Is it easier for a tabloid newspaper to design for tablets? This question came to my mind when I looked at this app from the Sydney Morning Herald, a Fairfax Media property.
The Sydney Morning Herald is not a tabloid, but their front page design is very much the opposite approach taken by papers such as the NYT, with only a few stories getting front page positioning. A tabloid, after all, has limited real estate, with only room for either a very large photo, or just a few stories. That is very much the look of the new app released today.
The SMH for iPad is the second app released for this property, the first being a dull replica edition put out by NewspaperDirect that users have found profoundly wanting.
This new app, however, takes a completely different approach that is far better suited to the tablet.
The app is both free to download, and gives readers free access to the content for a limited time thanks to a single sponsor, Telstra. The free trial period is due to last all way until December when the paper plans on charging $8.99 (Australian dollars, about $9.60 US) per month. That price represents quite a discount off the annual subscription price being offered online, $349 per annum.
In an online post the editors of the Morning Herald say that other "tablet applications will follow." So clearly the company is pretty committed to the platform.
Also released today is an update for its other iPad edition for The Age. Melbourne based, The Age is almost as old as The Sydney Morning Herald, having been launched in 1854.
Here is the promotional video created for the launch of The SMH for iPad: