FileMaker has released a major new version of its Bento personal database application for the iPad, adding new design tools that allow users to effectively use the iPad version as a standalone app. A complete reinvention of the original Bento iPad app, the new version allows users to build their own database solutions right on the iPad for organizing contacts, tracking projects, planning events, managing lists and much more, all using powerful and intuitive drag and drop design tools. Users can choose from 25 included database templates or link directly to the Bento Template Exchange to access hundreds of free templates to get up and running quickly or simply start from a blank slate and build their own solution; the new design tools allow users to quickly and easily customize templates and create forms with 40 Retina Display ready themes that can also be used to add coordinated backgrounds, fonts, and shading.
Bento 4 for iPad also expands the data views available, allowing users to visualize their information in Table, Split and Full screen views in addition to custom form designs. Multi-field sorting and highlighted searching are also now available to make information easier to find and organize and new database fields have been added for calculations, encrypted data and GPS location. With the new design tools the iPad version of Bento can be used by itself to create database apps on the iPad; Bento for Mac users can also still continue to sync with Bento for Mac, including the ability to transfer new libraries and apps created on the device back to the desktop version. Bento 4 for iPad is a new app rather than an update, although users can optionally import and update databases from the earlier version. Bento 4 for iPad requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $5 until July 31. Bento 4.1 for Mac is required to sync with the new Bento 4 for iPad; it is available from the Mac App Store for $30 and is a free update for existing Bento 4 for Mac users. The iPhone and original Bento for iPad apps also remain available on the App Store and provide a more limited set of features designed for viewing and updating database content on the go.