Monday, July 9, 2012

The Boston Globe updates its 'ePaper' edition; update also points to future changes

Whe The Boston Globe released its "ePaper" edition in March of this year, I pointed out in my post about the new app that the company was calling the new digital edition a replica when it really was not, at least not in the traditional use of the term.
Instead, what the app delivered was a combination of replica with native layouts. The compromise works because it allows the reader to view the overall digital newspaper much as they would the print version, but then read the stories in a format specifically designed for the device.

This weekend the paper released an update for The Boston Globe ePaper which includes some nice new features:

  • Full Retina Display optimization for iPad 3
  • Improved scrolling on the iPhone
  • Performance improvements and general bug fixes.
  • Saving articles to Evernote and Instapaper
  • Instant translations of full publications in up to 12 languages
  • Auto-translation of all publications into a specific language with the ability to specify exceptions
Sadly, being an English speaker, I can't really test out the translations. But I can tell you that if other publications incorporated translation they would find an eager audience. The tablet, and Apple's Newsstand, in particular, could be a real game changer if publishers adopted built-in translation.
though one wonders what took the Globe so long to update their app for the new iPad.

The app description also points to future changes. The description, for instance, says that "advertising inserts are not currently included" – an odd statement to make unless one was trying to fend off criticism about the lack of inserts, or hopefully because the digital team is seriously trying to address this issue.

Last September a lot of press was given to the AP's iCircular effort, but predictably the effort seems to be proceeded at newspaper speed rather than digital. (Also, the emphasis on phones seems to miss the opportunity to help newspaper publishers with their tablet editions, though I suppose any mobile solution could easy be incorporated into a tablet product.)

The app description also points out that the Sunday Comics will be coming to the app in June. Oops.

Here is my original (March) video created on The Boston Globe ePaper app: