Saturday, May 29, 2010

Are iPad News Applications Merely Glorified CD ROMs?

The iPad news application is an eye-candy business model. But fancy page-flips, large icons, large photos, interactive advertisements that track your activity won't force users to pay up in the long run. For people like me, long weaned on a free, hyper-linked internet, aka the web, iPad applications are nothing more than expensive, glorifed CD ROMs of the mid-1990s era.

Google News has a basic page flip and you do not need to pay up. When broadband becomes ubiquitous, what's stopping websites in having all the bells & whistles in the iPad style?

Interfacelab analyzed Wired magazine much-hyped iPad app, which sold upwards of $100,000 in first 4 hours of sales, basically due to the 'novelty factor'. Interfacelab says about Wired's application:

The only real differentiation between the Wired application and a [1990s] multimedia CD-ROM is the delivery mechanism. While providing little interactivity other than a fancy page-flip, the application is made of XML and images, including two for the text of each page in portrait and landscape mode. This seems to be why the application is 500MB.

On the other hand, an iPad application that has lots of 3D models and visualizations is something that users might like. Are news organizations listening?

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