The iPad as a device could well be considered the first digital magazine. Its size, orientation, and high resolution screen nearly makes holding and reading it like a traditional paper magazine. And the developers of the magazine app, Flipboard, were probably the first to recognize how the iPad could turn the Internet into a mobile web magazine.
When Flipboard was initially released back in December 2010, it got off to a shaky start. It didn’t quite work well for many users, but in a matter of weeks it became Apple’s iPad App of the Year, and later TIME magazine’s top 50 Innovations. It was the first software of its kind that made browsing the Internet like reading a magazine — with digital “flipping” pages, and direct in-app connections to personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. We have made references to Flipboard in numerous MUO articles, but we have yet to give it a full review for beginners on the iPad.
How Flipboard for iPad Works
When you open Flipboard on your iPad, you see a series of random full-page dissolving images that give the app its magazine feel. These images are pulled from your subscribed content in the app.
You flip to the homepage which features top Cover Stories and some pre-selected Flipboard Picks of websites to get you started. When you give Flipboard permission to access your existing social network accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it allows you to view these sites like pages of a magazine, without the other webpage distractions.
You can also add other social networking sites including Google+, Flickr, Tumblr, LinkedIn, your YouTube channel, and the RSS feed, Google Reader. This subscription feature brings all your most visited accounts in one place.
When you tap on a subscription, you get pages of the most recently posted content. For some websites, selected articles are stripped of the surrounding web content so you can focus on the article without distractions; or in the case of MakeUseOf, articles are presented in the sites they originated from.
Adding and Deleting Content
You can delete individual subscriptions the same way you delete apps from your iPad, by simply pressing down on a subscription until the delete buttons appear. If you want to cancel the process, simply tap again.
You add content by tapping on the red bookmark search button on the top right. Inside the sliding right panel you get over a dozen categories of content to subscribe to, including News, Business, Tech & Science, Photos & Design, Sports, and City Guides. Inside these categories are hundreds of online magazines and websites to add to your Flipboard.
In its most recent update, Flipboard added a Books section, mostly made of all the category of books and short reviews found in the iTunes iBookstore. NPR Book reviews and related articles are also at the top of the list.
You can also do a keyword search for other content not presented in any of the categories. And when you tap on the red “Your Flipboard” button, you can edit, re-order, and delete your existing subscriptions.
As Flipboard grew in popularity, similar magazine applications like Zite and Pulse were developed for the iPad, each with their own unique styles and orientations. I highly recommend downloading all three of these magazine apps and seeing which one you are most comfortable with.
Let us know what you think of Flipboard for iPad, and what features you would like to see added.