Panic was kind enough to allow us a preview of its app, and needless to say, we liked what we found.
The Oregon-based software company is largely known for their OS X FTP client Transmit, but entered the iOS space in April 2011 with the launch of Prompt, their SSH client for iPhone and iPad, followed by their affectionately named web editor Diet Coda this past May. This marks the third year in a row that Panic has released an entirely new app on the iOS platform.
Let’s jump right on board:
Status Board features possibly the best set-up guide ever designed to be read on a display. The E-Z QuickGuide Manual, as it has been dubbed by Panic, resembles an instructional folded paper sheet, much like what one would find with an HDTV or similar appliance. The guide welcomes the user with a promise that the app “will improve your productivity and grant you Life Clarity,” which I don’t find to be too hyperbolic.
Status Board’s design is similar to what you would find on a display in an airport terminal, featuring a plethora of information that you would ordinarily check in separate applications. At the core of Status Board is a highly customizable dashboard featuring a 16 x 12 grid.
A collection of customizable modules can display things such as your email inbox, upcoming calendar events and birthdays, current weather and forecast, or Twitter timeline and mentions. In the upper left-hand corner you will find a settings gear that unlocks a behind-the-scenes view. This features a dock, much like we’re used to seeing in iOS and OS X, loaded with icons for Clock, Weather, Calendar, Email, Twitter, and even a News Feed for RSS.
When you drag an icon from the dock to your Status Board, it expands into a beautiful, customizable module. Customization includes fine details like changing the module size and the specific content that you would like to display.
For example, if I activate the calendar module but want to avoid sharing upcoming birthdays, Status Board allows you to deselect that specific calendar as well as any other calendar.
Each module category can be featured multiple times on your Status Board, and each one can be tweaked for its own unique purpose. Much like the Dashboard from OS X, you can activate multiple weather modules displaying current temperature and a four day forecast for different locations.
The clock module can toggle between a sleek digital clock, or a familiar analog clock, which I find to be especially practical for time tracking with its second hand. Sure, you could use the built-in iOS Clocks app for this feature, but nowhere else can you find a collective view of all of this information, which absolutely changes the game.
Status Board can access your native Twitter accounts, which allows for a fantastic set of Twitter modules. You can set up modules to stream timelines, mentions, or even search terms. This information can be viewed in either the popular list view or a really cool linear, ticker view. Tapping a specific Tweet allows you to view it in Safari where you can respond accordingly.
While Status Board may not replace your current Twitter client, it very well may replace your RSS app. One of my favorite features of Status Board is the News Feed module, which acts as an RSS reader for any site you choose to follow. News Feed offers a scrollable list view of dozens of posts from your favorite sites. Tap any post in News Feed and it will open in Safari where you can read the full article.
When I asked Panic about current plans to release a stocks module, which is the one thing I found missing, the company revealed that it suspects a stocks module will be the most popular request, and it will listen closely to customer request for more modules. While never a great idea to recommend a product based on what it could have in the future, it is clear that Status Board is a brand-new platform for which Panic is excited to develop even more features.
It is important to note that the app does have a slight learning curve, much like other highly customizable apps (I’m looking at you Launch Center Pro), but Status Board is undoubtedly a fantastic tool to utilize once you customize it to fit your needs. After just a few days, I found it to be as essential for my workflow as my mouse, keyboard, and display.
One small quibble with Status Board is how it reacts to device rotation. While the app does support both landscape and portrait orientation, I would only recommend customizing your Status Board to one specific orientation. While square modules naturally adjust just fine, and other modules are more responsive in design, certain dimensions can be problematic and cause modules to overlap.
Personally, I prefer landscape orientation. Apple’s Smart Cover is a perfect accessory for Status Board with this in mind. While working at my desk with my Dell 27” display, I’ve had Status Board to reference from my iPad mini. The amount of information that Status Board packs on a single screen is well worth $9.99.
Status Board was designed with collaboration in mind. In fact, Status Board allows you to not only design customized dashboards, but its built-in share feature allows you to send a status board to anyone else with the app on their iPad.
If you find yourself needing to present your Status Board with a group of people, Panic has you covered.
A separate In-App Purchase* unlocks mirroring via AirPlay or Apple’s AV Adapter. The app features a toggle to intelligently reformat your Status Board to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio of an HDTV. The additional cost may be a turn off, this feature is perfect for presenting project information to a team and will be invaluable to many. Status Board also features three “pro” panels for graphs, charts, and do-it-yourself modules. These “pro” modules don’t cost anything extra, but do provide a level of data management that most consumers are unlikely to need.
Panic clearly designed Status Board for their own needs and discovered an opportunity to share their solution with users around the world.
If you have any interest in improving your workflow and enhanced productivity, I highly recommend grabbing a copy on the App Store right now for $9.99.
*The In-App Purchase required for TV Out is an additional $9.99 at launch, and Panic has indicated that the pricing model will change in the next app update. Panic will include basic AirPlay mirroring (letterboxed) for free and bring the In-App Purchase cost to $49.99. It is the writer’s opinion that developers should feel encouraged to adjust pricing models as they feel suitable to be compensated for their effort. This development does not alter the writer’s recommendation.