If you've used Rosetta Stone in the last year or two, you already know how their new app works—an idea that was likely planned from the get-go.
First and foremost, know that the Rosetta Stone iPad application (officially called, TOTALe Companion HD) is almost a standalone version of the software, but it's not quite there yet. Although it's got 20 of Rosetta's usually-covered languages, four are missing—Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi and… Irish? Did not see that last one coming. The other element missing from the iPad version is a written component; though the developers expect to release one eventually. Which means no "Dear Abby" practice. Sadsies.
So now let's get to what this app does have. Every language's curriculum is broken into five levels. Each level has four units and each unit can take anywhere from six to ten hours to complete. Right from the first slide, you are required to parrot what the digital teacher says, with no context to go on aside from the images displayed. And in case you're wondering, there's a speech precision setting, so you decide whether the program's a hard-ass or a softy.
The further into the lesson you go, the less help you get. For instance, eventually the on-screen words disappear. Out goes your reading crutch. Also, as a linguist-in-training should expect, the vocabulary intensifies later on. The pictures therefore become more and more important as the lesson progresses.
All in all, if you're looking to learn a language, Rosetta Stone's got a pretty good track record. And the developers of this app believe the tablet is the perfect device for their software because touch is what makes the experience more personal and easier to remember. The app is available in the App Store and will cost you all of zero dollars. (Of course, you'll have to purchase the actual Rosetta Stone software, which'll cost you a pretty penny.) Bonne chance!