With its recent arrival for Windows Phone, Instagram was finally able to cross-off one significant item from its to-do list.
However, even though the filter-based photo app started off on the iOS platform way back in 2011, it’s yet to be optimized for the larger-screen form factor of the iPad. Which perhaps partly explains why there’s still a market for third-party clients.
How it looks
Once you’ve connected up your Instagram account, you’ll be presented with your usual feed of photos, displayed beautifully in large square frames. Certainly, this does make you wonder why Instagram hasn’t bothered optimizing its app for iPad, though I guess one of those reasons could be that people typically don’t use tablets to take photos.
However, as Flow and other Instagram clients show, sometimes it’s good to just peruse your feed and comment on others’ snaps. Instagram’s API restrictions mean these clients can’t allow you to add new photos – it’s basically just a viewing app.
That all said, you can edit your profile, choose whether to auto-play videos, ‘like’, and comment on photos. Comments is an interesting one – only certain ‘whitelisted’ clients can gain access to this API from Instagram and, well, Flow has it.
You can also go exploring, looking at the top Instagram accounts or view imagery by location.
Feature-wise, there’s nothing revolutionary in here, but it’s all about the browsing experience – Flow does exactly what its name suggests and is slick and fast. The more you use it, the more you notice the little navigational nuances, such as long-pressing an image to bring up details of the user-profile behind the shared-image. And tapping on an image once to start a gallery-style display that lets you swipe through everything in your feed.
Flow is designed for iOS 7 (though works with iOS 6) and will operate on all versions of iPad apart from the original incarnation. It’s certainly a lovely app, one that bears a resemblance to Primary (formerly known as Gramatica), though the latter will set you back $2.99 – Flow is free.
If Instagram was ever to release an official app for iPad, one would imagine that it could and should look a little like this. Flow is available to download from the App Store now.