Introducing the TED iPad App

Posted by: Emily McManus

Today, TED releases the new TED iPad app, an innovative way to browse and watch TEDTalk video. The app redesigns the TED experience for the touchscreen, offering some cool iPad-only features for exploring, saving and watching.

The iPad app, which is the first official mobile app released by TED, lets viewers browse our almost 800 TEDTalks, running from 3 minutes to 30 minutes long, on a wide range of topics. The app is free and can be downloaded through the App Store in iTunes.

“The iPad presents a thrilling new platform for delivering a TED experience,” said June Cohen, Executive Producer of TED Media. “We rethought the user experience to take advantage of the portability, the touchscreen and the focused media time people have when they travel or settle in for an evening. We think TED fans will particularly love the “Inspire me” button, which creates a custom playlist to fill the exact amount of time they have free.”

The TED iPad app features include:

+ “Inspire Me” button. Touching this icon reveals an elegant watch face and the question: “How much time do you have?” Dial up a time, choose the type of talk you want (Inspiring? Funny? Jaw-dropping?) and you’ll get a playlist of talks that fits your schedule.

+ “Themes” serves up curated playlists of TEDTalks around topics such as “The Power of Cities,” “How We Learn,” “A Greener Future” and “Unconventional Explanations.”

+ “Tags” breaks down TEDTalks topics into some 250 categories, from “insects” to “robots,” from “happiness” to “fish.”
“Saved Talks” allows you to download and queue up several hours of TEDTalks for viewing offline anytime.

+ “Playlist Browser” lets you browse ahead in any playlist while watching a saved talk. It’s accessible by tapping the Info button.

The TED iPad app was developed by Matt Drance, a former Application Frameworks Evangelist at Apple who worked on the first iPhone SDK. He now works with the firm BookhouseSoftware. Read TED’s Q&A with Matt Drance >>

This first generation of the app does not yet support downloadable subtitles, but support for this feature on the iPad and on TED.com is in the works. A version of this app optimized for iPhone/iPod will be released in the first quarter of 2011.

Rolex, the supporting partner for the TED iPad app, figures prominently in the app’s “Inspire Me” feature, which evokes a watch face as it asks viewers “How much time do you have?”

The TED iPad app is available in Apple’s iTunes Store today for free. Download here >>

Comments (70)

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  • Cameron Stephen commented on Apr 15 2011

    Installed the iPad app last night and it worked great, I enjoyed watching quite a few great talks. Today however, I cannot get any audio on talks, video yes, but no sound! Audio works on everything else on my iPad still, so I am at a loss to know what is going on. Has anyone else had these issues?

  • Marcus Moonen commented on Apr 12 2011

    I’m enjoying your app for iPad very much! However there is something that’s confounding me about the app. I’ve downloaded many talks so I have somethng stimulating to watch during my commute.

    However, suddenly I’m not able to download any more talks, I keep getting a message saying I’ve downloaded the maximum allowed downloaded talks and I should delete some before I can download more.

    First of all, why would there be a maximum to the talks I can download? I can’t see a reason, except maybe to protect my iPad from exploding with too many stimulating information ;)
    Second, when I then comply (as if I have a choice, I need my TED fix) and delete a few talks, I keep getting the message that I’m maxed out.

    Help please? I love the app, love the talks, but am getting quite frustrated with this particular issue.


    • Will True commented on Apr 13 2011

      Hi Marcus — I’m doing some troubleshooting on an iPad now to see if I can’t replicate the issue. My guess is FAR too much stimulating info, and the little guy just needs a break :-).
      I’ll email you shortly and see if we can’t get this sorted out!

    • Will True commented on Apr 13 2011

      Hello again Marcus – I think we’ve figured it out here at TED HQ, try updating to the lastest version of the app in the App Store (and update to the latest version of iOS). There was a limit on the amount of downloads previously, and you may have stumbled across a bug there with it not recognizing that you deleted. The newest version is only limited by the amount of space on your iPad.


