Issue: 7.5 (July/August 2009)
Author: Dave Mancuso
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Article Length (in bytes): 3,838
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IN BRIEF Product Drync for the iPhone 2.2 Manufacturer Drync, LLC Price $4.99 USD Contact Info http://drync.com Pros Many features, huge database of wines, wine cellar management, Twitter ability Cons User private data resides on Drync's server, interface is too complex Rating (1.0-5.0): 3.4
iPhone applications seem to be like podcasts recently. No matter what your interest is, there's an iPhone application you can find for it. The App Store is still in its early stages, and developers are feeling their way through the platform. Decisions to be made include what prices will the market bear, whether applications should be tied to a desktop application, and how fully featured programs should be. Drync, from Drync, LLC, is an iPhone app that's built fully for the iPhone. It helps you research wine brands, prices, and ratings among other things. The company was created for the iPhone application; it has no desktop offerings. Drync is an interesting study in design and execution decisions for the iPhone platform.
At its heart, Drync is a wine database. You search for bottles and vintages of wine to evaluate. You're not limited to the existing database, though. You can build your own virtual wine cellar in the application, complete with bottle label pictures taken from your iPhone. There's an incredible amount of detail you can view and add, and that's a bit of a problem.
On startup, Drync syncs with the Drync Internet database, which takes a bit of time. Version 2.2 is faster, but expect to see a lot of "Dryncing...please wait" modal dialog messages. Note also that Drync requires you to have a database username and password for access. This is because your data is stored on Drync's server. I'm old-fashioned, but I'm still a little shy about keeping so much of my data "in the cloud."
Once syncing occurs, you can search for wines, see top wines, and manage your own wine cellar database. The interface is the wood grained look popularized by Delicious Library, intended to exhibit classiness and oak with your wine cellar. The results for each wine are in the traditional iPhone "thumb bar" style, but each entry is jam-packed with details. A picture of the wine, its often long title, number of reviews, rating, and price are all in the base listing. If you tap on the wine, you drill down into a detail screen with even more information. The detail screen seems appropriate, but the base wine listing screen seems overly cluttered. It's hard to pick out the information you want.
Adding a wine involves one unintentional annoyance. The entry field is at the top of the iPhone screen. I never realized it, but this creates a problem for the magnifying glass. Holding a finger down to edit your entry pops up a magnifying glass with nowhere higher to go. It appears under your finger, making it very hard to see. Sadly, the new iPhone 3.0 Spotlight Search shares this design problem.
I bought the $4.99 version, although there's now a light version with fewer features. Overall, the application is great but overburdened with too much information. It's trying to do too much at once. Hopefully future versions will simplify Drync's interface.
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