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April 1, 2010, 10:25 a.m.

NYT readies a free iPad app for those who don’t want to pay; plus first looks at NPR, WSJ, AP, Bloomberg, and USA Today on iPad

The New York Times may be preparing to charge a lot for its primary iPad app, but it looks like they’re also willing to provide a limited, free alternative: A New York Times “Editor’s Choice” iPad application that will feature a selected portion of the Times’ content.

At least that’s what one could conclude from the leaked existence of such an app in the iPad’s App Store, which will launch alongside the device itself on Saturday morning. The review site AppAdvice has obtained from Apple servers a list of what it says are all of the iPad apps we’ll see at the launch. The list is a bit of a muddle (lots of repeats), but it also has what appears to be legit screenshots and marketing copy of the iPad apps we’ll be anxious to play with on Saturday. (The screenshots are definitely real; they’re hosted on Apple’s servers.) I just spent way too much time scanning through the entire list looking for news organizations’ apps. Below you’ll find screenshots and info on the new apps from NPR, The Wall Street Journal, the AP, Bloomberg, and USA Today.

The NYT’s “Editor’s Choice” app would seem to be an answer to those who might find $10 or $20 a month too high to pay for access to what the Times gives away for free on its website. (I searched and searched for a non-free NYT app in the store listings and couldn’t find one. That could mean it won’t be ready for launch; it might mean that one will use an in-app purchase or login in the free app to get access to the full Times. Or it might just be that the full Times app hasn’t been put on Apple’s servers yet. Who knows? We’ll find out Saturday.)

From the app’s description:

Enjoy the award-winning journalism of The New York Times with the unique functionality and navigation of the iPad. The Editors’ Choice application offers a limited selection of news, opinion and features that are automatically updated to your device. Includes: • Unique display of media content – View photos and videos optimized for display on the iPad. • Simple navigation – Leveraging the iPad’s sophisticated navigation capabilities, read articles, browse photos and watch videos with ease. • Offline reading – Download and sync content to your iPad device via Wi-Fi or cellular network, enabling access to stored content while offline or in airplane mode. • Share options – E-Mail articles to family and friends. Send your comments and suggestions to iphone@nytimes.com or @NYTimesMobile on Twitter.

The app’s tabs feature News, Business, Technology, Opinion, and Features, and the screenshot above seems to indicate the visual approach is similar to what we saw when the Times debuted its main app at the iPad announcement in January. UPDATE: Here’s another screenshot, looking very similar to the debut’s article pages:

National Public Radio

NPR’s iPad app seems to share some design DNA with NPR’s redesigned website, but with an interesting focus on horizontal scrolling to scan stories. Note the popover “Playlist,” which I presume is for listening to NPR audio. And note the marketing language: “Experience NPR in magazine style.” The description:

NPR for iPad: Experience NPR in magazine style with a focus on News, Arts & Life, and Music content that’s broad, deep, and timely. It’s NPR like you’ve never seen us before. The app also replicates popular features of the NPR News iPhone app, including playlist, station finder, and sharing. And, we are already working on future enhancements for our next release. NPR for iPad. You thought driveway moments were good. Highlights:Navigation – Sliding “tapes” for News, Arts & Life, and Music and dozens more topics, providing fast access to NPR stories – Same-screen popovers for Topics, Programs & Stations Read- Read stories while listening to live stations or on demand audio – Download stories for offline readingListen – Access hundreds of NPR stories, and stations’ live and on-demand streams- Persistent audio bar for story or stream currently playing, even while navigating throughout the app.- Save favorite stories to playlist for immediate or future listening.Stations- Bookmark your favorite station(s) – Find stations by location (GPS) or zip code- Find station broadcast frequencies while travelingOther Features- Tap on any storypage photo to zoom in full-screen. – Share your favorite stories via email, Twitter and Facebook.The NPR for iPad app is optimized for OS 3.2.Technical Notes: – If you need support using the app or wish to report an issue or feature request, please do so at: nprmobile@npr.org

Wall Street Journal

The WSJ app is listed as free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a required purchase of a subscription, supposedly $17.99 a month. (The WSJ iPhone app is also officially free, but some articles are only accessible to paid subscribers.) The screenshot seems to indicate that updates since the most recent print issue are treated as a new “edition,” and that the app will allow you to save both articles and entire sections. The description:

What’s News – meets what’s next. Experience the Journal’s award winning coverage, blending the best of print and online. The Wall Street Journal for iPad let’s you touch the stories that matter to you most, get latest news updates and market data throughout the day, and save your favorite articles and sections for later.

