The New York Times on iPad just whets the appetite

May 14, 2010
Tech

When the iPad launched last month, it came with big hopes for news apps seeking Kindle alternatives.  Though The New York Times was among those publishers that got to create an app early, offering a sneak peek during the iPad demo months before it was available in stores, the resulting New York Times (free) iPad app […]

When the iPad launched last month, it came with big hopes for news apps seeking Kindle alternatives.  Though The New York Times was among those publishers that got to create an app early, offering a sneak peek during the iPad demo months before it was available in stores, the resulting New York Times (free) iPad app actually leaves a lot to be desired.

For their iPad app, the news publisher decided to go with The New York Times Editor’s Choice.  Merely looking up NYTimes in the iPad App Store leaves you wondering where the full, official version could be.  Nevertheless, the Editor’s Choice is all you get.

Thankfully, the app doesn’t disappoint when it comes to its aesthetics.  Well-formatted and easy to read, The New York Times looks amazing on the iPad. You’ll note the familiar “news” tab in the top left corner for navigating back to the main page, while tabs at the bottom of the screen let you quickly move between all, opinion, business and technology news.

Media on this news app looks stunning as well, and The New York Times has played up this capability by offering photo slide shows and videos.  There are no quick tabs to access these media-rich offerings however. Social sharing interactions are also lacking, as email is the only way to send an article to a friend.

As news articles are automatically downloaded to your iPad, stories are cached and can be read offline.  This greatly improves the reading experience, as it eliminates load time for flipping through articles and pages. Every other page or so, you’ll run into a large ad from Chase, which has sponsored the free news app.

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And that’s really about all you get with the ad-subsidized NYTimes app, which is far less than what the publisher has made available on its own website and iPhone app.  The limited news, the lack of sharing features and absence of personalization, combined with the app’s free price tag, indicate that The New York Times Editor’s Choice is only a way to whet your appetite. Hopefully the publisher will reveal its future plans soon.

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