Monday, May 24, 2010

Foreign publications take advantage of two month gap to develop their own apps: Les Echos for the iPad

The Apple iPad was launched stateside on April 3rd. For two months buyers in other countries have had to either travel to the U.S. to buy an iPad (and then experience the frustration of not being to access apps back home) or else wait for Apple to launch the tablet in their country. But now Apple will be launching the iPad in eight additional countries later this week and publishers overseas have been used the time between the U.S. launch and now to develop their news apps.
(I'm not thrilled using the term "foreign publications", after all, in the short time this site has been live, TNM has been accessed by readers from 79 different countries. What may be a foreign newspapers to one reader, is, of course, a local newspaper to another.)

One paper that is ready to go is Les Échos, the financial daily newspaper from France. Their free iPad app appeared in iTunes late Friday, and as you might expect, has not seen any reviews to date.

The app works wonderfully, as you might expect, as the company had added time to work on design, navigation and implementation.

Navigation can be accomplished through a drop down index on the left, or the reader can simply swipe pages as if it were a flipbook. A tap of an individual story, however, brings up a new window with a text version of the story. Again, though, the reader has the choice of using multi-touch gestures to zoom into the print version. I like choice. (This flipbook approach, of course, allows all the ads to be seen. The ads, as far as I can see, currently do not have any embedded content such as links or video.)

One final touch made me smile: one of the bottom navigation options is Écouter Radio Classique, which when pressed gives you classical music to accompany your business reading.

Left: The splash page; Middle: navigation; Right: an article in text view.