New York Times for iPad Updated – Adds Support for Accessibility Features for the Visually Impaired

NYTimes for iPad

The New York Times has updated their NYTimes for iPad app today, to Version 2.5.4.

The big news in this update is the new support for accessibility features for visually impaired readers:

Visually impaired readers can take full advantage of iOS’s Accessibility features, including VoiceOver and AssistiveTouch

I have never looked at how much or how little iPad newspapers and magazines support these accessibility features before today. This morning when I saw this update I did just a quick bit of testing with the iPad editions of The Wall Street Journal and the newly updated NYTimes for iPad – and the difference is certainly notable, with the NYTimes app making if far easier for Voiceover to read an individual  article.

It may just be that I’ve missed it, but I also don’t recall seeing reports of this sort of update for any other leading iPad newspaper or magazine titles. If any of you are visually impaired iPad users or just knowledgeable on this subject, I hope you’ll leave a comment and fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge.

Here’s an App Store link for NYTimes for iPad.

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The Wall Street Journal Now in Newsstand

WSJ in Newsstand

The Wall Street Journal has come to Newsstand on the iPad and iOS. It’s been updated to Version 5.0 and though the app looks the same as ever it now lives in the Newsstand folder. Here’s the full change list for the 5.0 update:

Newsstand & Alerts
- WSJ is now in Newsstand! Get new issues automatically delivered to your device overnight. To use Newsstand, tap ‘Allow’ when prompted.
- Note: WSJ App icon will now appear in the Newsstand Folder.
- Breaking News Alerts from WSJ. To get alerts, tap ‘Allow’ when prompted.
In-App Subscriptions
- Purchase a monthly subscription to WSJ through your iTunes account. With a digital subscription you get access to iPad, iPhone, WSJ.com and more.

The WSJ was one of the last big, blue-chip newspaper titles to remain out of Newsstand – so this move is good news for Apple. I wonder how iPad readers of the WSJ will respond, since there are many of them who are really not fans of Newsstand.

I’m sure we mush have some readers of the WSJ here – what do you all think of the move to Newsstand? Do you feel good, bad, or indifferent about it?

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The Daily, First iPad-only Newspaper, Says Goodbye

The Daily Says Goodbye

The Daily, the first iPad-only newspaper, published its final issue yesterday – a few months shy of two years after launching. The final issue is good read and a good look back on the short history of The Daily.

The final Letter from the Editor offers thanks and a shout out to The Daily’s readers. There’s a timeline of notable exclusives and coverage of big stories by The Daily, a grid of thumbnails of all the front cover pages, and a listing of notable milestones for the title. Some of these are quite impressive:

  • 95% subscription renewal rate
  • #3 on the list of Top Grossing Apps for 2011 – trailing only Angry Birds and Smurfs’ Village
  • 30 minutes spent with The Daily on average

[click to continue reading…]

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Newsstand Sucks – A Few Suggestions to Improve It

Newsstand

Newsstand sucks. Ever since it launched I’ve hardly ever heard a nice thing said about it. The vast majority of users seem to want nothing more than to hide the icon for it and forget it exists.

The thing is, I think the concept of Newsstand is a good one – it has just been very poorly executed by Apple so far. The idea of having a special area for all your favorite iPad newspaper and magazine titles, and a single easy place to find all those titles, is a good one. Here are my quick suggestions for how to improve it:

– Make it part of iBooks. We already have an Apple eBook reader and eBook store app – why not use it to house iPad newspapers and magazines as well, just like many brick and mortar bookstores do? Create a dedicated section of iBooks for newspaper and magazine titles. We already have an area for our PDF collections – it seems easy enough to add an area for Newsstand.

[click to continue reading…]

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Time Decides Not to Offer iPad Subscriptions

TimeMagzineforiPad

After some very good news a few days ago about iPad subscription plans coming for many leading magazine titles, there is also some bad news this week on this front. Time Inc. – publishers of Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, People, and many other mainstream titles – has decided not to offer iPad subscriptions for its titles.

And it looks like the sticking point for Time is not so much Apple’s cut of subscription revenue, but their refusal to let publishers have access to subscribers’ information without users opting in and allowing this.

"We have chosen not to do that," Mr. Sachs said in an interview, "because when we look at who to partner with, the key parts of our principles include of course making sure that the look and feel of products is great for consumers and the ability to set pricing terms, but also receiving key consumer data about subscribers."

I think that letting users choose whether they wish to share information with publishers is a good policy, and I’m glad Apple is sticking to their guns on this one. Other major publishers who have started offering iPad subscription plans are optimistic that they can entice users to share information by offering extra content or similar incentives. This seems a fair approach and I hope Time and others can find ways to work within the App Store policies.

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