For a pioneering tech company, LinkedIn has been way behind in creating an app for the iPad crowd.
In November, the issue elicited this comment on Quora: “It’s baffling to me for a company that seems to do so many smart things that they’d have such an obvious miss.”
This is a company with more than 2,000 employees and a market value of $10.6 billion. LinkedIn even lagged Facebook, which didn’t unveil its long-awaited iPad app until October.
The wait is over. Starting today, the social-networking company is offering an app for its 150 million-plus members. Users won’t have to launch their Safari browser on the iPad to access the company’s regular Website, a process that feels so 2010.
LinkedIn was well aware of the demand. There’s been a 250 percent increase in users accessing the site from their iPads in the last year, according to Joff Redfern, the company’s head of mobile. In the first quarter, 22 percent of total visits came from mobile devices, up from 15 percent in the fourth quarter.
“Mobile is growing by leaps and bounds,” Redfern said.
And rather than dwell on what’s taken so long, Redfern prefers to talk about what LinkedIn thinks it got right.
The new app combines the networking and search features of the desktop version and adds a user’s work calendar on the left side of the screen.
LinkedIn’s data indicates that peak usage from mobile devices happens early in the morning and in the evening, so the company is trying to help users plan and organize their day ahead. Because the site knows whom you’re meeting with, it can pull in all the relevant information about those people and put that data front and center.
“It’s the CliffsNotes you need for your day,” he said.
But don’t expect it to have an immediate impact on LinkedIn’s revenue. There are no premium features available yet, so the app is free. For now, it will also remain ad-free, though that’s likely to change. Chief Executive Jeff Weiner said in the earnings call in February that the company is about to start testing some marketing solutions for mobile.
“We’re going to see how that goes,” he said.
First things first — iPad users now have an app.