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Jaded, bitter old hacks that we are, it's a rare piece of software that causes everyone in CNET UK Towers to go "ooooh" and feel the infantile delight of toying with something that might -- just might -- be really brilliant. We got that feeling with Flipboard, a free app for Apple's iPad that turns your social networks into a virtual magazine.
What is it?
Flipboard takes your Facebook accounts, and aggregates every link your friends, or the people you're following, have posted. It then takes the content and images from those URLs and tiles them on your iPad screen, in the style of a magazine. A variety of different information sources, from Twitter and Facebook to Flipboard-managed news feeds, can be accessed from a contents page, which has a maximum of nine tiles.and
You can flip through the many pages of 'news' with your finger. At any time, you can tap on one photo or news item to make it full-screen. In that view, you can comment on articles, reply to the original poster via Twitter or, if you're looking through links from Facebook, hit the all-important.
To see Flipboard in action, check out the video below. Be warned, though, that the tinkling piano and ostensibly hip presenter may make you seethe with rage and punch your fist through your monitor.
Why should I care?
What impresses us most about this app is the seamless way in which you can skip through various articles. We don't know what black magic Flipboard uses to load so many different URLs and images and tile them so quickly and beautifully, but the app's streamlined user interface makes it a joy to use.
This is the kind of application that works perfectly on the iPad. We can't see it working so well on any other piece of hardware. The touch interface is perfect for flipping through pages, and Flipboard really makes the best of the iPad's gorgeous display, with both high-resolution photos and murky Facebook snaps rendered very well indeed.