With the debut of the original iPad back in March 2010, Apple subsidiary FileMaker released an iPad version of Bento, the company's personal database software. But while the app has received a few updates since that time, major changes have been relatively few and far between even with the release of Bento 4 for Mac in March 2011.

That all changes today with the release of Bento 4 for iPad [App Store], a significant upgrade for the personal database app. Macworld has an overview of the new app:

Past versions of the Bento for iPad have limited creation tools and have focused on acting as a means to access and modify existing databases that were initially created on the Mac. The new Bento 4 for iPad adds a complete set of tools to allow for the creation of Bento databases on the iPad itself.

“You don’t need a Mac,” Ryan Rosenberg, FileMaker’s vice president of marketing and services, told Macworld. “You’re actually building and constructing your own apps on the iPad.”

bento 4 ipad
Bento 4 for iPad includes 25 customizable templates for various database types, along with 40 new themes optimized for the Retina display on the third-generation iPad. Other improvements include a new Table view for database entries and a hideaway library list for full-screen viewing of records.

Bento 4 for iPad is not an update to the previous Bento for iPad app and must be purchased separately. Regularly priced at $9.99, Bento 4 for iPad is on sale for $4.99 through July 31. Bento for Mac [Mac App Store] is also on sale for $29.99 through the end of July, down from its regular price of $49.99.

Top Rated Comments

CTYankee Avatar
125 months ago
I'll third that one. I have always been intrigued by this software, and at the same time, I have no idea how I'd use it. I don't know how it stays profitable. Is there anything it does better than separate apps? I'd seriously like to know.

I am a bit of a software collector and try a lot of tools. This one does do some things very nicely. It is basically FileMaker for users. FileMaker is a database tool. It allows you to create databases as simple or complex as you like. However it means programing. For most, that is not an option. Bento takes all the programing away and lets you create a database with most any field you want: photos, date, email, text, notes, document links, etc.

I use it to manage people who donate to my organization, our computer systems in the organization (users, OS, age, software installed, etc), our video archives, and more.

It is a nice balance between the power of FileMaker and versatility of separate apps. It puts a good amount of power into one tool.

That said FileMaker as a company is not my favorite. They did some really sketchy stuff with Bento v1. It was buggy and had some documented issues with main features. They did fix them...and called it v2. Oh, and you get to pay full price again. There was quite an uproar from the v1 users who realized they paid to be beta testers. Management's response: too bad. Seriously. They forums lit up and FileMaker staff said management was meeting to discuss the issues with v1 and how to fix them. Their official response: buy v2. No discount either.

So the product is decent, the management (if it is still the same) stinks.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mgipe Avatar
125 months ago
Not nice that they force current paid users to pay again.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rmwebs Avatar
125 months ago
I think I'll wait for the reviews to come in. I wont touch any filemaker products until they are tested after the Bento v1 => v2 mess!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nuckinfutz Avatar
125 months ago
Very nice update and certainly worth the $5 upgrade IMO.

It finally has ota sync with the Mac version versus the annoying wifi sync.

Encrypted data fields are nice when dealing with passwords or other sensitive data.

Love the form creator. That just may be worth the price of admission. Actually creating forms on the previous iPad edition wasn't very practical. You pretty much had to start the form on the Mac version and then sync the file over to the iPad.

Drag and drop fields looks nice with good sorting options.

Think of Bento as a Swiss Army knife. I've seen many small companies use it to do their CRM (Customer Relations Management) because you can have a record of customers that encapsulates notes, past emails, photos and more.

Introductory pricing is good to July 31st so it looks like Bento 5 on the Mac may be a further away than I had originally though.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nightcap965 Avatar
125 months ago
To all the folks who can't imagine how they would use a database:

Do you have boxes in the attic? What's in them? Wouldn't it be nice to have a list somewhere?

Do you work out? Where do you keep your records? Wouldn't it be nice to have them in one place?

Do you have pets? Where do you keep track of health, weight, veterinary visits, vaccinations?

Do you have projects? Where do you keep track of them?

Want more? See the template list at http://solutions.filemaker.com/database-templates/index_home.jsp

I've used every version since it was released. It's an important part of my auxiliary brain.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chundles Avatar
125 months ago
It will be nice if they incorporate iCloud into these programs so that they automatically sync the information across your devices and computer.

For a company wholly owned by Apple with products that used to pass across Steve Jobs' desk for approval you'd think they'd use the good toys in their programs.

It needs:

iCloud sync
Barcode scanning/item recognition/field auto-complete from barcode (damn I wish Delicious Library was still on the iOS platform)
Integration into the Share Sheets functionality so that items can be added into Bento databases from anywhere in the iOS (10.8 or iOS 6).

Really, it should be a part of the iWork suite to round out the apps.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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