What's the best iPad app for newspapers

Read magazines and newspapers on the iPad

The expectations of the iPad were high. Even before the first presentation of the tablet PC, many observers treated the device as a savior for the print industry. Apple would make waves with the iPad as it did nine years earlier with the iPod. Entire industries would be turned inside out. Magazines and journals would finally make the leap into the digital age. Around eight years later, there is little left of this euphoria. Apple's relationships with publishers and retailers like Amazon are still considered difficult. It all started so promisingly.

At the first iPad keynote in January 2010, Steve Jobs positioned the tablet as a convenient reading device for surfing the Internet, reading e-books and navigating through apps. The then Apple CEO presented the corresponding demonstrations in a comfortable reading chair. Even after the launch, Apple focused on magazines and journals with the iPad. In February 2011 Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation presented the first daily newspaper for the iPad. Apple supported this step with media coverage and with new functions in the App Store. For the first time, magazine and magazine providers were able to process digital subscriptions directly in the App Store.

In the summer of 2011, Apple then added additional functions with the iOS 5 operating system. With the “newspaper kiosk” there was a separate overview for journals and magazines for the first time. The kiosk was a mixture of app and folder. Publishers could offer their own apps in this overview. The newspaper kiosk also had its own special functions. For example, the apps could start downloading new issues in the background - the user always had the latest issue on their tablet. The apps in the newspaper kiosk could also change their icons automatically. As a result, they always received the cover of current issues. A button took users straight to the newspaper and magazine category in the App Store.

Unfortunately, the newspaper kiosk was not a successful model - neither for Apple nor for the publishers. Apple's conditions for admission to the newspaper kiosk were generally considered to be too strict. The subscription prices in the App Store, for example, were not allowed to be higher than on the magazine's website - even though Apple kept 30 percent of the income from the App Store subscription. In addition, Apple managed the subscription data so that publishers no longer had a direct line to their own customers.

The newspaper kiosk did not survive long. With iOS 7, Apple presented a new design for the newspaper kiosk in 2014. The kiosk has been completely shut down since iOS 9.

Digital experiments

Apple's own experiments have failed. Small and large publishers have since tried to find their own happiness on the iPad. In addition to the prestige project “The Daily”, it was mainly independent authors and app developers who experimented on the iPad.

Tumblr and Instapaper co-founder Marco Arment also tried an iPad magazine. His “The Magazine” appeared every two weeks in the iPad newspaper kiosk. Each issue contained its own texts and essays on the subjects of technology and lifestyle. At 1.99 US dollars per issue, the costs were just as manageable as "The Daily". But even this iPad-focused experiment had to fail after almost two years. Too few new subscribers could not stop the many cancellations.

Since then, the iPad as a reader for magazines and newspapers has become quieter. The demand and a corresponding offer can still be found in the App Store.

Alternatives

Those who want to use their iPad for digital subscriptions today still have various options. The search is just a little more complicated than before.

The first port of call is therefore Apple's iBooks Store. You can find e-books, audio books and digital comics here, but unfortunately no daily newspapers or magazines. However, you can use the iBooks app to read PDF files. If your print subscription contains such files, you can read them on your iPad. This is particularly easy with AirDrop, iCloud or Dropbox. However, this solution wastes a lot of the potential of the tablet. The further search for alternatives makes sense.

Amazon's Kindle app is one such alternative. Here customers of Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited can directly access the offer of these flat rates. In addition to e-books and digital comics, there is also a separate section for magazines. The choice is very limited.

You can only find the full range of magazines and journals with the help of a web browser. In the “Newsstand” section you will not only find digital magazines, but also newspapers such as “Die Welt”, “Die Zeit” and “Süddeutsche”. International newspapers and magazines are also available here. You can buy individual issues from Amazon or take out a subscription right away. With the subscription you get a free trial period of 30 days.

The reading comfort of the individual magazines is not particularly high. In portrait format the iPad shows a single print page, in landscape format it shows a whole double page. There does not seem to be a particular view of the iPad. The double-sided view provides text that is too small for relaxed reading, for example. A double tap on text modules does not zoom into them. Instead, there is just a small zoom in on the entire page. Apple's iBooks app works better with PDFs.

Publishers and independent authors alike have tried their hand at exclusive publications on the iPad - without success. Above all the prestige project of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. He founded a digital daily newspaper for the tablet. "The Daily" was launched in February 2011. That was just before the second generation iPad was unveiled. The Daily was only $ 0.99 a week and kept readers updated with new news every day. The large-scale experiment failed about two years later. The last edition of the iPad daily newspaper appeared in December 2012.

