Reviewer’s note: for a more in-depth understanding of the Financial Times application and its features, read the iPhone edition review too. This review focuses on iPad-exclusive features only.
Excerpt from iPhone edition:
The Financial Times application is almost always to be found in the Top 10 free apps in the News section of both the iPhone and iPad store, with good reason. It is, as the category suggests, a fully-fledged news application bringing you up to date news and information. It also offers live market data from around the world (equities, currencies, bonds – the list goes on). Readers of the paper edition will appreciate just how condensed but functional this application is.
FT for iPad was showcased at the official Apple keynote that witnessed the launch of iPhone 4, with good reason. A seamless user interface, coupled with a content rich text and video, place it at the forefront of news applications for the iPad. Even full-size articles require little scrolling, and if they do it’s just a swipe to the left as opposed to a swipe up. Although I still find myself swiping up occasionally, there is a reason that it has been designed this way. Articles and paragraphs are much easier to read when presented in columns, particularly on the iPad’s generous display.
One of the main advantages of the FT application for iPad is the implementation of videos. The quality is excellent, and videos can be viewed in full screen for maximum viewing pleasure. iPad owners will be aware that the in-built speaker is much better than that of the iPhone, and so there are no problems with distortion, even at louder settings.
The real piece-du-resistance of FT for iPad is the market data section. Ordinarily, I always favour holding a paper in my hand, even in comparison to the iPad – there’s something about the feel of a paper. But what a paper can’t do the iPad can do: offer links to more information, which means you can have a whole stack of information in a relatively small screen. All stocks are linked to FT’s personal screen, where you can see a stream of relevant data. An overview of the global picture is presented, showing all of the major indices’ performance. Market movers reveal who is bucking the trend at any given time. Currencies; commodities and bonds are updated in real time, with the latter having pictorial yield curves in order to gauge market sentiment in the past few minutes right up to the last thirty years.
One final noteworthy feature is downloadable content. All articles can be downloaded for offline reading in a few taps – meaning that if you have no reception, you have no problem. It downloads every article from every section, but because it is text it only takes a matter of minutes. Perfect for when you’re going away, or when you know you’re going into an electronic dead-zone.
The application on both the iPhone and iPad is free to download, and a free account will allow you to read ten articles per month. To reap the full benefits of the application, a standard or premium account is required. A standard account will give you virtually unlimited access (everything but Lex if you’re using your subscription for iPhone or iPad usage). A premium account is a little more expensive but that includes the paper edition and access to exclusive Lex articles too. However, FT have an exclusive offer on in conjunction with Hublot – allowing full premium access until the end of July.
Just like with the iPhone edition, there are a few drawbacks. The lack of push notifications for breaking news is a sad omission that many competitors – such as CNN – offer. Regardless of your subscription, ads exist. However, their neat integration and smooth colours usually do not distract from any reading.
In conclusion, the Financial Times application is rich, succinct and integrated flawlessly. Its only real drawback is its long run cost. But as a student of Finance, I find it invaluable.
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