Best Free iPad App of the Week: The Economist’s The World in 2012 Editor’s Highlights

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The World in 2012 from The Economist: Editor's Highlights for iPad

Who doesn’t like free? And who doesn’t like great iPad apps? When the two come together it’s good stuff. With that in mind, we’d like to share our Best Free iPad App of the Week here every weekend.

This week’s pick is The World in 2012 from The Economist: Editor’s Highlights – which from here on I’m going to refer to as The World in 2012, to save my poor little typing digits.

Here’s a bit of the App Store description for the app:

This app offers selected articles from "The World in 2012". It also includes video and specially curated snapshots of people, events, landmarks and data to watch in 2012. In short, it provides a concise tour of the future.

"The World in 2012" print edition is the latest in The Economist’s annual collection of predictions, identifies and explores the issues that will shape the year ahead.

The World in 2012 from The Economist: Editor's Highlights for iPad

I’ve always looked forward to and enjoyed the print editions of The World in … from The Economist. In the past I’ve often ended up picking these up in airport shops when traveling during the holidays – as they make for a superb read on a flight, or anywhere else really. I always feel a bit like I just got briefed by the CIA or MI5 once I’ve read through one of these.

Happily, this iPad highlights edition of The World in 2012 is a great read too. It offers some in-depth articles on issues that may prove to be at the forefront of world events next year. Just as  a couple quick examples, there’s the piece shown above, on how the spirit of protest that started in North Africa will likely spread south in 2012 and a report on the changing of the guard in the Chinese communist party that will take place next year.

In the technology arena, there’s a good article on three ‘lesser-known territories’ that will be fought over intensely by all the biggest players – mobile payments, location, and augmented reality.

In addition to the great writing, this app offers some very nice infographic type pages. Some examples:

— 2012 In Person: a look at some of the world leaders who will make news and help shape events next year. As with all the infographic pages, you just tap on one of the squares in the grid to see a brief description that corresponds to it.

The World in 2012 from The Economist: Editor's Highlights for iPad


— 2012 Month by Month: a quick listing of some notable events to look forward to each month in 2012.


— 2012 in Figures: some striking data on a broad range of subjects – including some horrifying unemployment figures for Spain and particularly for Spanish youth.


There’s also a set of three videos, with predictions for 2012 from a cross-section of people from all walks of life – one from Beijing, one from London, and one from New York.


The app has a handful of full-page ads from BMW in it – but they are not intrusive at all as they’re very easy to swipe through.

Navigation within the app is smooth and easy. As is the near-standard for titles of this kind, you swipe up and down to read through individual articles and left and right to move between articles.

If you’re a fan of The Economist, and of their looks ahead at the year to come, you’re bound to enjoy this app. If you’ve never read one of the print editions, this app should serve as a great introduction to them.

Here’s an App Store link for The World in 2012.

If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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