Developer: Newsweek
Price: Free App, $2.99 per issue
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Reviewed on: iPad

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

TIME’s traditional counterpart, Newsweek, launched on the iPad recently as well. I read the included issue, Politics in the Age of Obama. Other issues are available from the store, which is far less sophisticated than TIME’s and a little more difficult to navigate. Newsweek definitely gets one thing right – the pricing scheme. At $2.99 per issue, it’s 50% off the price of magazine at a newsstand. That’s refreshing where apps like Wired Magazine for the iPad cost $4.99. There’s still room for lower prices but it’s definitely a start. Better yet, the magazine launches on iPad two days before it hits newsstands. Readers get an incentive to purchase – lower prices than the newsstand and early delivery. Without a subscription mechanism, it’s bizarre to buy the magazine each week, but at least Newsweek has incentivized purchasers.

The iPad-friendly edition begins with an audacious claim, with Jon Meacham beginning with a “Welcome to the Future,” claiming boldly that “we are determined to create journalism of enduring value on any and all platforms that this generation produces.”

Newsweek's Loading Page

I found the application itself to be laggy, requiring a “Loading…” screen between each page. There’s no fancy vertical/horizontal reading mechanism here – Newsweek keeps it simple. The issue seems like little more than a PDFed edition of the paper magazine. Newsweek does allow pinch-to-zoom on their issues, but that’s pretty much the only iPhone-only addition, as even a table of contents is omitted. Newsweek’s competitor, Time Magazine for the iPad, really ups the ante with the inclusion of the “News Feed,” live content from time.com. In the age of the Internet, supplementing weekly newsmagazines with up-to-date information provides a good fusion between long form content and news as it happens.

With declining circulation numbers and a muddy future, Newsweek has the opportunity to change its business by offering a terrific digital app. Unfortunately, they haven’t taken advantage of it with this first edition.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad News, Reviews

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