iPad=AOL Release 2: computing for couch potatoes

Revealing post from the Columbia Journalism review about the WSJ and NYT Apps on the iPad. The author finds it “worrisome” (quaint word) that the two papers “think they can partially return to the cloistered existence of the pre-Web days. That’s clearly a mistake.”


One big missing feature in the WSJ and NYT iPad apps: You can’t copy text. Take a screen cap[ture] of it all you want, but you can’t get the actual text. That’s a basic function on a computer, and the iPad has a clever cut-and-paste function, but it doesn’t work here.

That would seem to be a conscious decision and not just a missing feature in these quasi-beta apps. If so it will make it hard to blog or email about a story. Of course, it will also make it harder for people to rip off whole stories on splogs, and it could lesson the relevance of aggregators.

Neither paper embeds links in their stories. While nytimes.com links to a U.S. embassy news release in the third paragraph of its Pakistan attack story today, the Times app has no links.

It’s also worth noting that you can’t comment on stories in either the Journal or Times apps.

The absence of these features is not accidental. Forward to the past.

LATER: Gosh! The steam media crowd still don’t get it:

Three days into the Apple iPad’s launch, many magazine customers are embracing the new format for print but howling over what they consider excessive prices for single issues.

“Come on, guys, help us help you,” read one typical customer comment, on Apple’s iTunes store, in response to Popular Science’s iPad app. The app, a digital replica of the monthly magazine, is priced at $4.99 per single issue, the same as the print. “… This is the future of magazines. This is how I want all of my magazines. But I will not pay $5 per issue.”

Magazines are pinning their hopes on the iPad and other, forthcoming tablets and e-readers helping offset a decline in circulation and ad revenue. But as the early feedback shows, they may be paying the price for the industry’s longstanding practice of charging steep discounts for subscriptions. As a result, consumers are well aware of the per-issue discrepancy between subscriptions and single issues.

As one customer of Time magazine’s app ($4.99 single issue) wrote, “Not to put too fine a point on it, but they’re … passing the savings on distribution and raw materials to themselves. I can get 56 issues of the paper version for $20. How am I supposed to feel about this?”

Making matters worse, some customers of magazine apps thought they were downloading a subscription when what they got was a single issue. (To date, magazines that are sold through Apple’s app store are available on a single-copy basis only, although publishers said their titles would be available on a subscription basis in the coming weeks.)