For those unfamiliar with TED, here is a quick background. First of all, the acronym stands for Technology Entertainment Design. TED is a large set of conferences which host presenters on various topics including, Technology, Entertainment, Design, and more. More importantly, TED is a think tank. The talks performed on TED are sometimes thought provoking, sometimes inspirational, and sometimes revolutionary. iPhone and iPad apps are available for download which will give you complete access to the TED talks and content. This learning tool is a great way to expand your breadth of knowledge and learn new and almost always – interesting things.
TED talks can be watched or listened to – though when able I would suggest watching. Many times, but not always, powerful display elements are used to explain a point or add dramatization. The app is broken up into 5 sections. Featured, Inspire Me, All Talks, My Talks, and Search. I will go through them in this review. Audio controls can be accessed by pushing ‘Listen’ on the top right of the screen. Sorting and refreshing can be done on the top left.
Featured and Inspire Me
The featured section will allow you to sort by Most Recent or Most Popular as well as filter by subject areas. Besides the original three, (Technology, Entertainment, Design), TED talks also consist of Business, Science, and Global Issues. This section was made to be simple; it makes navigating and finding videos a breeze.
The Inspire Me section will prompt you to tell it what you want to see. There is a broad range of topics here, different than those stated above. Then it will ask how much time you have as a clock face which you can swipe around to choose your time limit. You will then be given a playlist which will show a number of different talks; all totaling less than your time input.
This section will show videos based on themes. The first screen will be a list of themes which inside contain videos around that theme. You can also checkout videos which have specific Tags by pushing the Tags option centered at the top of the screen. There are a lot of different tags to watch videos by, each has the number of videos shown in parenthesis to the right of the Tag name.
My Talks and Talk Overview Page
Going somewhere you know you won’t have internet? No problem with the TED app. You can download talks locally to your device in order to view offline. Those videos are accessible on this screen. You can also access bookmarks from this page, though these are just placeholders and are not available offline.
Once you click in a talk, from anywhere in the app, you will be taken to what I will call the Talk Overview Page. This page gives a brief explanation of the talk and the presenter, as well as your options to Share, Bookmark, or Save. Additionally, you can push Watch next which will show options related to the current video or push related themes & tags which will show videos with similar themes and tags.
The last tab in the app is the search function. If you could not find what you were looking for in the other sections, this will give you the option to search to your heart’s desire. Simply type a topic you are looking for, and TED will let you know if there is something along those lines available.
I am highly fascinated by almost every TED talk I watch. I tend to stay in the Technology, Design, and Global Issue areas but I do branch out occasionally. These are perfect for those moments when you need some inspiration or simply want to learn something new or look at something from a new viewpoint. My world view paradigm continues to change as I watch TED talks and I am confident yours would too. The iOS app is a great bolt on to the core of what TED is and for that, it gets a clear 10/10.