AOL gives iPad magazine a go with Editions app

Aug 16, 2011
Tech

AOL has been trying to make a comeback for years, recently buying up web property in the form of Huffington Post and creating its own hyperlocal news network, Patch. Now the erstwhile ISP is diving into dedicated iPad content with the new magazine app Editions by AOL. Editions isn’t breaking any new ground, modeling its […]

AOL has been trying to make a comeback for years, recently buying up web property in the form of Huffington Post and creating its own hyperlocal news network, Patch. Now the erstwhile ISP is diving into dedicated iPad content with the new magazine app Editions by AOL.

Editions isn’t breaking any new ground, modeling its look after Flipboard, and its concept after the many other magazine-style aggregator apps, but its localization efforts show promise. When you initially set up Editions, you’ll be asked for your ZIP code to get localized weather and news. Choose your cover color, then you can order and add sections you’re interested in, including top news, local news, sports, design, technology and entertainment. Oddly, Editions restricts the number of sections to 10 — strange since it’s not like the app is working with a set number of pages. By linking your social networks, Editions will pull in to content based upon your personal interests, as well as display user-specific information, such as pulling friends’ birthdays from Facebook and displaying on your Events calendar.

The app isn’t speedy at creating your edition, but it will continue creating in the background so you can do other things. You can set Editions to deliver your new issue at a particular time of day, but the content won’t download until you launch the app. Once you’re reading the app, you’ll see photos and text excerpts presented in a magazine format. Tapping into a story will take you to the original source website, which means more loading time. A drop-down menu will appear at the top of the screen for you to rate keyword tags and sources, so they’ll appear more or less frequently in your next edition. Sources can also be added directly to each section if you have a favorite news outlet (if it’s in the Editions database, anyway). As you swipe through the content — and I was impressed with how many stories the app pulled in — you’ll come across full stories from AOL-owned properties. I wish there were more of these provided since they make great use of the iPad’s functionality.

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If Editions wants to keep up with its competitors, it’ll have to work on its speed issue. The app would also do well to implement optimized text rather than redirecting to original source pages. It’d also be nice if Editions offered a delete option. Right now the app is saving all of your issues — nice for referencing something you read, but something that will add up to a lot of wasted space over time.

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