People buy iPads for many different reasons:
- iPad is an excellent eBook reader that doesn’t tie you to any particular service. You can get apps that’ll let you read Kindle and Barnes & Nobles’ Nook (and eventually Sony, maybe) formatted eBooks, or can buy books through iBooks or Kobo. And when you’re tired of reading you can do other things on your iPad.
- iPad makes a reasonable laptop replacement. There are somethings you still can’t do on an iPad, but creating and editing text and spreadsheet files are not among them. You can also “play” with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents if you have the right apps. So as long as you’re not looking to produce a multimedia extravaganza while on a red-eye from Boston to L.A., your svelte iPad should handle most of you document needs nicely. The iPad can also tackle other tasks when you’re not banging the virtual keys.
- iPad does a credible job as a gaming system. Angry Birds HD notwithstanding, the quality of games on the iPad is not on par with dedicated gaming systems, but give it a few months. With games like Dead Space, Infinity Blade, Nanosaur 2, and Real Racing already satisfying all but the most hardcore gamers, it’ll only be a little while before the iPad can go toe to toe with any gaming system. And the iPad does other stuff too.
- iPad …
I think you get the idea. The iPad is extremely versatile, so whatever the reason you may have for buying one, once bought, you’ll find many other reasons for using it.
One of the biggest secondary reasons for owning an iPad is to use it as a news outlet. In fact, the iPad was suppose to be the device that saves the newsprint industry, helping it make the transition from tree-killing paper to digital. That hasn’t quite happened for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the establishment of a reasonable subscription service. Another reason is that the Internet has news everywhere, for free. News outlets are struggling to find a way to make money in this new digitized world, the old revenue models don’t apply and new avenues of income are not yet reliable enough to support existing news-gathering infrastructures. So, little of how news was produced in the past makes much sense in this new world of instance reporting, crowd sourcing, and cellphone journalism.
But there’s hope, at last.
This week Rupert Murdock, likely the biggest of the news big-wigs in the U.S. of A. announced the release of a new news publication, built from the ground up and aimed specifically at the iPad. Unless you been buried under several feet of snow over the last few days, which many of you have, you’ll know that The Daily is now available for the iPad.
To call The Daily a digital newspaper is like calling the Tesla Roadster a car. While the Roadster has four wheels and a steering wheel and is designed to get you from Point A to Point B, the resemblance to your current gas guzzler ends there.
So it is when comparing The Daily to, say, The New York Times. I’m not just referring to how the news is presented, which is pretty cool in its own right, but I’m talking about how the news gathered that should make The Daily different. The Daily editors have a mission to bring the best possible journalism to The Daily customers in a fast, fresh, and relevant way. Not relying just on technology and eye candy, but The Daily is suppose to provide articles with real thought-provoking meat, and content you can’t get anywhere else. That’s a tall order even for a monthly publication, yet these people are trying to push out that content …well…daily. It remains to be seen if they can keep up such an aggressive pace, but the first issue of The Daily is very promising.
The photos are amazing, the stories are informative and have a light touch where appropriate, and the multimedia touches, like the Sports Scoreboards and the crossword and sudoku puzzles make The Daily look and act like a different animal. Each new edition downloads to your iPad when you start up the app and are connected to the Internet, so you can read it offline. When you do, some features become unavailable as they require Internet access, but articles and photos are there whether you’re connected or not.
While the app is free (which is the only reason I have for talking about it here in Free on iTunes), the subscription is an extremely reasonable US$0.99 a week or US$39.99 a year. And the first two weeks is free as well, for now at least. So even if you’re just thinking about it, grab the app and take a look.
Making a much smaller, but nonetheless important splash this week was another content outlet dedicate to the iPad, The Atavist.
Whereas The Daily seeks to bring you news stories as they occur, which often means that the stories can only go but so deep, The Atavist looks to provide you with full, detailed nonfiction stories, not necessarily of current events, but of items you may be interested in.
The paradigm behind The Atavist is unique; each story is larger than articles you might find in newspapers or magazines, but not book length either, they fall somewhere in between. They are loaded with multimedia highlights that add depth, but not necessarily flash, to the tales being told. And you have the choice of listening to the stories or reading them; each story comes with an audiobook version so you can listen while driving to work or while looking through the rich presentations. It’s how I believe the iPad, and tablet devices in general, will ultimately replace magazines.
The app is free and you can preview any of the available stories. If you find a story you like you can buy it for three bucks. If you love to read then this is a must-have app for you. I can see this app becoming the The New Yorker of the digital world.
Now you have two more reasons for owning an iPad. Both The Daily and The Atavist are what I believe is wave of the future. These apps and the people behind them are laying the groundwork for how we will consume news, and I, for one, am excited by it all.
OK, that’s a wrap for this week. More Free on iTunes next week. In the meantime check out other freebies listed below with direct links.