Is This The World’s Ugliest iPad App?


I don't even know what to say...
I don't even know what to say...

Here, ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure, is an example of open-source “design” at its finest. From the retro desktop-style interface through to the clunky name — Documents Unlimited PDF & Office Editor Apps for iPad — not a single aspect of this experience has been left untouched by the clunky hand of open-source UI design committees.

In fact, I would like to award it the newly-minted title of Ugliest iPad App, Like, Ever (or UiALE for short).

As befits such an aesthetically challenged iPad app, Documents Unlimited is a Microsoft Office-compatible suite. If you were to travel back to 1995 and describe the iPad to somebody, this is what they’d imagine all apps would look like.

It has tiny buttons which would be tricky targets for a mouse pointer even on a 27-inch screen, and are here rendered as mere pinpricks of icons on the iPad’s 10-inch display. In fact, it even incorporates a “mouse mode” to help you actually hit your targets.

What Documents Unlimited does have is compatibility with pretty much every Microsoft document around today, from Microsoft Word 2010 back to Microsoft Powerpoint 97, which should let you live in the past for as long as you like.

The app is really more of a front-end to the sever-based LibreOffice apps than an app in itself. LibreOffice is the online cousin of the desktop suite OpenOffice. And before we get too caught up in the fugliness of the app itself, it does at least bring a few modern touches, such as Dropbox, BoxNet and Google Docs integration.

But the biggest joke is the price: $20 (currently on sale for $5). I have a whole lot of $20+ apps on my iPad, and when they’re as polished and useful as, say, Omnifocus, I’m more than happy to pay. But $20 for what is essentially a fancified browser showing a web view of a 15-year-old office suite? No thanks.

  • Jonathan Ober

    U-G-L-Y you ain’t got an alibi, you UGLY ya ya you UGLY :P

  • wmcraver

    I don’t know what you’re saying. This app screams user friendly. Apple got it completely wrong with its idea to scroll with your finger. I NEED my scroll bar! [sarcasm]

  • Carl Friend

    It’s made by appsverse!!!! Not Libroffice! Bad Journalism! Bad Journalism also because Libreoffice is a fork of Openoffice. Fire the author and give me the job of reviewing apps!

  • David Morón

    Well, this is not open source. And even if it was, your attempt to bash the open source community is just sad.

  • vcube

    Well but again, that’s what you’d expect from Microsoft, is it not?

  • ZeeKazim

    I was running away from this…..!
    Aside from the fugly app, you need to check your facts as previously mentioned..

  • italovignoli

    Hi Charles, I am in charge of media relations at The Document Foundation, the free software project behind LibreOffice.

    We were not aware at all of “Documents Unlimited…” for the iPad, which is by no mean an open source project and is consuming LibreOffice code without even making the original makers aware. By the way, after a quick look at the software, I suspect that they are even infringing the license.

    We are planning to start working at a tablet version of LibreOffice soon, which would include a complete redesign of the user interface, as we perfectly understand that tablets need a touch UI which is different from the standard UI.

    In the future, I kindly ask you to avoid negative opinions on free software projects (or open source, if you prefer), if you are not sure that you are really covering an open source software.

    At the moment, Apple does not even allow copyleft software such as LibreOffice on the iTunes Store.

  • FilthyMacNasty

    Looks okay to me.

    Signed, Steve Ballmer

  • Alex

    It’s amazing that Apple even approved it in the first place!

  • Carl Friend

    The author should have said he made a mistake since he was corrected.