Canadian Newspapers get an iPad App

Head.jpgEarli­er this week sev­er­al Cana­dian news­pa­pers sim­ul­tan­eously launched a free iPad applic­a­tion focused on provid­ing selec­ted daily con­tent from the print edi­tion of the news­pa­per.

An iPa­per?

Basic­ally, the news­pa­per app really acts like Flip­board or Pulse in that it reformats the head­lines, ini­tial para­graph and per­haps a photo, for easy brows­ing, by sec­tion of the news­pa­per (News, Sports, etc). And, of course, there’s advert­ising — what news­pa­per would be com­plete without it? Hap­pily it’s cur­rently lim­ited to smal­ler ads in the story, or full page ones at the end of stor­ies.

Reads like a news­pa­per

Tap on a story on a main sec­tion page and the page reformats to dis­play the entire story and images. Present­a­tion can be tweaked a little bit by chan­ging the font size, or rotat­ing the ori­ent­a­tion of the device, but that’s it. Pages are arranged in columns, sim­il­ar to a news­pa­per lay­out, though on the iPad some stor­ies will span a few pages.

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Innov­a­tion? Per­haps.

Post­Me­dia, the developer of the applic­a­tion lists these as the main fea­tures of the app in their news release:

  • Heat Map – read­ers see and read “Stor­ies Around Me” and check out which stor­ies are most pop­u­lar in their neigh­bour­hoods and across the coun­try
  • My Art­icles – saves and stores art­icles that users want to read later
  • Social Media Tools – the abil­ity to com­ment live on stor­ies and share with friends through Face­book, Twit­ter and email
  • Integ­rated Video Play­er – read­ers can view a vari­ety of videos with­in art­icles
  • Photo Gal­lery – a wealth of high res­ol­u­tion pho­tos and inline photo gal­ler­ies

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For my money there are two neat fea­tures are My Art­icles, the abil­ity to ‘save’ an art­icle. Once you save a story it’s stored loc­ally on your device to be read later.
As well, there’s a rather inter­est­ing Heat Map of ‘pop­u­lar’ stor­ies where a map is dis­played with col­oured dots over­lay­ing your city — the ‘hot­ter’ the dot, the more that story was read in that area. I guess the intent is to show you what stor­ies are hot in your area; an idea that has poten­tial.

Likes

  • It’s free access to loc­al and nation­al news as cur­ated by a bon­ifide news organ­iz­a­tion in your city.
  • Poten­tial to be updated more often than the print edi­tion, and avail­able via your data con­nec­tion when you want to read it. You don’t have to go to the corner store to get the latest news.
  • Down­load the latest edi­tion for off­line view­ing.

Dis­likes

  • You don’t get the con­tent of the entire news­pa­per. Accord­ing to the developer, “… fea­ture cus­tom­ized news­pa­per con­tent pulled from the best of the web and print edi­tions as well as mobile spe­cif­ic con­tent. Read­ers can down­load, save, com­ment, inter­act and cus­tom­ize the con­tent, their way.”
  • No obvi­ous way to search the con­tent.
  • No way to print, or cut and paste con­tent — which is avail­able in the web edi­tions through the tools integ­rated in the browser.

Will I use it?

Occa­sion­ally. It won’t be my ‘go-to’ app to find out what’s hap­pen­ing in my com­munity, there are too many oth­er live social media sources that give me the ‘now’. But if I need some inde­pth ana­lys­is or insight, I’ll boot up the app and see if the news I’m look­ing for falls into ‘the best of the web and print edi­tions as well as mobile spe­cif­ic con­tent.’ selec­ted to be released to me for free.

Or maybe I’ll just Google it and see what the big G returns. It’s a tossup.[ad#Future Shop Post Attri­bu­tion]

Published by Brad Grier

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