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Monday, December 13, 2010

Review - Sunday Times iPad Edition

This might seem like a strange 'app' to review; but having looked at it, I think it's absolutely, brilliantly, produced.  Yesterday, The Sunday Times launched its very own iPad edition.

First of all, let me caveat this post by saying that I don't normally read The Sunday Times (or The Times!)  I occasionally buy it, but it's certainly not a regular read.

I downloaded and skimmed through the various sections of the sample editions (actually last weeks paper).  Yes; every one of the 12 sections that comes with the printed edition is present on the iPad.

Not only that, but there is more.  More information, hidden nuggets, and videos. It's really very clever.

You can 'stretch' the videos to full screen too.  Bear in mind that you will need an internet connection to play them.

It goes without saying that, on a screen with such a high resolution, the quality of the photos are staggering too.

Each section is downloaded individually, which means you can read as they download, speeding up the time before you can start reading.  

This really is taking full advantage of the iPad.
For those that need bigger print, rotate the device to portrait and a text only version of the article is displayed, which can then be zoomed with the established 'pinch' method. Excellent.

It's advertised on the App Store as FREE; however, that's for the library; you still need to pay for the individual 'paper'.

Each week, individually, costs £1.79.  Although, you can sign up for £2/week, and receive The Times and The Sunday Times on iPad (and their website editions too).  I have to say, The Times iPad edition is not as good - there's very little interaction.

If you're a regular reader, or, like me, dip in and out once in a while, this is a great way to read a quality newspaper.

However, this is a review, and that means bad as well as good.  When I went to download the paper yesterday morning, where was it?  Who knows.  For some reason, at 10am, the iPad version still wasn't available, and I wasn't the only one to notice.  As we say in Twitter world 'that's a huge #fail'.
Why bother launching the app without the content?

I tried commenting on their website, to no avail - it wouldn't let me submit my comment!! All-in-all, not a good experience.

To end on a high, at about 11.30 yesterday morning; I received a Twitter message to tell me that the new edition was now available, and could be downloaded for free!!  So, it was late; but they managed to retain my goodwill and positive feedback by giving it away this week; instead of the usual charge.  That's what customer service is all about (not forgetting the hundreds of disappointed / angry customers and the bad publicity that was taking place).  I'm such a cynic!!

Happily, the content is just as awe-inspiring as the sample, and I'm looking forward to reading through the sections over the course of the next week.

Have you tried the Sunday Times on iPad?  What do you think?

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