Panes is an iPad app that lets you easily multitask between Twitter, Facebook, RSS, the web, and more. All of your widgets can be found at the bottom of the screen, like a dock, so that the one you want to switch too is literally just a tap away.
The widgets included with Panes are Twitter, RSS, Facebook, weather, web, YouTube, tasks, notes, units converter, calculator, stopwatch, calendar, Google reader, Read It Later (now Pocket), stocks, clock, and Simple Note.
The UI is very basic and easy to use. Along the bottom of the screen is your dock of widgets, similar to the dock of apps on a Mac. What's great about Panes, is that I actually don't have much to say about it. It does exactly what you expect. Panes doesn't run perfectly smooth, but still pretty good. Some of the widgets, like Stocks, could include a little more information, but since the idea behind Panes is to multitask, you probably don't want want all the features of every service included in it. If you need more functionality, you can just hop over to a dedicated app for that and give it your undivided attention.
Although Panes does what it claims, and does it well, I'm not that compelled to use it. I guess I just don't find it too difficult to bring up the multitasking bar by double tapping the home button and switching to the app I need, or better yet, just swiping with four fingers to my most recently used app. This is my personal opinion, however, and I understand how others may be very excited about Panes and its implementation of widgets.
- Widgets for Twitter, RSS, Facebook, weather, web, YouTube, tasks, notes, units converter, calculator, stopwatch, calendar, Google reader, Read It Later (now Pocket), stocks, clock, and Simple Note
- Switching between widgets is very fast
- Boring UI
- Scrolling isn't perfectly smooth
The bottom line
If you've been desiring an app that lets you multitask between different services and task that you regularly do on your iPad, Panes does a great job.
Panes comes from the legendary webOS developer, Inglorious Apps, and was built using the now open source webOS framework, Enyo. While Apple, unfortunately, has very strict rules as to how widget systems can be implemented on iOS, it's fantastic to see webOS developers and webOS style apps live on after HP's disastrous and, frankly, disgraceful handling of so elegant and innovative a platform.
The Easter Egg
Because of these strict rules by Apple, the developer behind Inglorious app was not able to release the real, original version of Panes into the App Store, so he included an Easter Egg that transforms Panes into the app that it was supposed to be that he's named the Developer's Cut. With the Developer's Cut version of Panes, you can have multiple widgets shown at once. Suddenly, the UI becomes much less boring! The name "Panes" also makes a lot more sense.
To unlock the Developer's Cut, all you have to do is email Inglorious Apps, and the dev will reply with directions on activating it. You can do this from directly within Panes.