First things first: TWiTPad is NOT the latest, greatest Twitter client for the iPad (do we need another one of those anyway?). Rather, it's the official application for accessing Leo Laporte's TWiT.TV netcasts, chat rooms and broadcasting calendar. If you're a fan of any of Leo Laporte's shows, chances are you'll find something worthwhile about TWiTPad.
The basic functions of TWiTPad are extremely simple. In fact, to quote Steve Jobs, the first time you open the app it "Just Works!" Once opened, the app immediately begins streaming whatever Leo and Friends have going at the moment. Sometimes this is a live show like [email protected], MacBreak Weekly or This Week in Tech. In spite of the volume of content that Leo broadcasts every day, there's still a good chance that there is nothing live on the air when you choose to open TWiTPad. Rather than go off the air entirely, previously recorded episodes are streamed, so you get content 24/7.
If you're interested in a particular show, TWiTPad features easy access to the TWiT Google Calendar feed, adjusted for your time zone, so you can figure out the best time to tune in and watch everyone live.
The final major piece of the TWiTPad is the integrated IRC channel chatroom. Again, provided there is a live show going on, this gives you the opportunity to potentially interact with Leo and his guests or just chat with other viewers/listeners with similar interests. The chat and video settings are optimized from the moment you open the app.
As is the case with many iPad apps, the only real difference between portrait and landscape views is the amount of data displayed on the screen. Portrait mode only shows the video stream and one other component (calendar or chatroom), while landscape mode shows all three. Nothing surprising there.
While TWiTPad does a good enough job, there are still some tweaks and features that could really make this app shine. The overall appearance of the app is very utilitarian - a sort of blue steel theme, complete with rivets - and the option to at least change themes would be nice to have. Users can also access a web browser from within TWiTPad (a helpful touch that pulls up the TWiT.TV website and allows browsing while listening), but clicking on TWiT.TV video links for previously recorded shows does nothing. It would be nice if clicking the video link for last week's This Week in Tech stopped the live TWiT stream and downloaded/played the older show.
These are small complaints, however. For $0.99, this is a must-have app for anyone who is a Leo Laporte fan.