The Guardian newspaper this week launched it’s own iPhone app, priced at £2.39. It joins many of it’s competitors ‘on the shelves’ with apps already available from The Independent, The Telegraph, Daily Star and The Financial Times, although so far all of those are available for free. It does have one feature that it hopes will set it above the rest though, which is offline browsing.
It’s been widely reported of late that sales of print newspapers are dwindling, and Rupert Murdoch’s News International plans to charge readers for online content in the near future, so we may well see free news becoming rarer and rarer if the big publications get their way. How that pricing structure will take shape, remains to be seen, and even how enforcable it will be on the internet is in doubt, but this app certainly shows one possible route.
The Guardian app, as mentioned, boasts offline browsing, and works in a similar way to the Spotify app that was launched earlier this year. It does this by ‘caching’ the information in advance, so that it can be accessed later. This means of course that you can read it at times when you can’t get Wi-Fi access or a mobile signal, so is ideal if you want something to read on your tube journey. It may even cut out the old annoyance of people reading over your shoulder! Other features are a customisable front page, the ability to search by author or tags, streaming or downloadable podcasts, and an impressive image gallery. And one other plus point for it as a user is that it’s ‘ad free’, something that the free alternatives can’t offer.
You can see the app in action below, courtesy of You Tube, and there’s also a link to the iTunes store where you can purchase it.
Of the other free alternatives mentioned at the start of the article, I’ve tried all of them out and found I most preferred the offering from The Independent, which has a nice, clear interface that shows any unread articles, as in the screenshot below.
Give it a try by downloading it free from iTunes, or if you’re a big fan of Charlie Brooker like myself, £2.39 definitely seems like a small price to pay for his regular contributions in The Guardian. Readers might also be interested to know that are a few similar apps from other global publications such as the New York Times, Time, USA Today and the L.A. Times, which are worth checking out.