      • Marcus Moonen commented on Apr 13 2011

        Thanks for the reply Will. I’ll e-mail you back!

      • Austin Ginder commented on Apr 15 2011

        Will, I’ve just downloaded the newest version of the Ted iPad app today. I’m also running the latest iOS version 4.3.2 and experience the same limitation. I’m currently using a 64GB iPad with 24.6GBs free. It seems to be giving me the “maximum number of talks available for offline viewing.” message with only 12 talks stored offline. Any thoughts?

      • Will True commented on May 18 2011

        Hi Austin — can you email media[at]ted.com? I’d love to help troubleshoot this. Thanks!

  • Sean Allan commented on Mar 16 2011

    This needs Airplay support so badly

  • Samrat Amin commented on Feb 28 2011

    Great app! Any chance we can also get airplay support soon?

  • Simon Johnson commented on Dec 29 2010

    Thanks for the app. I would like to mention a few things that don’t work for me….

    1. I want to stop downloading a talk, I couldn’t find a way to cease download.

    2. Hitting the cog icon shows me that I can theoretically select a low quality version, but the is greyed out, with no explanation why it’s not working.

    3. I usually watch TED lectures via iTunes podcast. What I want to use the app for is sending my friends links. Please add the ability to share talks with others via the app.

    Thanks for all the great work to date.

  • Drake Andreae commented on Dec 12 2010

    Great start to the app! However, I would like to be able to save more videos for offline viewing.

    In response to the few posts I saw about deleting saved talks, in order to delete them hit “edit” in the upper right hand corner of the saved talks page. This will bring up some small x boxes over the talks in which you can then click to delete them. Hope that helps.

  • Albara Alohali commented on Dec 8 2010

    This is my most launched app on my iPad since i downloaded it.
    waiting for the upcoming update with the (Search & Delete Saved Talks) features :D

    Thank you TED <3

  • Kelly Arrey commented on Dec 4 2010

    +1 to Ed’s request for search capability.

  • Tom Deliganis commented on Dec 4 2010

    I am enjoying my TED Ipad app immensely. Does anyone know how to remove TED videos from your Ipad after you download them?

    • Drake Andreae commented on Dec 12 2010

      Hit “edit” in upper right corner of saved talks page. Then click on the x over the talks you wish to delete. When you are finished tap on “done” which has replaced the edit button in upper right corner.

      • Salim Mitha commented on Jul 8 2011

        Thanks!! Very helpful

  • Ed Visc commented on Oct 22 2010

    I will ask my questions (posted yesterday) again! Why were my questions deleted by the moderator? What a crock of crap. Seriously, I had two questions about the TED iPad app that were very reasonable questions: 1.) Why can’t I search in the app on the name of a presenter i.e., “Bill Gates”? and 2.) How do I DELETE a previously Saved Talk? What type of elitist community is TED to erase these two questions that I posted to this forum yesterday? By the way, the TED iPad definitely has some bugs: a.) sometimes the video and audio just refuses to play (even if the presentation has been downloaded as a Saved Talk) and b.) one of the presentations I have been trying to download never completes the download process even though the progress bar moves left to right all the way to the right (it just hangs there and consumes power cycles and eats up teh iPad’s battery charge … if I re-launch the app it starts again from the beginning). Please TED, don’t be such an elitist community as if it can do no wrong — you have bugs in your iPad app :-)

  • Ed Visc commented on Oct 22 2010

    Two questions: 1.) on the iPad TED app, why isn’t there a simple search tool that lets me search a speaker’s name like “Bill Gates”? I can’t believe that I have to “search” using tags. Second question: how do I remove a previously Saved Talk? I am surprised its not obvious as to how to do this in the user interface.

  • Farley _ commented on Oct 21 2010

    “An interesting comment from an Apple fanboy.”

