Thursday, January 5, 2012

App Updates: NYT adds in election support to mobile and tablet apps; Google Translate adds in iPad support

The New York Times today updated its iPhone and iPad apps to add in live election results, a feature that had previously been a big selling point for its iPhone app, NYTimes Election 2012.
I suppose the app updates are inevitable, as one wouldn't want to handicap one's own main branded app for a supplemental app. Both the iPhone and iPad apps require a digital subscription plan to access all the content, though access to the lead stories remain free of charge.

The updates also claim to have fixed some performance issues that were causing some users to experience app crashes. The iPad app, for instance, continues to have twice as many negative reviews to positive one, though many users are complaining mostly about the high price the NYT continues to want to charge for adding the iPad app to their digital subscriptions. (I have to admit, it is rather ridiculous.)

Google also issued an update, but it may be too early to tell whether this one really is valuable.

Google Translate, which had been an iPhone-only app, is now universal, adding in iPad support.

The iPad version is identical to the iPhone version in looks – meaning that it is pretty minimal – but iPad owners will appreciate the update.

The app itself, however, is difficult to use in real world situations. Partially this is the fault of Apple, as its cut-and-paste function remains hit and miss. To test the app I tried to copy text from the Le Monde website in Safari and then paste it into Google Translate. After half a dozen tries I finally got the cut-and-paste function to work properly.

What resulted, of course, is the usual Google Translate results (as you can see if you click the screenshot at left).

What would be more helpful would be a version of Google's browser, Chrome, for the iPad – or alternatively, Apple incorporating translation into Safari.