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May 23, 2010 10:47 pm
Apple’s international launch of the iPad this week will not be accompanied by a swathe of fresh newspaper and magazine apps, in contrast to its much-hyped launch in the US and in spite of print publishers’ high hopes for the platform.
A mixed response to traditional media companies’ iPad applications in the US is making some publishers more cautious about the much-hyped tablet as it arrives in Europe.
Smaller publishers in particular are waiting to see what consumers want from iPads and how much they are prepared to pay before rushing out their products, unlike their larger and richer American peers, which had apps ready at the launch.
There have been few complaints from those that have released iPad apps, which bring publicity and advertising revenue to cover development costs.
Media companies remain enthusiastic about the potential for tablets to combine the best of internet and print, providing a revenue stream that websites have failed to provide.
Most of the largest news organisations in the US – including Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times – had apps available at the device’s unveiling. The Financial Times released its iPad software last week.
But many of the most popular European publications on the web – including the Guardian, the Daily Mail and the Economist – will not be in the App Store when the iPad launches in nine countries this Friday.
Digital publishers, analysts and design experts say the first publishers’ apps are confusing to use or boringly faithful to the offline product, and are not being used as much as hoped.
“There are some apps which are spectacularly bad, particularly magazine apps,” said Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis. “There is going to be a lot of frantic iteration in the next six months.”
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