
Skype and Facebook are all very well and good but the trouble is that there's always stragglers mucking about on other chat services where you could be missing out. There's plenty of IM aggregators out there but only a few with such a good portfolio as imo and even fewer that have actually been optimised for the iPad.
With imo, you can simultaneously log into accounts on Skype, Facebook Chat, AIM, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo, Jabber, MySpace, Hyvies, Vkontakte and Steam and that covers most of the big ones. If we're getting picky, which we are, it could be a little prettier but it's still a very handy piece of software and well worth a download.
Ever since the iPad launched, Facebook always said that you don’t need a dedicated iPad app and that the Safari web browser is the best way to experience Facebook. That all changed when the official Facebook for iPad was finally introduced. Fire up the app and you are presented with a full screen experience. The app works in both landscape and portrait, although landscape works best and clicking a button in the top left hand corner reveals a menu and here you get options to quickly access your favourite pages like News Feed, Messages, Nearby, Events, and Friends.
There are some new features that we haven’t seen before. Click on the Nearby option, for example, and you get a large Google maps page with your mates dotted around the world. Seeing the data like this shows you how powerful Facebook is - and will become. Overall the app is impressive and far better than the website ever can be without adopting some serious amounts of HTML5, but there is a catch. The Facebook for iPad app is great for consuming your Facebook feeds, but not great if you want to interact with all the Facebook apps and features to the full. Read More
Sexy, this app isn't but if you want to socialise in your ultimate network as an iPad user, then the Discussion Forum for iPad users is, funnily enough, the only place to be. Aside the obvious geeking out over owning sexy hardware, the forum is actually a really useful place to pick up tips, suggestions and, most importantly, where to turn when you can't get your tablet to do that thing that, for some reason, it appears to refuse to want to do.
Naturally, it's properly designed for the big(ger) screen experience - it would be a bit stupid if it wasn't - and it's a decent flick with a decent search that makes the content as much a pleasure to find as it is to read.
The official Twitter app is nothing short of brilliant. Twitter may have just killed its own website by releasing this app into the world. First up, it isn't just a timeline viewer - there's much more to it than that. Your lists are present, as are searches and trends, and the app even supports multiple accounts. Even typing a tweet on the official app feels and looks nice. Tweets are composed via a notepad looking platform with a nice friendly and clear font.
But it's within the tweet timelines that this app really proves its worth. If a tweet contains content such as a link to a website or a picture, then simply tapping the tweet will bring up the content in a separate pane. You can then simply slide this pane back out of view when you're done with it - or leave it hovering at the side if you'll want to refer to it later. All the usual Twitter that you'd expect is on board as well, including the ability to add favourite tweets, retweet, direct message and so on. Basically, it's a fully comprehensive Twitter client from the people who know best (or should know best at least). Read More
GetGlue is the social network for people into films, TV, games, music, wine and generally the finer things you can consume in life. Rather than you live streaming your experience of sitting on your sofa or posting pictures of you in your pyjamas in front of the box, the idea is that you check-in with what you're enjoying at the moment and see what your buddies are appreciating as well.
The idea is that you can start to receive recommendations on what to read or see next and even get yourself a load of achievement stickers if you're into that sort of thing. Now as an app on the iPad, it makes a superb way to enjoy this couch potato's idea of a social network, i.e. from the comfort of your own slouching spot.
Skype is just a quick download and it is up and running straight away on your iPad. A brief login and your contact list will populate. The app is split between a conversation window and a contacts list kept on the left. When video calling in landscape this all drops away and things go full screen, giving you a nice clean video chat experience. It is exactly how the app should be, using all the iPad's screen estate to display video. Video quality was about as good as you would expect over a decent Wi-Fi connection. Things naturally lose a bit of quality when you are using 3G and battery life takes more of a hit.
Skype for iPad feels like the best possible video chat client for Apple's iPad 2. The inclusion of a front facing camera on the new tablet makes it the perfect device to use with the new Skype app. It gets a step up over FaceTime by being 3G compatible, meaning you can have video calls while out on the go. Sure it is a bit of a battery drainer and feels like a one way instant messaging client on the first gen iPad (no camera), but as a free alternative to Apple's native app you can't get much better. Read More
What if there was a magazine that was personal to you, that was customised with your own personal and social interests? Well, there is and it’s called Flipboard. As well as gathering news from a number of prominent sources, it also scours your Facebook and Twitter data and presents that info as well. What you end up with is a personalised magazine where the pages are made up of articles, videos and pictures already fetched from you from any links that appear in your social media streams, and there’s even a unique front cover, just for you.
Your magazine is presented with headlines, pictures and text, and if you click an article you get it in full screen. What’s more, you can share and reply from within the app (including Facebook thumbs ups) and, as the magazine is always evolving - newer material is always found on the first few pages - so it never gets old. Read more
Aol's instant messenger service is widely used around the world as a means to quickly send messages to friends. Think of it as a replacement for the SMS on your iPad. It's a 3G or Wi-Fi-powered way of communicating with contacts. The app has recently been redesigned from the ground up, granting greater access to chat groups and easier control over contacts and friends.
AIM is heavily incorporated into a multitude of apps but tends to exist best in its own app form. Like most social apps it is simple and easy to use, allowing you to quickly share messages and information without anything nasty getting in the way. It's also got a rather nice background customisation option to make the whole experiencing rather fetching on the iPad.
Fring acts as a way to share messages and calls between smartphone and tablet users over 3G and Wi-Fi networks. It allows you to phone friends for free and even make video calls, something which Apple's FaceTime can only manage over Wi-Fi. The app can also interact with other social networking services like AIM and Twitter, allowing one app to rule them all when it comes to communicating.
Fring actually boasts pretty decent video quality, especially when you have a good connection. You can even use the app to call desktop Skye clients. It is pretty special stuff and there aren't many social apps that can boast such cross network connectivity. What's particularly nice about the iPad version is that there's plenty of screen for the four-way group video chat to take place.