Home Screens: Shawn Blanc

Shawn Blanc (twitter) is one of the premier Mac bloggers and recently made the ballsy move of turning his blog, ShawnBlanc.net, into his full time gig. I am a fan. I asked Shawn to share his iPad screen today, on iPad 2 launch day, and he was kind enough to help out. So Shawn, let’s see your home screen.

What are your most interesting home screen apps?

iBooks, OmniFocus, and Wired come to mind as being the apps that most capture my curiosity in the iPad.

  • Wired because I think it’s a great magazine and I enjoy reading it on my iPad every month. I enjoy how the icon color and loading screen change colors for every updated issue and I even appreciate how it notifies me when there are new issues for download.

    But really I like Wired because: (a) my roots in design are with print and layout; (b) I’ve had a longstanding affinity for software and technology; and (c) I love to read on my iPad. So, in a way, Wired represents the amalgamation of all these things: it’s a print magazine that discusses technology and which is moving to the iPad as a new medium for delivery.

  • OmniFocus because here’s an app that has been on the Desktop for years, and yet, somehow, they bust out a version on the iPad that blows the original out of the water. Here’s an app that shows just how exciting a future the iPad has for personal computing and getting work done. Or, put another way, OmniFocus is a great example of how such a complex application with layers and layers of information can work so well on a small touch screen tablet.

  • And iBooks because what I do most on the iPad is read. And though the reading environment in iBooks isn’t amazing it is pretty great. I’m not a total bookworm, like some people I know, but I do like to always be reading through a book or two. I’ve purchased several books from the iBookstore, and also have some other eBooks and PDFs that I’ve added into iBooks.

    And the fact that I can highlight, bookmark, and add notes makes it great as well. I’d like to start writing book reviews too, and so these extra bits of functionality make it great to jot down and highlight in preparation to return to the book and write a review of it.

What is your favorite app?

Instapaper. By a long shot. I’ve said before that if there was ever an app that was like a good cup of coffee it would be Instapaper.

By far and away the thing I do most with my iPad is read. And Instapaper is, in my opinion, the best reading app on the iPad. It is such a splendidly simple app and service that it fits into hundreds of different use-cases. I think that’s why explaining what it does is nothing at all like explaining what it is.

Instapaper isn’t just a service. It’s like some sort of placebo. When you find something great you save it and move on, knowing that something of value is now in a place you know you’ll get to it. And so Reading Later has become a favorite habit.

What is the app you are still missing?

It’s not so much an app that I feel is missing as much as a service. A syncing service.

I am hesitant to use apps that do not sync automatically between my laptop, iPhone, and iPad. I would love to see better over-the-air sync for all apps and other data. I think that MobileMe could have huge potential as a syncing server for all the data and apps on our iPads and iPhones.

Something as fast and easy to use as Dropbox — meaning it would sync and share info and files — but it would let other apps use it for syncing. Imagine setting up your iPhone with your Apple ID once, and then any app that has a Mac and/or iPad counterpart would sync.

Including the 3rd-party apps. If MobileMe could be used by 3rd-party developers it would make their jobs significantly easier

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?

I use my iPhone much more than my iPad — especially when I’m out and about. And I work mostly on my laptop. Though I use my iPad for checking email, writing, checking Twitter, and playing an occasional game, I mostly use it for the things it does better than any of my other gadgets, which means reading and doing reviews of my to-do lists in OmniFocus.

What is your favorite feature of the iPad?

The battery. My iPad’s battery usually lasts for up to 12 hours. I’ve never owned a gadget like that. With my iPhone or laptop — and even my bluetooth headset I keep in the car — it’s common for the battery life to interrupt the workflow and interaction I have with the device.

With the iPad I rarely ever worry or think about the battery at all. It’s just something I’ve begun to take for granted. Even when it goes into the “red zone” it means I still have a couple hours of battery life.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

I would give out free scoops of Rocky Road ice cream to people who stand in line every spring and summer to buy iPhones and iPads.

Anything else you’d like to share?

For those who may want to snag it, the background image I’m currently using can be found here (and I found it via Prettify).

Thanks Shawn!