Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A look at the new International Herald Tribune iPad app

Released on the Thanksgiving Day holiday, the International Herald Tribune has two new apps for iOS devices. Here is a quick at the iPad edition of the venerable newspaper.
The free app promises that readers will be able to access all content without charge until early 2011. I assume that at that time they will institute a pay model of some type modelled on what its parent company, The New York Times Company, decides it wants to do. Interestingly, though, the app shows up under its own name rather than under the NYT umbrella.

It is the NYT that provides the content for the paper, of course, but its focus on international news for a European or Asian audience has always appealed to me. The app itself uses the NYT and Financial Times model: native layouts in both portrait and landscape make reading easy, and while there is no push to zoom, fonts are easily controlled. In other words, this is an RSS reader designed for the iPad rather than a replica of the print edition.


Top Left: Section navigation menu; Top Middle: typical article in portrait with
a weather widget seen on the bottom; Top Right: layout with ad in portrait.
Bottom Left: typical article in landscape; Bottom Right: same article with ad.

One senses that this is just a stopgap app that will evolve into some sort of paid model down the line. Enjoy now while it is free if you are a reader. If you are a publisher, this is yet another example of what I guess you would call the NYT approach to a tablet newspaper. It will be interesting to see if the new Murdoch daily uses this approach or tries something different. It could decide to mimmick print like the Sporting News Today app (let's hope not) or else go native like this one.