    That’s it Craig? That’s all ya’ got. Depressingly unintelligent discourse.

    • Craig McLaughlan commented on Oct 22 2010

      Oh dear. I seem to have awoken a troll.

  • bevis andrew commented on Oct 18 2010

    TED’s been my all time favourite website. (I’m a website consultant so I see a LOT of websites.)

  • Gabriel Porras commented on Oct 16 2010

    This iPad app is really amazing… Thanks… Also I’d like this app has the lenguages option (translations)….

  • Vilo Rei commented on Oct 16 2010

    I’ve mixed feelings. An official TED app is great but why only for the iPad? The iPod touch and the iPhone both deserve such an app.

  • Vasili Svirydau commented on Oct 15 2010

    So, is there an API people could use to roll out their applications?
    I wish we had something like the TED app on the Android…

  • Craig McLaughlan commented on Oct 15 2010

    I’m a bit surprised to see the first mobile app is for an Apple iPad.

    Surely Android (open source) is more in keeping with TED ideology.

    • Conan Theobald commented on Oct 15 2010

      I think you’ll find TED policy matches Apple’s so-called walled-garden more closely than you think: http://www.ted.com/pages/view/id/185

      • Craig McLaughlan commented on Oct 15 2010

        Interesting. This is the first time I’ve felt less than totally happy with TED (if you exclude a TEDx Barcelona conference that was painfully lightweight). Until now TED’s been my all time favourite website. (I’m a website consultant so I see a LOT of websites.) Have to say they slipped down a notch or two. Bad TED.

    • Emily McManus commented on Oct 15 2010

      Hi Craig — this is the first mobile app that TED developed internally, but there’s a great Android app that was developed by some TED fans, as well as a couple flavors of iPod/iPhone app.

    • Farley _ commented on Oct 15 2010

      Craig, you’re drinking the Kool-Aid. Android is open in so much as the carriers and manufacturers can modify it in ways that can be equally consumer unfriendly as friendly. See recent shananignas by Verizon, Motorola, & HTC. Don’t tarnish Ted with your rose colored notion of what Android represents.

      In any event, thanks TED for this great iPad app. I’m loving it. Looking forward to your continued support of iOS. As well as your, no doubt, upcoming support for Android, RIM and others.

      • Craig McLaughlan commented on Oct 18 2010

        “you’re drinking the Kool-Aid”

        An interesting comment from an Apple fanboy.

  • Ola Endre Reitstøen commented on Oct 15 2010

    Great news. Can’t wait for the iPhone version.

    • Vilo Rei commented on Oct 16 2010

      Same for me! I own an iPhone.

  • Simeon Oriko commented on Oct 14 2010

    Will we get an Android app as well?

  • commented on Oct 14 2010

    Hi guys, was really looking forward to using this, I have all the TED presentations downloaded via iTunes and watched most of them, but thought this would be a great way to refresh my memory on some of them… unfortunately it’s not running on my iPad. opens OK, but as soon as I click a video the app quits. I’ve tried again after a reboot and the same happens. FYI, I’m an iApp developer myself, so not I’m not running the current public iOS, I’m running 4.2 build (8C5091e) on an iPad 3G 32G. sorry my comment isn’t more positive, but I thought you’d rather get this feedback here rather than on the appstore, at least you can make note of it then delete this comment, happy if you do. I will install 4.2 beta 3 in a few days, so maybe that will solve the issue, if so I’ll let you know

    • Emily McManus commented on Oct 15 2010

      Thanks for the report! This is a known bug; as you know, iOS 4.2 is a beta and isn’t available for public use yet, but the issue is fixed and our 1.1 update will fully support iOS 4.2.

      • Renee Monrose commented on Jan 16 2012

        Emily, I am using an IPad2 with IOS 5.0.1. I am unable to watch any Ted talk on this without it stopping frequently and sometimes stopping altogether. Can you please tell me what I can do to correct this?

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