By: Hillel Fuld
UPDATE: THIS APP WAS REMOVED BY APPLE!
The iPad has changed my life; there I said it. However, putting aside couch browsing, a term most associated with the Apple tablet, the iPad could have been so much more. Imagine two way video calling. Imagine playing all your media without the need to encode it into iTunes-compatible format.
OK, so the new VLC Media Player app does not add a camera to the iPad, but it does allow you to now play any and all files (at least the many different options I tried) without converting them.
This is pretty big and as the awesome media player that the iPad is, the lack of out of the box Avi support was something that bothered many including yours truly. OK, it is still not out of the box but now the iPad plays all your media, and it does it well. Which begs the question, why is Apple all of a sudden approving apps it would have once rejected and what does that mean for apps like tawkon that were previously rejected? Will iPhoners finally be able to stay informed about how much radiation their device is emitting and act accordingly?
There are many other apps that claim to add support for different video codecs not supported by Apple, but having tried a few of them, let’s just say VLC blows them all out of the water. The VLC iPad app is not perfect with one feature specifically that I would have liked to see, missing. When viewing a video on any other iPad video player, double clicking the screen makes it full screen, not on VLC, but in the grand scheme of things, I’ll take it, if the iPad can play all my videos perfectly.
Syncing your videos with the iPad so that they can play on VLC is also not as easy as you would expect in 2010, but that is an iPad thing, not a VLC one. You need to go to your apps screen in iTunes when your iPad is attached, scroll down to where you see File Sharing, select VLC, and add the files you want to view on the iPad. Walla, they then show up within the VLC app on the iPad.
All in all, the VLC Media Player for iPad is an absolute game changer and the fact that it is completely free, like the VLC Media Player for your computer, is just another added bonus. This app, in my opinion, makes the list of the first 10 apps to use on your iPad. It joins other gems like Dropbox, Angry Birds HD, and Real Racing HD.
What are your thoughts on the VLC Media Player app for iPad? Do you love it as much as I do? More importantly though, what has gotten into Apple lately? Are they changing their app approval process? Would love to hear your opinion in the comments or on Twitter here.
Update: When I tweeted my amazement at this app, a friend Ruhani Rabin pointed out in a tweet that it does not handle HD content well and he was right. Having said that, I like that it warns you that “Your iPad is too slow to play this video” and lets you decide whether to watch it with choppiness or not watch it at all.