Although the iPad has been available for more than two years, LinkedIn has yet to offer its users a native app despite the fact that mobile engagement has been growing at a fast pace for the network. But last August, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said that the company is doubling down on its mobile strategy. And the network then debuted new versions of its iPhone and Android apps as well as an HTML5 mobile site. In fact, LinkedIn now says 22 percent of its active members have been visiting on mobile devices. And today, LinkedIn is finally launching its native iPad app to the public.
As LinkedIn’s head of mobile products Joff Redfern explains, the app was built with the user and tablet interface in mind. Since the iPad has become a leanback experience, LinkedIn wanted to make sure that the app satisfied iPad users’ needs. Via the web, LinkedIn noticed that iPad users were visiting the site mostly in early in the morning, which they call a “coffee session,” and in the evening, between 7 pm and 11 pm. With this data, the company wanted to build an application that allowed professionals to start the day and end the day with LinkedIn.
Via an updates section, users can access a stream of updates from your connections, including who’s changed jobs and who’s viewed your profile. You can also access news that connections are sharing and see the latest discussions from the groups you are members of.
In addition to an activity stream, you can also access your own profile, connections and activity dashboard and send and receive your LinkedIn invitations and messages from your inbox in the network.
One of the more compelling features included in the iPad app is the ability to sync the device’s calendar with your LinkedIn profile information. So you can have a schedule of what your meetings are for the day paired with contextual information about contacts from their LinkedIn profiles. This feature is also available with the latest upgrade of LinkedIn’s iPhone and Android apps. As Redfern explains, many users on the mobile devices were doing the most searches for contacts right before meetings, so it made sense to add the feature. And LinkedIn is debuting an iPad-friendly mobile website as well, accessed by visiting touch.linkedin.com.
While the app is available in English today, LinkedIn will soon launch the app in other languages.
Although LinkedIn offered its users iOS and BlackBerry apps, it took the professional social network a few years to launch a native Android app, so it’s not entirely surprising that it has taken the company a while to develop an iPad app as well. Redfern explains that LinkedIn had three dedicated engineers working on the app. As for what’s next, Redfern says LinkedIn will be monitoring what makes sense when it comes to developing an Android tablet app.
TechCrunch TV reporter Colleen Taylor sat down with Redfern to demo the app and chat about what’s new. Watch below.
Colleen Taylor contributed to this article.