The App Store

The largest offer and the best solutions can be found in Apple's App Store. Many newspapers, magazine titles or entire publishers have their own iPad apps here. A separate category for “newspapers and magazines” will help you with your search. The apps are usually free of charge. For this, the issues of magazines and newspapers are mostly chargeable. You can often buy individual issues directly in the app. Some also offer paid subscriptions via iTunes or the App Store. Alternatively, there are often corresponding subscriptions for digital editions directly from the publishers - for example as a combination subscription with the corresponding print editions.

Most digital magazines are similar in terms of navigation. Scroll through the output with horizontal swiping gestures. Individual articles can be scrolled from top to bottom across the screen. With a double tap you zoom into the article. Often these contain small multimedia highlights such as picture galleries or videos.

The big disadvantage of the app solutions: Finding such programs is difficult because the App Store now has more than a million apps. This makes rummaging for new magazines and journals difficult. The search function only works if you know what you are looking for beforehand. Newspapers in particular often have several apps with similar names in the App Store: One app for displaying online texts, another for digital print editions. That is why there are now a large number of providers who, like Apple's newspaper kiosk, bundle several publications and publishers in one app.

Digital kiosk instead of your own apps

There are various apps in the App Store that bundle several publishers, newspapers and magazines at the same time. For example Zinio: The range is large, but also filled with many international publications. Unfortunately, this makes the search very confusing: Often you only see the language in which the magazine is written at a second glance. You won't find any newspapers at Zinio. The navigation is slow and confusing, the cover representation of individual magazines is far too low. The app leaves the impression that it is out of date. The developer doesn't seem to put much care into his program.

The iKiosk is completely different. Here you will find a wide variety of magazines and newspapers. You can buy these individually or order a subscription right away. The range is arranged according to different genres or topics. You will look in vain for international titles here: the offer has so far been concentrated on the German-speaking market. The presentation of the individual magazines and newspapers is reminiscent of Apple's iBooks app. So you can only zoom in on the publications. A direct selection of the articles via the table of contents does not work. There are also no multimedia elements such as videos or picture galleries. That damages the reading comfort.

On the other hand, Readly delivers a good mix of both. With this provider, the price model is particularly interesting: With a monthly flat rate of 9.99 euros, you can read through the entire offer. The app focuses on magazines. These are shown in a PDF view. Readly is also wasting a lot of potential. To compensate, there are some clever features. For example, you can bookmark articles or share them as image files on social networks. The text view of the articles is particularly nice. This completely hides the magazine layout. What remains are texts and images - a very comfortable reading view. The app puts the magazine cover in the foreground in the navigation. Readly leaves the strongest impression with the large, international range, the lovingly designed app and the flat-rate pricing model.

News instead of newspaper kiosk

With iOS 9, Apple removed the newspaper kiosk from the operating system. As a replacement there was the new app News, with which you can read the news. The app feeds its content from the websites of major partners such as "The New York Times", "Variety" and "CNN". You can follow sources and topics. The result: a compilation of news into a digital daily newspaper. The app attaches great importance to reading comfort. Unfortunately, it does not yet support any German language or German sources.

New concepts for the future

Those who, on the other hand, rely on completely new concepts when reading articles and news will also find corresponding apps in the App Store. Above all, the Blendle range. Not complete magazines or periodicals are waiting here, but individual articles - ideal for frequent readers who only want to pick the best from a wide range of providers. Here you will find a wide range of newspapers and magazines. Instead of paying for the entire issue, just buy and read individual articles. The prices are often in the cent range. The costs will be deducted from your Blendle balance. The selection could be larger, but there are also renowned international publications such as “New Yorker” or “Time” on offer. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to see the costs for individual items in advance. But the prices are not high for that. If you make a mistake, you will automatically get your money back. Blendle convinces with low prices and a fair offer.

The Google Play Kiosk, on the other hand, takes a completely different approach. Here you will also find print products in the web view. In addition, the app creates a digital newspaper with a best-of offer from Google News. You will automatically receive topic suggestions in your Google profile. You can buy digital newspapers and magazines in the web browser instead of the app, which is a bit confusing.

Apple is not idle either. After the newspaper kiosk was closed, there is a realignment with Apple News. With the app, you can bundle online offers from various sources and publishing houses. The app is free. Reading comfort is particularly high due to the simple article views. Unfortunately, Apple only offers the app for the US market. Therefore, you have to switch your iPad to the US region in order to use this app. It remains uncertain whether Apple News will find the official route to Germany.

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