Just the other day as I was browsing through the Montreal Gazette’s excellent online edition I wondered out loud why isn’t there an iPad app?
Well wonder no more. Postmedia Network the largest publisher by circulation, of paid English language daily newspapers in Canada has launched iPad apps for ten of its newspapers. The objective was to create something that would be distinctive and take advantage of the features of the iPad.
For the most part they have succeeded..the copy is easy to read and well laid out. Notice how the stories I have read are dimmed..as they are updated during the day they will brighten up again to let me know. Plus you will get a popup on your ipad if you aren’t in the app at the time. Wow! Back to the days of multiple editions of the paper..even better. If you are heading off on a long plane trip you can download the entire paper to read offline..now that IS handy.
One really neat feature is the ability to see what people around you or across the country are reading. No surprise to see a lot of people in Montreal wondered why the City didn’t see the snowstorm coming.
I love the fact extra pictures are available to help bring the story into better focus..this really works in the sports section. You can share a story with friends via email, Facebook or Twitter and you can even save stories to create your own personal newspaper. There is an integrated video player but so far the only video I found was an ad..more on those later.
The content seems to be slightly different than both the current online and paper copies of the newspaper and obviously geared to take advantage of the iPad screen with value added content such as extra pictures and video where available.
Now the big surprise I fully expected The Gazette to go to some sort of subscription profile when it moved to the iPad. Well no..all ten Postmedia papers are free on the iPad thanks to sponsorship from Air Canada, CISCO, Rogers Communications Inc. and Disney’s TRON Legacy. That’s where the ads I mentioned come into the picture..they are..well noticeable..and will take some getting used to, especially the full page ones in the middle of a story. The fact is that somebody has to pay for it and if it takes some ads to get my daily in a handy form like this, then so be it. I think Postmedia has so far managed to keep the ad level just below that painful threshold. Good for them!
Beginning today The Vancouver Sun, Times Colonist (Victoria), The Province (Vancouver), the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, the Leader-Post (Regina), The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon), the Ottawa Citizen, The Windsor Star and The Gazette Apps are all available for free from the Apple App Store.