Monday, November 7, 2011

The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune get iPad app updates, but do not move into Apple's iOS5 Newsstand

Both the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune iPad apps were updated this weekend in order to make them iOS 5 compliant. But while both apps received updates, neither app moved into Apple's Newsstand.
The Washington Post for iPad remains a free app that in essentially an app version of their free news website. All content is free to access and there is no required registration mechanism.

Users have complained that the newly updated app crashes for them, but I have not encountered any problems with the app myself.

The Chicago Tribune App for iPad similarly is an app that replicates the web experience rather than attempts to create a new tablet publication. The free app gives its users free access to the online content from the Trib and also gets very little back from its readers in the way of either revenue or information. Again, some users have complained of some crashes with the newly updated app, but that was not my experience. (Maybe these users need to reboot their tablets to clean up the performance of their iPads?)

Both apps are perfectly fine apps, though as business models it is a little hard for me to see that they will be hugely drivers of ad dollars – the only revenue model that seems built into these apps.

The advantage of these apps, from the perspective of the publisher, is that once they are built there is very little additional work necessary on the part of the editors. The content simply flows into the apps and that is that. As I am not a fan of either paper's website designs, these apps do serve as legitimate alternatives to the browser versions, and is probably why the developers are keeping them out of Newsstand – they really aren't publications in any sense of the term.