I’ve been taking a look at Bentley’s new iPad app that was launched earlier today. During the past month there’s been a bounty of iPad apps released by car makers, some of them acting as product showcases whilst others provide a more multi-media form of their customer magazine. If you’ve got yourself an iPad, then these apps are a great way to explore the many features of your new gadget whilst exploring some of your favourite cars.
Before picking out the pros and cons of the new Pure Bentley iPad app, it’s worth pointing out that it’s early days for software development on the iPad – it has only been on sale since June 2010 and brands are understandably keen to get their products visible on the what’s become the fastest selling technology platform.
Plenty of Content
The App itself contains an extensive and exclusive selection of ‘on location’ photography, as well as a range of zoom-able super-high quality studio shots, which help bring each car’s dramatic styling lines to life. The images are downloadable (or can be shared with friends) with just one simple click. The cover model is Bentley’s new Continental GT, but there’s also the opportunity to take a closer look at the Mulsanne, Bentley’s new luxury flagship, as well as catching a flying glimpse of the company’s extreme 204mph (329km/h) supercar – the Continental Supersports.
There are 3 exclusive driving movies that look excellent on the iPad, behind-the-scenes multimedia movies from Bentley’s styling studios, and special ‘insider’ views from the factory floor.
In addition, users can take a longer and more leisurely drive through the Bentley story. The app will guide you through the company’s long and victorious association with racing at Le Mans, offer a detailed introduction to the unique skills of the craftsmen and women who fashion cars like the Mulsanne as well as the vast array of classic monochrome images from the past.
There are 63 pages when viewing the content in landscape mode, so you could easily spend an hour exploring it all. Unfortunately the font size is too small and is pixelated when it renders on the iPad’s 9.7″ screen. Other apps such as Jaguar or BMW’s new customer magazines use a font size double the size and can be read without zooming in.
One of the joys of navigating the latest digital content, whether it be on the iPad or one of the desktop Adobe AIR offerings (e.g. New York Times Reader) are the way they use both horizontal and vertical axis for scrolling and navigation. When implemented well it’s such a seamless and intuitive way to read a magazine or newspaper that you wonder why it hasn’t always been this way.
The Pure Bentley App offers only horizontal scrolling and furthermore each page takes more than a second to load, making for a less than seamless experience. Apps from Jaguar, Audi, BMW all scroll instantly with no delay and make far better use of the iPad’s tap-and-drag interface.
Taking these limitations into account, I found the Pure Bentley app too bloated and slow to use, I’d very much doubt anyone would read it all which is a shame since the content itself is of the highest quality – great writing, awesome photography and movies that are well worth watching on the iPad’s superb screen.
But let’s not forget it’s free, which makes it a no-brainer for anyone with an iPad to download and enjoy for themselves – despite the limitations. There are however other magazine apps that make far better use of the iPad’s capabilities, and to save you searching they’re rather usefully listed below..