iPad Apps to Like #2: The Times iPad Edition

The Times iPad app has been pushed quite hard by the Times group and by jove, it really is a great little digital copy of the printed paper.

They’ve done a good job of making sure that each page is beautifully laid out in portrait or landscape.

As the single matchbox-sized help screen demonstrates, usage is straightforward.

When you first launch the app, you’re presented with a newspaper selection screen that lists the last seven days papers, barring the Sunday Times.

When a new edition is available, the cover is shown as a large down arrow. Touch the arrow to download the edition to the iPad. Once it’s been downloaded, the cover is displayed and the front page launches.

Each edition is fully downloaded to the iPad though I suspect there is some delay loading with images and movies may only be streamed from the website.

You can leaf through the newspaper by swiping from page to page or access a navigation bar that lists each section of the paper and, within the section, each story. Many stories have a feature image. This is a great visual landmark when you want to return to an article later.

As you’re leafing through, you’ll first be greeted with the Best of Times section. This gives you a summary of the main articles in each section. In theory you can jump from an article here to the detail but I’ve found it a little hit and miss at times – maybe there’s a knack to knowing where to touch the screen for a 100% success rate.

You’ll then hit the leaders section.

Many articles have images that can be touched to see full screen versions. Some articles have multiple images. For example, the article below has 7 images. You can flick through the images by flicking the image either in place (whilst the article is still visible) or once the image is full screen.

The opinions section with cartoons are included.

The cartoons can’t be blown up to full screen and in the edition I was reviewing for this article, the reader didn’t open the cartoon page correctly from the Opinion main page. It also showed the oldest cartoon first when I finally got to the cartoon page which was rather confusing.

Of course, no edition would be complete without full page adverts.

Some advertisers, such as LloydsTSB, display a different advert depending on the orientation of the iPad.

So, there you have it! If you’re wondering how much content is loaded on to the device, I’ve easily spent an hour reading and not even covered the news section. Admittedly I’m not the fastest reader in the country and I like to study the images so mileage may vary. Short of a comprehensive study, I’d say the Times has put a lot of the print edition content into the iPad edition.

As a subscriber to the Times newspaper (£288 for 48 weeks), I was initially  disheartened that The Times iPad edition was not included in the print subscription price. Having used the iPad edition for a week now, I can see that it’s more of a substitute for the printed paper than a complementary service and deserves to be charged separately.

At £9.99 a month, this app is a good value proposition.

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