Iris For iPad Offers The Best Instagram Viewing Experience – Hands Down.

Instagram has always been somewhat of a popular iOS app. I remember when it was first released, every hipster on the street with an iPhone was snapping crappy pictures of their dull lives and ‘filtering’ them into a work of art. Since then, the photography app turned social media powerhouse is a household name. Those without iOS devices longed for a chance to snap pictures and create something to brag about. With the recent purchase by Facebook, for a wimpy 1 billion dollars, as well as the release of the Android app, Instagram has lept back into the spotlight. Even if the worrisome nerds out there fear the apps fate via Facebook, we all know that millions of users will still turn to Instagram for their photo needs.

With all the hype and all the fun that comes along with Instagram, those of us wielding an iPad are left wanting more. Of course we can use Instagram, but it wasn’t made for the iPad so we are given a shotty experience, especially when looking at it with that crazy retina display. But when it comes to stalking different feeds, including your own, you have many different web and iOS options to choose from.

But there is one that stands out apart from the rest – Iris. Iris for iPad was just released back on April 19th, and it creates an incredible experience, both with Instagram as well as the iPad. It was optimized for the Retina display, which works very well with the large thumbnails we are given when scrolling through the photos in our feed. Iris does nothing short of stun you as you stare into every little pixel laid out in front of you.

The photos jump off the screen in what has become the only way I will ever view an Instagram photo again. Even when scrolling through Mike’s photos I am left eagerly wanting more, which has never been the case when viewing on the web or with Instagram. Every part of the app was designed with the end user experience in mind. From the background color to simple yet elegant design, not one part of my time with Iris was left feeling let down.

As for design, it is extremely simple. 4 buttons are draped on the left side of the app, giving you the option to view your feed, popular photos, your profile as well as a search function. In the lower right corner you are also given a neat take on the “pull to refresh” that we have come to know in love in many other apps. Instead of pulling from the top, the little button in the bottom right lets you pull a quirky little slider updating your feed. When photos are dropping into your feed, you are given a notification on the top part of the app alerting you to the number of new photos awaiting your eyes.

When clicking on a photo, the picture in question jumps to the forefront in all of its pixely glory. Here you can double tap to automatically ‘likey‘ the photo as well as read comments. With the click of a button you can view and add comments of your own to the particular picture. A simple slide back to the right brings the picture back into view. You are also given icons to view the photographers feed as well as any location status tagged with the picture. You can also follow and unfollow anyone you’d like within Iris as well. By tapping a picture you have in the forefront, you are given 3 options, you can either copy the image, view it on the web or Tweet straight from the app using the built in Twitter UI. And when you are all done viewing the image, you can simply sliding down on the picture will bring you back to your feed.

With Instagram being released for Android devices, growing it’s steady base of users, and of course the acquisition by Facebook, we know they are heading full steam ahead. We know that they are trying to figure out ways to allow developers to upload pictures using 3rd party apps, and hopefully with their new found home with Zuckerberg, this will come sooner rather than later. So until we can upload pictures from a native Instagram for iPad app, or 3rd party apps, your viewing experience has to be done using Iris.

Overall, the Iris for iPad experience is hands down the best way I have experienced viewing Instagram. It’s pure beauty and well worth the $1.99 price tag. The only app I can see giving Iris competition is if/when Instagram releases their own iPad app. But until that day, look no further than Iris. You can download Iris for iPad now at the App Store.

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 5/5