One of the iPhone’s most outstanding features is the combination of unlimited data transfer through the mobile network combined with wifi to allow access to information almost anyway. It’s a logical step then to create an iPhone optimised interface for that greatest online oracle of information: Wikipedia. Although iPhone’s Safari browser does a superb job as ever of displaying the full Wikipedia website, there’s something to be said about the speed and ease of access that an app can offer. Thinking about it, a number of my favourite apps could easily be replaced by visiting a website, however having the information a single tap away in a format that’s clear and doesn’t require resizing and scrolling is naturally going to be more appealing.
So it is with Wikipanion. This application has proven a little gem when it comes to discovering the answer to all manner of questions, factual disputes and trivia ponderings when away from home. However as we’re rarely talking about matters of life and death, these are items of information that you want to find quickly. This is where Wikipanion really comes into its own compared to browsing the Wikipedia site. The search box is located in the top of the screen for immediate searching. Search results appear in a iPhone-screen sized page as you might expect with the various columns being displayed one at a time, which fits nicely and clearly enough.
As you might expect though this does make for long pages from a site which is known for in-depth content. Fear not, however, as a couple of handy features make the longest of entries quick to access. The first lists the contents of the page, which allows you to jump to the various sections of the entry nice and quickly. The second button links to other, related entries. Combined these make for speedy navigation around and between Wikipedia entries. Highly recommended.