One of the best things about using an iPad is the great apps that we can run on it. There are excellent apps for just about any purpose you can think of. Better still, there are lots of great free apps for the iPad. Our Best Free iPad App of the Week posts celebrate these apps.
This week’s pick is Trapit for iPad, a news app that offers a high degree of personalization and learns to deliver better content as you give it feedback. Here’s a slice of its App Store intro:
Trapit makes surfing the Internet on the iPad easy, beautiful, and uniquely personal. Connect with long standing passions and explore new subjects, all delivered in a elegant experience meticulously designed just for the iPad. Built with powerful AI technology, Trapit delivers an on-going personalized selection of the newest articles, features, blogs and video on the topics you care about and learns as you use it.
When you launch the app for the first time you need to register – this is a very quick process and can be done via a Twitter or Facebook account, or with an email address. Once that’s done you get straight into letting the app know what sort of content you want to see. You’re prompted to tell it what you’re passionate about – starting with entering keywords for subjects you care about or want to explore.
Topics are called traps in the app, hence the app’s name. There’s a featured traps section curated by the Trapit team – these can be filtered by categories like news, sports, business, and technology.
Trapit learns from your interactions with the content it presents. It asks you to thumbs-up articles that interest you most so it can refine what it offers you. It doesn’t seem to learn from thumbs-downs, or at least doesn’t show that it is doing anything. Once you give it five thumbs up within any trap or subject it lets you know that it will begin personalizing its discoveries for you. When you dislike a source you can say why, by tapping on Not Relevant, Dislike Source, or Possible Spam/Abuse.
The app’s interface makes it easy to give a thumbs up or down on items of course.
The app has a new discoveries sidebar on the right, which starts populating once you’ve started using the thumbs-up actions.
The quality and relevance of the content Trapit serves up has improved quite a bit following a mid-August update of the app. My iPad and Tablet Wars traps are yielding especially on-target results – and helping me to discover quite a few good new sources as well. The range of sources is very broad and turns up some items you don’t tend to see anywhere else. The only exception to this is in my Sports trap – which, at least for my tastes, is very poor.
When it comes to the Sports trap / section, it seems like Trapit is trying to combine my interests or something similar. I say this because I see far too many sports items that are more technology or even finance related – when what I actually want is just pure sports stories.
The app has handy links to Instapaper and Evernote and also lets you save articles to its own reading list for offline access. You can share articles you find interesting via Twitter, Facebook, and email.
Trapit isn’t quite as compelling as Flipboard or Zite, but it’s certainly another very good resource to have around.
Here’s an App Store link for Trapit for iPad.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week. We’ve also recently put together a best of the best of our selections from the last year in a Top 25 Best Free iPad Apps list.