Monday, March 18, 2013

The International Herald Tribune launches a replica edition through NewspaperDirect as a stand-alone app; previously released native tablet edition that mirrors web content remains inside the Newsstand

The International Herald Tribune has released a new replica edition iPad app. The app comes from NewspaperDirect and is not the first NYT property to launch a replica – the Boston Globe did that early last year – but as the latest, it appears to be a sign that The New York Times Co. is not keen on creating native tablet editions, as none of the major titles the company owns has gone in this direction. The only native iPad news apps so far released by the NYT Co. have been ones that take the content from the newspaper's property's website and reformats it into a new tablet app.

IHT eReplica Edition is not a bad app as replicas go, as NewspaperDirect has a solution whereby the article headlines can be tapped to bring up a text version of the story in a more readable, native tablet layout.

The new replica has been made a stand-alone app most likely to not confuse readers who already have downloaded the older iPad app found inside the Apple Newsstand. That app, International Herald Tribune for iPad, is identical to the NYT's iPad, as is their iPhone app.

This new app comes at a time when the IHT will soon be rechristened as the International New York Times, a decision long time readers are a little uneasy with, due to the long history of the Herald Tribune.

(The app, by the way, doesn't actually appear read for use. The most recent issues, when the reader attempts to download them, give an error message stating "The product is not currently available for sale." As a result, the only issue available at the time of the app's launch was an older sample issue. I'm sure this will be corrected later today. Also, there is no pricing to be seen inside the app description.)

For me, the NYT, which seemed to be leading the way on the new mobile and tablet platforms back in 2010, now appears to be lagging behind – launching few interesting new mobile apps, and no interesting tablet editions at all. (I'm not sure who exactly this replica is supposed to appeal to – maybe Jean-Paul Belmondo?)

Ironically, the one title that is doing the most interesting work, the Boston Globe, is being sold off. That newspaper has been releasing new eBooks, some of which are interactive, and a couple that have used iBooks Author to create their digital versions. (See the interview with Dan Zedek, the design director at the Globe.)

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

The ereplica edition appeals to me. A newspaper is the result of conventions elaborated over centuries. Until the ereplica was available, we had an IHT app which presented only some articles and none of the graphics. The articles could be found in two, three, and sometimes four sections without any means of noting which ones we had read. The set of articles changed throughout the day. It is a newspaper designed by a programmer, not an editor.

The ereplica is easy to read and is COMPLETE, as designed by the editor. For years, I subscribed to the IHT in Canada. It would arrive always one or two days late, and sometimes four or five days late in batches. Now I have a timely, complete (minus the sound of rustling pages, the texture of the paper, and so on) experience.