We had a rather in-depth discussion about Ship Finder HD over in the TUAW back channel this morning, trying to decide whether or not to feature it in our First Look series. In the end, we determined that the cool functionality outweighed the iffy design and that it was just really a neat thing to be able to track ships around the world in real time.
And that's exactly what Ship Finder HD does. It uses AIS coverage from across the globe to position ships on maps. Lee Armstrong of pinkfroot, a small iPhone OS development house, was kind enough to share this video showing Ship Finder HD in action. He writes. "[T]he new iPad's form factor enables the app to be much more functional for just the casual user and the professional mariner."
Obviously, the application would benefit from the touch of a graphic designer, especially for the ship icons. The popover views could use a makeover as well. But leaving the pretty-factor to the side, this functionality is compelling and will provide a better fit to a larger interaction screen. The iPhone version of Ship Finder retails for $4.99 on iTunes. No word yet on the price or date of availability of the iPad "HD" version.
Interested in an plane-locator version? A second video follows after the Read More...