3 Free iPad Apps With A Nose For News

One of my favorite news organizations is The New York Times. I like it for a variety of reasons, but primarily because it is a constant in the world of news reporting. I may not always agree or like what is written, but the news at least tries to appear unbiased, and the editorials are considered and thoughtful.

It’s also a bellwether of news organizations; where The Times goes, so goes other papers. It’s only reasonable. You don’t get to be as big and as respected as The Times without making some good decisions along the way. Smaller organizations not looking to take the risk of being a vanguard can sit back and wait for The Times to make its move in any particular venture, then follow suit.

Such, I believe, is the case with the move to e-News - publishing the news on tablets devices, such as the iPad, instead of on pulp. It seems that The New York Times was only testing the iPad waters with its Editor’s Select app, which only provided a few choice articles and not the whole edition found on their website, or even on the iPhone app they released a while back.

The iPad was a puzzle to them because it was so new and it’s role in personal electronics was not as defined as they likely would have liked. It’s more than an eReader, which, up to now, only displayed static and greyscale pages.The iPad can deliver content as good, if not better than any web or smartphone application because of its mobility and large screen. The last few month since its release, however, has proven that people want the iPad, and good content on it.

The New York Times finally released an app capable of showing more of the paper’s features. This new app is a good thing because I believe it does enough right to finally get other news organizations moving towards producing e-editions of the daily news, and the more content there is the more appealing the iPad becomes. It’s the chicken-egg conundrum, and The Times has finally decided to play chicken.

I wrote a Just a Peek article on the New York Times for iPad app earlier this week and I gave it my personal “highly recommend” rating, which is next to the highest rating I give. If I had to rate the application again I don’t know that I would be so generous, maybe giving it my third highest “recommend” rating.


I wrote in my review that the NYT app crashed a lot. That was an understatement. It has literally crashed at least once every time I’ve open the app. It’s more than annoying and it’s gotten so I don’t want to bother opening the app anymore, and that’s not a good sign. If news is to be delivered virtually then the medium must be as reliable as the pulp version. It’s also worrisome because those other organizations sitting on the sidelines watching may see the broken app as a foreshadow of problems in the e-publication world. It’s not familiar territory, after all, and change is scary enough without having to deal with contrary apps on newfangled devices from a company run by a control freak.

I’m sure the company will fix the app and go on to do great things with it. Until they do fix it, I’m going to look elsewhere for news.

Luckily for you and me, there are other good, free news apps available for the iPad. Here are three:

When the USA Today paper first appeared back in 1982 it was billed as fast-food for news because its articles were easy to read and were accompanied by lots of photos. Today it is one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the world. And they have an iPad app that’s been around for a while, and it’s crash-free.

USA Today for iPad is free, amazingly enough, since you get everything you would normal get in the pulp form, including crossword puzzles!

USA Today for iPad

The app retains the paper’s to-the-point style and offers tons of photos and other media. It’s the news with eye candy, and once you open the app you just want to keep browsing.

The ads are surprisingly few and easy to bypass. I’m sure that will change over time.

USA Today for iPad

Navigation is easy as well. There are four major sections. Tap the “paper” icon in the upper left corner of the screen to get back to the front page of that section from an article. Tap the section logo to show the section navigation. Easy-peasy.

USA Today for iPad is a solid app that no iPad should be without.

Another app no iPad should be without is TED.

TED for iPad

TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and they are conferences where anyone with a good idea in any of the three aforementioned categories can get up in front of his or her peers and present those ideas. The presentations are captured on video or audio if they are lectures, and posted for everyone on the Internet to enjoy. It’s one of the best ways to get an idea disseminated.

TED for iPad

The TED for iPad app presents those TED audios and videos in an easy to use format so you can find a particular video, or watch something that catches your eye while browsing.

TED is one of my favorite apps on the iPhone, and has become one of my favorites on the iPad as well. The iPad’s big screen makes watching the presentations less of an eyestrain.

TED for iPad

The app lets you browse articles by themes so that you can focus on particular disciplines, and the videos are all high quality.

Put some headset, settle into a comfortable chair, and pick something. You’ll come away amazed, enlightened, or entertained, and quite possibly all three.

Really, no iPad show be without TED.

This final app is more of a news gatherer. It grabs news from different sources and presents them in a slick format.The app is Slate Magazine for iPad.

Slate Magazine

I like the way the Slate app sets up its sections, you can scroll through each, seeing articles and associated photo thumbnails. Tap on any article and you are there. Tap the Slate logo and you return to the front page.

You have access to videos, podcasts, and more. The ever present ads are not obnoxious and fairly easy to ignore.

Slate Magazine

I like Slate because it can present a more eclectic collection of news, often items not found in major publications. It’s also fun to glance through. It’s always fresh, and usually surprising. Good things.

Check out Slate Magazine if you haven’t already done so.

Ok, that a wrap for this week.

More freebie below, with direct links.