UPDATE: Here’s another screenshot, which stays tight to the physical look of the newspaper. Note the tiny Coca-Cola ad in the bottom left; as I’ve argued before, I think we’re about to see a real burst of creativity in how digital display advertising works:

Associated Press

AP’s app is the most visually distinctive of the bunch, although this one screenshot may be of a customized “My AP” interface, not the primary one. Dig that textured background! Unlike the free NYT app, which seems to focus more on feature content, AP sells its app as “a breaking-news experience.” Not sure about the use of Comic Sans in the weather, though.

AP News is a breaking-news experience only for the iPad. Like AP Mobile for the iPhone, AP News keeps you up-to-date with what’s happening anywhere, in your hometown and across the globe. Now all the news responds to your fingertips. With AP News for the iPad, you can personalize news to meet your needs. Choose from news categories like entertainment, sports, travel, wacky and finance. Select news from your trusted local newspapers and broadcasters and combine it with the best of the AP’s videos, photo galleries, national and international coverage. AP News is the most comprehensive news offering available for the iPad. Read, share and save breaking news. It’s local. It’s comprehensive. It’s interactive. It’s perfect for your iPad.

UPDATE: You can also see a bit more of the AP app’s interface about 20 seconds into this video.

Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s app shares the terminal‘s data orientation and has a blocky navigation similar to the newly announced Windows Phone 7 Series.

Bring the power of the most trusted source for financial information to your iPad, along with tools to help you analyze the world’s markets.More than 280,000 professionals around the world trust Bloomberg to give accurate, timely information about the world’s financial markets.That source is now available to you on your iPad. Bloomberg offers news, stock quotes, company descriptions, market leaders/laggers, price charts, market trends analysis, and more.You are also able to create a customized list of stocks that you want to follow from markets around the world.Please send any comments or suggestions by touching the Bloomberg logo in the summary screen and using the ‘Questions or Feedback’ button. You can also reach us at: feedback@bloomberg.com.The information for these tools comes from the BLOOMBERG PROFESSIONAL® service, through the BLOOMBERG.COM® website.

USA Today

USA Today’s app looks an awful lot like its website (and the paper). I’m not sure how they’re pulling off the News/Money/Sports/Life switcher in the middle, but it looks like an interesting navigation choice.

The nation’s news. Now on your iPad. Updated 24/7.The latest news stories, scores, weather and photos you’ve come to expect from USA TODAY are now available in a beautiful new way, on your iPad. Staying informed has never been this quick, easy, or enjoyable.- Browse and read stories from USA TODAY’s signature News, Sports, Money and Life sections. Share stories with friends via email, Twitter, or Facebook. Download all stories to read offline; ideal when traveling.- Get live weather conditions, up-to-the minute personal radar and the five day forecast at your current location, or for a set of your favorite locations. Review national weather maps including Doppler radar, temperature and precipitation forecasts.- Review the latest sports scores for NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college football and basketball. Stay up-to-date on the USA TODAY-ESPN Top 25 Polls for college sports.- Flip through the day’s best photos from news, sports, and celebrities in vivid, full-screen detail. Share your favorites with friends via email.- Scan through USA TODAY Snapshots, and vote on a poll question for each. Review responses from all users and filter the results down to your current state and city.

UPDATE: A couple more screenshots here.

Reuters

Some details of Reuters’ app leaked a few days ago; it looks like a fine entrant into the news-app race and a design match to Reuters’ website. Here’s the description of the app, which they’re branding as “News Pro”:

Access professional-grade news and market data from Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source for intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Thomson Reuters News Pro for iPad gives you knowledge to act, with fast on or offline access to the latest breaking news, pictures and video, together with extensive global financial data, corporate information and interactive financial charting. Features:• Extensive coverage of the people and events that drive markets–from deals and merger news to global indices data • Ability to personalize geographic-specific views to customize the news, wherever you are in the world• Access to breaking news from around the globe • A customizable watch list for monitoring your stocks and companies• Detailed company profiles, including business descriptions, officer and director profiles and contact details• Constantly updated stream of the best pictures from around the world from Reuters award-winning photojournalists • Video coverage of the biggest news and business stories• Science, technology, health and internet news• Sports news and results• Entertainment coverage including film, television, music and celebrity news• Reuters popular “Oddly Enough” stories of the bizarre and quirky side of life• Easy to install, on-the-go application doesn’t require human processing• Off-line loading service provides full access to news content when you’re not online• Free to consumersThe Thomson Reuters iPad Production team welcomes your feedback, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions regarding our application.

POSTED     April 1, 2010, 10:25 a.m.
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