Netflix spruces up iPad app to be more tablet-friendly

Those who fired up the Netflix app on their iPad yesterday might have noticed something new. Really, a lot of somethings new. A total redesign even, and a welcome one since the app has been unchanged since it launched alongside the Apple tablet last year.

Previously, the Netflix app for iPad was essentially a scaled-back reproduction of the service’s website. There were a couple of swipe-friendly browse features, but it was very obviously meant to be used with a mouse.

Case in point: instead of hovering a pointer over a Watch Instantly item’s “Play” button to make the “Add to Instant Queue” button appear, users instead had to navigate directly into the movie/TV show-specific page and add it from there. Not a dealbreaker, but it was a cumbersome interface that was really best-suited for accessing your Instant Queue and playing content off of it or simply searching out specific items.

The interface has now been completely redesigned. No update download is required either; simply load up your app and you’ll see the new look. It’s clear right away that the redesigned Netflix app is more well-suited for use with a tablet interface. A dock at the bottom of the screen breaks up the content into four categories: Home, Genres, Search and Instant Queue. Most of that is pretty self-explanatory. “Home” is where you’ll find your official Netflix recommendations and new arrivals, with buttons in each category for diving deeper into a fuller list of recs.

Just one thing is missing in the new redesign. Previously, users could update their DVD queue — you know, the “core” Netflix business of mailing you DVDs to watch based on the list that you build — directly from the app. This is no longer the case. Is that so terrible though? You can still browse over to the official website and tweak the list. While there, you’ll also get a reminder of just how lousy the old interface was.