Stephen Fry’s first iPad app – FryPaper – has launched today, as expected, to go along with the launch of the iPad in the UK (and eight other nations). The name of the app – originally said to be FryPad – looks to have been changed to fall in line with Apple’s policy on no usage of the word ‘pad’ within app titles.
The app is a very basic and bare bones one for now, in which some of Fry’s latest writings are shared.
Here is Fry’s own description of this ‘little something’ of an app:
You may, rightly, think that this FryPaper app is rather simple and unexciting. Indeed it is. There are the device, the content and you and we are not very interested in clouding the interaction between the three. We might add this bell or that whistle from time to time and as occasion and opportunity might suggest, but for the moment we are happy to offer this as no more than a little something. If the mood strikes me to blog, microblog or blessay the app can suck that content from the site and let you know that it has done so and you can read it in an iPaddy sort of way. That is all there is to it.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say unexciting. Anything that contains Fry’s writing or latest thoughts is going to have a hard time living down to that word.
Right now, the app has five of Fry’s recent pieces from his web site, stephenfry.com. They are rendered nicely and simply in both portrait and landscape modes.
Fry’s writing is always so good that it doesn’t need any bells and whistles to accompany it, but the app is missing some more basic elements that would be nice to see in an update soon. A few for instances:
— You swipe right to scroll through the pages of an article. This is non-standard, at least compared to most of the book and magazine apps that I have seen so far for the iPad. In those, you swipe up to scroll down through an individual article, and right to move to the next article or section. I think FryPaper should adopt this fledgling standard,
— You do not get any popup controls or action buttons if you tap within a page. Again, that is a fairly standard UI element that is implemented in most book and magazine apps.
— There is not table of contents – it’s not needed right now, with just five articles, but I hope we’ll see one come along as the amount of content grows.
There is one little bell/whistle sort of element within the app, that I think is done very well – a lovely, colorful popup when you hit the Share button for an article.
With all the aggregators and compilations we’re offered in the App Store – for following websites and for collections of books from many authors – it can be hard to get your head around apps for single sites or authors. Stephen Fry is one of those writers and thinkers whose work is more than interesting enough to make it worth a go though, IMHO.
You can find the FryPaper app in the App Store now, and it is a free app.