Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Guardian updates its main iOS news apps

The Washington Post is not the only major media company busy issuing app updates today. The Guardian today issued updates to its two main iOS news apps.

The U.K. daily newspaper's iPad app, The Guardian for iPad (officially its called Guardian for iPad) has the most noticeable change in that new interactive content can be launched from within the app. I'm assuming, and I may be wrong here, that previously the material would pop up a window to an external source rather than being able to display the content embedded into the app.
The paper was a bit tardy in launching their iPad app compared to other major newspaper titles, but when it did it made a big splash with it.

The tablet edition, for me, has proved disappointing in that the home page of the digital edition often looks like it has been forced into the design – notice that the two lead stories (below-left) are without artwork). Flexibility was supposed to be the tab edition's biggest advantage, it isn't necessarily working out that way.

Updating the iPad edition seems to re-trigger the app offering you some free editions before being required to subscribe – as good a reason as any to update.

The Guardian for iPhone has also been updated.

There are several changes with the update that readers might not at first notice. The app now does not automatically load the galleries for offline reading. This will no doubt speed the launch of the app. This feature, though, can be changed in settings which is nice if you frequently look at the galleries.

The app update also says it offers a "better offline reading interface for first-time readers" – whatever that means.

The Guardian's iPhone app is crammed with lots of content, most of which has to be put behind the "More" tab. I've often wondered if breaking out content into separate apps isn't the way to go in these circumstances. If one doing the development completely in-house this would be workable, if much of the work is outsourced it might prove an expensive option.

The Guardian recently updated its Android news app, but still has no Android apps specifically designed for an Android tablet, with both the iPad news app and The Guardian Eyewitness currently unavailable on Android. It does have a crossword app for Android and no iOS equivalent, though.