If you are a fan of TED talks, you might be interested to know that the catalog of TED “ideas worth spreading” can also be accessed in an official app for the iPad. While you can easily browse the catalogue of presentations on the TED website, the companion TED Conferences for the iPad (Free) puts the talks and stories in the palm of your hands. It also includes a few nifty feature that makes browsing and and finding unfamiliar presentations easier and inspiring.
The TED app enables you to use the familiar iPad finger gestures to navigate the homepage and other features of the listed presentations. You can sort and browse presentations by “most recent”or “most popular”, or filter them by one of six categories, including technology, entertainment, design, business, science, and global issues.
You can select to watch presentations in the video or audio formats. Each presentation has its own page, allowing you to share links to your social network or via email, as well as bookmark and save them to your iPad. All your saved talks can be downloaded and made available for offline viewing.
Individual presentation pages also include a brief description of the talk and speaker, as well as suggestions for what talks to watch next, and related themes and tags.
The catalog includes nearly 1,500 presentations. If you don’t quite know where to begin, or if you just have some general ideas about what you want to watch, you should try out the Inspire Me feature of the app. You are presented with nine broad categories, including Courageous, Funny, Persuasive, Ingenious, Jaw-Dropping, Fascinating, Informative, and Inspiring.
After making your selection, you tell the app the length of time you want to watch a playlist of presentations. The app serendipitously chooses videos for you to watch “Now”or “Later”. You can also download the playlist for offline viewing.
The TED app of course also has a search feature, and a listing of all themed presentations including Talks from TED Fellows, What Makes Us Happy?, Food Matters, Women Reshaping the World, Technology, History and Destiny, Live Music, and Is There a God?.
Since TED talks don’t include question and answer sessions, watching the themed presentations is a great way to see and hear varying points of view about more controversial topics, such as the environment, theology, war and peace, and poverty.
Unfortunately, unlike the web version of TED, the iPad app does not allow you to leave comments about presentations. There is also no portal to TED community forums, or the TED Blog.
Despite these shortcomings, TED Conferences for the iPad, and the iPhone, provide a convenient way to consume its vast catalog of talks and presentations. It definitely deserves to be on our Best of iPad Apps. But let us know what you think of TED talks and if you use its iOS app.