Tribune Interactive today launched two new iPad apps for brand new digital magazines that take the sports coverage from the Chicago Tribune and the Orlando Sentinel and creates new tablet "magazines".
The two new iPad apps, The Bulletin, which covers the Chicago Bulls, and Blueprint for iPad, which covers the Orlando Magic, are great ideas – at least in theory.
Both digital products are a modern take on the tried-and-true newspaper special section, and so are exactly what modern newspaper publishers should be doing.
Once a newspaper (or any publisher) has created the ability to launch tablet editions (and mobile apps) they should be using this new skill to build products that can create new real estate for advertising, or alternatively, new products that the public will pay for. Because of this, I sincerely applaud the idea, if not the execution.
The problem at Tribune Interactive, though, is that their design sense is truly lacking, as believe are reflected in their new web products and the iPad apps that have launched.
I can't help but feeling, however, that the experience in launching these new apps will be very useful in the long run. Rather than try and launch a special section styled tablet app in a hurry, though, I would have recommended launching apps for the Cubs, White Sox, etc. The lead time would have been greater, and the apps could have been targeted for a few days before Opening Day, with a few days built into the schedule in case something goes wrong.
Besides, a baseball app for the entire season will have, as they say, shelf life. While an app for the NBA playoffs could be obsolete in a moment's notice.
** An anonymous commenter pointed out that The Bulletin launched at the beginning of the season, which would be consistent with my recommended approach to launching sports apps. Blueprint for iPad, though, launched a couple of days after the beginning of the playoffs.