Who’s Going to Bring the First Great iPad-only Newspaper or Magazine Title?

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Despite all the enthusiasm for the iPad as a publishing platform for newspapers and magazines, to date we’ve only seen a small handful of iPad-only titles of this kind. The two most notable, News Corp’s The Daily and Project from Virgin Publishing, have both been hugely disappointing.

Project promised to be much more than just a monthly iPad edition, with frequent and even hourly updates – and never came anywhere near delivering on that promise. It has lots of multimedia bells and whistles, but it’s just another stagnant monthly title like so many that are the iPad editions of a print publication.

The Daily has good, frequent updates but also unfortunately has huge, basic technical flaws that have never been fixed even after three months of being in the App Store. Just as one quick and infuriating example, the app miserably fails to remember where you left off reading if you switch away to another app and return to it, making for a horrible, disjointed, and slow reading experience. Even so, it’s the closest I’ve seen to a worthy iPad-only newspaper or magazine, partly just because it’s the most ambitious – but until it can at least get the basics and basic performance right, it is far from great.

The real closest thing I’ve seen is Flipboard. It’s a fantastic iPad-only app, but it’s not a newspaper or magazine app in the traditional sort of sense. It’s a social news app that has great appeal for lots of iPad users, but may not have as much appeal for more ‘traditional’ readers of print newspapers – especially as much of its content is derived from RSS, Twitter, and Facebook, which many typical print readers may not relate to at all.

So my question is who is going to come along and give us a truly great iPad-only newspaper or magazine?

It might still be The Daily – they certainly have the ambition and the money. It seems like there should be more contenders in this space though. The iPad is a fantastic device to read on, and it’s still a superb medium for titles that want to combine great writing, multimedia content, interactive elements, and whatever else developers can imagine.

I would think we should be seeing more offerings from both big, established publishers and small indie groups as well. Maybe now that more publishers are getting on board with the App Store subscription model we’ll start to see more iPad-only newspaper and magazine titles. I sure hope so.

What do you all think? Will we see a truly great iPad-only newspaper or magazine title anytime soon? If so, who would you bet on to produce it?

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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3 thoughts on “Who’s Going to Bring the First Great iPad-only Newspaper or Magazine Title?”

  1. I share your disappointment with the Daily for iPad. I had been looking forward to that app but did not subscribe after and extended free trial. I’m a WSJ subscriber and read it daily on the iPad. It’s not a great iPad app but it’s my favorite newspaper. I’m still hoping the Daily will get their act together. I’m going to give them another trial this week. It will be my first paid experience with the fledgling app. I expect the Daily will become the first great newspaper app but I also expect it to be a while before it gets there.

    1. I think you might be right on both counts. It still amazes me that they haven’t seen / addressed some of their worst basic flaws yet.

  2. I agree with you that there aren’t any superb iPad newspaper yet.
    I think that publishers are still looking for the right bussiness model that works for them in tablets, and that’s the good and the bad thing: eMutation and eEvolution are going to be, as always, the “engine” of the new “selection of species”.
    At the moment -in my case- I enjoy getting daily information from a variety of different sources for only 14€/mo. I’m talking about the Orbyt initiative where one can read several dailies, magazines, rss feeds, web updates and also sharing info pieces via Twitter.
    I love it because it’s the first time I can access -and compare!- such an amount of profesional-generated information for that price… all of this wouldn’t have been possible without the iPad.
    Let’s see what’s next.

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