Recently, it was my pleasure to write the review for a pretty amazing new app for the iPad. It is called "Ultimate Sharks" from the Discovery Channel, and it is obvious that a lot of effort and thought has gone into the development of this excellent app. From the beginning of our experiences with this app, it became apparent that it would be something special in the educational app/interactive book genre. From the excellent interface, all the way down to the amazing attention to detail regarding the source material, this app is a "treasure trove" of fascinating info for anyone who is interested in sharks. Here's the marketing description straight from the source to give you a feel for what this app can do,Now that you understand what the app intends, let us share our experience with it, and how well it lives up to this hype.Ultimate Sharks
With Ultimate Sharks, Discovery takes Shark Week beyond the television with its first interactive narrative product. This product re-imagines how digital publishing and non-fiction programming will merge to create new entertainment experiences for personal media devices. Ultimate Sharks, built exclusively for iPad, seamlessly blends the best in natural history video, interactive animation, award winning photography and narrative writing into a powerful immersive experience.
Narrated exclusively by Mike Rowe, Ultimate Sharks submerges you into the predatory world of the ocean’s deadliest sharks and features:
10 DEADLIEST SHARKS: Packed with robust content about the most fearsome shark species known including the Great White, Hammerhead, Tiger Shark and others
3D INTERACTIVE SHARKS: Control the sharks with your fingertips - make them swim, hunt and attack
AIRPLAY-ENABLED VIDEOS: Hours of custom-created shark videos produced from Discovery’s legendary library. Share your favorites with friends and family on the big screen
ATTACK STORIES: Unbelievable tales of human encounters with sharks
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT: Over 75 screens of content, expertly written text and narrative, interactive maps and infographics
HI-RES PHOTOS: Over 250 breathtaking high-resolution photos from some of the world’s most celebrated wildlife photographers
The interface for the app was a dream to work with. It fluidly takes you between screens and features with impressive animations. Sometimes it seemed a bit simplistic, but actually that enhanced the experience so it would not distract you from the info, videos, and pictures of the source material. Also, the color and font choices worked very well and seemed to "fit" the material. The pics give you a good example of the look of the interface, but obviously you will have to give the app a try yourself in order to experience the "feel" of the animations.
The information provided was a plethora of interesting facts and statistics regarding everything you can imagine about sharks right down to their history and eating habits. There were even thrilling anecdotes from survivors of shark attacks. In fact, the app includes awesome interactive 3D shark overviews, with swim, hunt and attack characteristics unique to each of the ten sharks. Furthermore, the statistics on each shark were very educational and cleanly listed. Some of the info wasn't what you would expect either. One example is that you can compare the size and weight of different sharks to other creatures or objects, like a lion or a refrigerator.
Regarding the multimedia presentation contained within the app, everything was top-notch. They used a Media Center approach that allowed you to quickly and easily navigate all the sharks species photos and videos. The slick interface allowed you to swipe through the highly detailed real world photos easily with the flick of a wrist. And, the bright and colorful photos were breathtaking. They really made you appreciate the skill and bravery of the nature photographers that take these images. In fact, the videos, which were nicely integrated within the overview screen, dramatically proved this in even greater detail. They were simply stunning. Some of them were so intense, they reminded me of Steven Spielberg's movie "Jaws" from the late 70's.
Ultimately, it is hard to find anything not to like about this app. From the interface, to the multimedia presentation, down to the information provided, the Discovery Channel has done a great job in bringing the world of these amazing creatures to life on your iPad. If you are a fan of sharks, or are interested in knowing more about them, or simply enjoy educating yourself about new and interesting things, you owe it to yourself to give this wonderful educational app a try on your iPad. It's only $4.99 which is very reasonable for this level of quality. Also, feel free to click on the pics above for full size images from our review.
You can download the app, or find more info at these links:
MyDiscovery.com - Ultimate Sharks
Apple - iTunes Preview - Ultimate Sharks App
Don't forget to check out our brand new sister-site @AppleForums.net!