Sibley Birds iPhone App Updated

Back in June, the Sibley eGuide app was given a major update. According to the release notes, the new version (1.5.1) includes the following:

  • Larger images
  • Replaced Next/Previous buttons with a swipe gesture
  • Added one-tap enlargement of images and text
  • Added the ability to rotate the device to landscape mode for larger images, bigger text and easier comparing
  • Added a “Quick Search” box to “My List” when adding species
  • Added additional sounds for 22 species

That’s right; you can now tap an image to make it display full-screen. And if you rotate the device, the image will rotate with it and enlarge even further. In this mode, the images are even larger than they are in the “big” Sibley print guide! Image size had been a major issue with the app, but it is now one of its strengths.

Sibley eGuide bird in landscape mode

The compare function also got a major makeover. You can still compare species in the regular, vertical orientation. But now you can rotate to landscape mode and have the birds appear side-by-side. In this mode, you lose the ability to change species but the images are shown slightly larger. I’ve found it dramatically easier and more natural to compare in this new mode.

Sibley eGuide species comparison in landscape mode

The other changes are relatively minor, but still welcome. You now enlarge the text by tapping on it and change species by swiping, instead of using buttons. Tapping maps also makes them larger, but they do not rotate, and the increase in size isn’t that substantial.

This update makes a good app even better (and all the more so because, as with all iphone app updates, it’s free to current users). The larger images, especially, are going to be extremely useful. However, it doesn’t change, so much as reinforce, the recommendation I made in my original review. This app is now an even better digital representation of the fabulous Sibley field guide. But the search function still needs to be improved to make it more usable for less experienced birdwatchers.

Posted by Grant McCreary on August 1st, 2010.

Category: Reviews, Supplemental

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