There is a new field guide app on the market and boy, is it great. It is nice seeing the competition heat up in the iPad/iPhone bird field guide market and really take advantage of the devices and their interface. One nice bonus about the Peterson app is that it is universal, meaning one purchase is fully compatible with both the iPhone and the iPad. I thought that some screen shots would be the only thing to do the app justice so click through the gallery below and read the comments below each screenshot. I’ll have my final thoughts below the gallery.
*Note: screen shots are all from v. 1.0 of the app. There have been some nice UI updates since then which I will try to post about soon.
After several months of using the Peterson Bird of North America on both the iPod Touch and iPad, I have come to the conclusion that this is the slickest bird guide out there. The developers have done an excellent job of creating an interface that is worthy of being displayed on any of Apple’s devices. There are many nice touches such as the ability to rearrange the family icons for quick access to birds you are seeing frequently. Extra plates for things such as fall warblers, raptors in flight and ducks in flight are great and something other guides should provide.
The one reservation I have comes from my strong bias towards the artwork of David A. Sibley. In my opinion, no other illustrator comes close to portraying birds as accurately. Most of Peterson’s illustrations are top-notch as well but several could provide unnecessary to beginning birders. The group that comes to mind is the raptors which all look like they were painted with the same stencil and just have plumage differences painted on.
As a final note, it is important to point out that all the issues I have with the app are related to the illustrations. The app itself is topnotch and in the bird guide category it is second to none. I highly recommend the app, especially if you are going to be using it on the iPad.