Panic’s Status Board App Turns Your iPad Into A Beautiful Command Center [Review]

"You've got data. Status Board makes it beautiful."

“You’ve got data. Status Board makes it beautiful.”

Status Board
Made by: Panic
Category: Productivity
Works With: iPad, iPad mini
Price: $9.99

So many apps are designed first for the iPhone, and the iPad is more or less an afterthought. Not so with Status Board, a brand new app from Panic that is designed meticulously with the iPad’s larger display in mind.

If you know Panic’s pedigree (Coda, Transmit, etc.), then you know what kind of app to expect: something incredibly powerful, focused, and impeccably designed. Status Board is no exception. And although the app won’t appeal to most iPad users, it is perhaps Panic’s most consumer-friendly app to date.

How It Works

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Things can get as basic or complex as you want.

Status Board is a blank canvas for creating your own command center on the iPad. The app is meant to collect and help you make sense of your calendar, tweets, email, news, etc. The interface consists of a grid for adding and customizing different panels. When you first open the app, Panic gives you a nice walkthrough that is very reminiscent of an old electronic store manual. You’ll need to grant access to services you want to use, like Twitter and email.

“The true power of Status Board lies in how you can fine-tune each panel.”

Six instant panels are available from the settings menu. Tapping the small gear icon in the top left will let you add panels for clock, weather, calendar, email, Twitter, and RSS feeds. Each panel can be placed on the grid and adjusted (except for weather) to fill a certain area of the screen.

Status Board works in both orientations. “Once you position a widget in a particular orientation, whenever you’re in that orientation, it’ll always snap back to the place where you left it,” Panic told Cult of Mac. “So once you have everything the way you like it—in both orientations—you can switch back and forth with abandon and should have no problem.”

The true power of Status Board lies in how you can fine-tune each panel. For example, the clock can be analog or digital (analog has a second hand), and you can have multiple clock faces for different locations. This fits right into my workflow as many Cult of Mac writers live in different time zones. The Twitter panel can show you a simple list of incoming tweets, and you can also track things like how many @ replies you get each day.

The email panel can show you a list of messages in your inbox, an unread count, total message count, and how many emails you get each day or hour. The RSS panel can be customized to show a list of sites you read, and new stories can be displayed as they are published. Clicking a headline will let you open a link in Safari. If you want to analyze the volume of posts between multiple feeds, the graph views display the information beautifully.

I’m only cracking the surface here. You’ll have to dig much deeper to see what else this app can do.

Geared Towards The Workplace

Panic's own swanky Status Board setup.

Panic’s swanky Status Board setup.

It’s obvious that the folks at Panic had their own office in mind when they made this app. Status Board has a lot of power under its hood. Three pro panels give businesses new ways to present and process information. Graphs can be added with custom JSON or CSV data source, tables can be made using HTML or CSV, and the Do-It-Yourself gives you complete control to make whatever you want with HTML. The sky really is the limit.

“I can see all kinds of trendy app companies and small businesses implementing Status Board.”

Collaboration is another key part of Status Board. It’s easy to share configurations with coworkers via email inside the app. If you have an Apple TV hooked up to a HDTV, then Status Board can use AirPlay to beam your setup to the big screen. Using a HDMI adapter on an iPad also works. The “TV Out” feature is a separate in-app purchase.

I can see all kinds of trendy app companies and small businesses implementing Status Board. It’s a fantastic way to keep everyone informed about what’s going on at a glance.

Conclusion

“Status Board isn’t for everyone, but those who understand its purpose will immediately fall in love.”

I’m going to be honest: as a writer, I have little use for something like Status Board. My setup is still very much in the experimental stages, but I can’t see myself using this app by myself on a day-to-day basis. It seems very geared towards a group of collaborating individuals—and that’s not a bad thing. Status Board isn’t for everyone, but those who understand its purpose will immediately fall in love.

As I said at the beginning, this is Panic’s most consumer-friendly app to date. Give it a try. There’s plenty of stuff to swim through, but you won’t drown.

Name: : Status Board

The Good: Beautifully designed and more powerful than meets the eye.

The Bad: A bit of a learning curve. Won’t appeal to everyone.

The Verdict: Another fantastic app from Panic. Worth every penny.

Download Now: App Store

Cult of Mac rating: Excellent

  • memnemon

    I wonder how long this widget based app will last in the iTunes store ? BolderImage’s iDashBoard appeared in a couple of guises over the past 18 months but is now nowhere to be found. Admittedly, and on first glance, Panic’s Status Board looks a lot more refined and configurable.

  • jkaljundi

    Another take at dashboards is what we’re taking with manager’s team dashboards at Weekdone: http://blog.weekdone.com/be-a-better-manager-new-team-dashboard/

    What we’re trying to do is connect analytics dashboards to real actionable people behind some nice graphs. But agreed, Status Board does look nice.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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