Whiteboard advocates should be very interested to learn that Avici Software has emulated the whiteboard experience on the iPad to a relatively successful degree. The iPad's display size and resolution make it a strong platform for such a concept. However, while Avici's execution of the concept is on track toward being a must-have piece of iPad software for meeting managers, designers and general brainstormers, it's not quite there yet.
Whiteboard HD's execution is nearly straightforward. There are essentially two main screens to work with - the "My Diagrams" whiteboard selection screen and the actual virtual whiteboard surface itself. The top toolbar consists of the "My Diagrams" file selection button, an "Undo" button, and an online help, background style, information and "Send via Email" button. The bottom toolbar consists of a pointer selection, free drawing curve, straight line, shape selector, text insert, line and fill color selector and perhaps the most novel aspect of this application, a VGA output icon that will display the whiteboard on a screen via the iPad's optional VGA hardware connector.
While the concept of a dedicated whiteboard program on the iPad is appealing, I did have a couple issues with Avaci's implementation of the idea. The interface isn't as intuitive as other iPad drawing applications. It took me a few tries to figure out how to perform fills with shapes. I could have done the smart thing and actually read the online help, but I've become so used to finger pointing on the iPad that reading documentation seems so old school. I also initially encountered some issues with the program's VGA output, but these were corrected with the 1.0.1 release.
Also, when I think of electronic whiteboard, I think network support ala a GoToMeeting or WebEx-style interactive whiteboard. While I recognize the infrastructure required to support a multi-user check-in service, having the ability to connect to other whiteboard iPad users via Bonjour would help the collaborative intention of Whiteboard HD without having people crowd around a single user's iPad display.
My biggest detraction with the initial release of Whiteboard HD is its inability to group objects. This makes moving complex overlays painful and sometimes downright aggravating. Avici has stated they intend on making this lacking feature a priority in the next release of the program, so hopefully this deficiency will be corrected shortly.
Besides these criticisms, I honestly do like the concept of Whiteboard HD and the program will remain on my iPad for the time being. However, the clock is ticking for Avici to get to work on a point release to include some of the much-needed features (especially object grouping) I hope to see incorporated into future releases of the software.
Product: Whiteboard HD
Developer: Avici Software
Rating: 3/5 stars