Zillow.com was among the first real estate apps for the iPad ready to download free from the iTunes store. According to a description of it on sfgate.com, the app, specially designed for the iPad, lets users "search and browse cities and neighborhoods on a large touch-screen map; window shop the neighborhood viewing multiple homes side-by side; flick through preview photos of one home versus another and drag and drop homes into a personal favorites section."
What more could a home shopper possibly want?
Which is why ZipRealty has also entered the iPad arena---it's product, says the San Francisco Chronicle, will let you look at both listed and recently sold homes in something like 4,000 cities and neighborhoods.
These real estate apps are among the first wave of apps for the iPad, which reportedly sold 300,000 it's first day (less than some initial reports which put sales at more than twice that). Apple's online store boasts "over a thousand apps made just for iPad" and more on the way. And developers are falling all over themselves in their efforts to praise Apple and stand out among the crowd.
If nothing else, Mr. Barton wins the Apple brown-nosing award of the week. But does he have something there about Zillow's app having the potential to radically change the way people search and comparison shop for real estate?
Well, according to the news release, one cool feature of the iPad app is that home shoppers can set custom filters to "refine searches by price, size or type and share homes of interest via email or Facebook." And, it goes on, if you find yourself interested in a particular house, you will be able to email the agent, owner or landlord "right from the app."
OK, that sounds pretty cool.
Moving back to ZipRealty, its President and CEO, Patrick Lashinsky, is quoted by money.cnn.com as saying of its new iPad real estate app, "The initial iPad version of our popular mobile application takes advantage of the device's sharp visuals and touchscreen technology to present home listings and property details in a format that we think users will love."
Mr. Lashinsky's quote, while enthusiastic, seems downright subdued compared to Mr. Barton's embrace of the iPad as the "most incredible Apple device yet."
As Apple noted, more real estate apps for iPad are on the way. Most will probably be simple, slight variations of existing apps. So, keep your eye on those CEO quotes for signs of true innovation! Or better yet, give them a test run yourself.
Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has written about real estate related issues for several years.