Guinness World Records: At Your Fingertips (for iPad)
Who's the stretchiest man? Where is the deadliest road? What's the most expensive coffee? If you yearn for answers to such timeless questions, look no further than the Guinness World Records: At Your Fingertips ($4.99 in the iTunes Store) for the iPad. Designed by U.K. creative agency Brandwidth, this simple but spirited app replaces the previously released Lite version, serving up 150 photographs, 140 records, 20 videos, and 3 interactive record challenges. The product: A graphic and graphically gratifying exhibition that pinches every pixel of the iPad's Multi-Touch screen. The problem: You only get a pinch of the Guinness World Records library.
Contrary to its name, this app isn't the record book at your fingertips—it's a sampling. Of the 4,000 records in print, the supplied 140 represent 3.5% of the collection. While the video clips are fun to watch, don't expect to watch for long: The 20 clips will last about a half-hour, altogether. And without a search option, you'll probably spend more time hunting for records than reading them.
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That said, users should expect this app to fill out. Any customer who downloads now can expect content updates every month or so. There will also be another challenge added to the app sometime in the next couple weeks. So, while it's still a bit spindly now, with time, it ought to grow into itself. And honestly, what other app delivers this sort of content and experience? Limitations aside, the Guinness World Records is the only iPad app that plates popped eyeballs alongside eye-popping visual effects.
Most Touchable Interface
I expected a lot from the At Your Fingertips app. It's nearly 400 megabytes, which is pretty hefty, even for an iPad app. Moreover, $5 is Rockefeller money in the iTunes Books category, under which it's classified. Granted, this one's a looker.
No question about it: images pop on iPad screen, as do the other visual treats. Flicking through the seven primary categories—Fastest, Tallest, Deadliest, Strangest, Most Expensive, Craziest, Most—I enjoyed how images and tags slid onto to backgrounds, contributing to the energy of the app. Photos, videos, and interactive element thread throughout the categories. Records lightbox, dimming the circus of icons and tags.
And it's fast. Fast from a cold start, and even faster thereafter. Videos—typically one and two-minute clips—launch immediately. High-resolution images swallow the screen. It's unfortunate that you cannot pinch-zoom imagery. It's also unfortunate that the app isn't entirely aware of the iPad's built-in accelerometer. While images rotate depending upon how you hold the device, records don't respond. Nor do the categorical screens.
Simplest App, Strangest Organization
Those complaints aside, using the app is effortless. On the home screen there's a stack of icons and tags for each of the seven primary categories, as well as a shortcut to the three Break a Record challenges. You can touch the category of interest or swipe from category to category. There's a key for decoding symbols sprinkled throughout the screens—Break a Record, Photo Gallery, Video, and Interactive—as well as an Open button that features categorical panes.
To be honest, though, I'm not sure why we need the panes: Categories are already available on the home screen or by finger-swipe. Furthermore, not all the categories are immediately visible: You have to scroll to left to reveal the remaining two options (Craziest and Most). Categorically, there are issues, also. The designation Craziest does little in the form of explanation. Competing categories of Most and Most Expensive ought to be combined for the sake of clarity. Against the backdrop of these somewhat haphazard categories, the omission of a search option is difficult to overlook.