It’s Saturday morning, and so there I am on my couch browsing through the week’s news on my iPad, coffee in hand. I shuffle allegiance between two news apps, both of which require a monthly subscription: The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Subscribing to both papers ensures I always have mounds of articles to read, and that I’m never stuck behind a pay wall frustrated because I want to view a particular article. It’s not all that economical though, and considering the narrowing window of time available for such pleasures, it’s probably a good idea to just pick one.
As anyone trying to decide between the two of these apps can tell you, however, the choice is tough. There are pros and cons to each.
New York Times iPad App Is Beautiful…But Give Me Some Structure
Want to hear something great about the NYT’s iPad app: it’s beautiful and feature rich. For whatever reason, the graphics pop off the screen and the articles feel easier to read than other apps, and particularly the Wall Street Journal app. Another thing going for the New York Times app is the features. If you come across a word you don’t know, you can click it and have it defined. Text can easily be copied and pasted, and the app’s most recent update even integrates the publication’s wide selection of frequently updated blogs. It’s really a terrific reading experience.
There are two huge downsides to the New York Times app, however.
The first and biggest aggravation is that the app is always updating the content. Updating content is great, you may say….but, that’s not entirely true when talking about a newspaper. Sometimes, you want to sit down and read the newspaper as it was published for that particular day. When you are viewing the NYT’s iPad app, you never know what the newspaper looked like on any particular day, and unless you “save” the article when you first see it, it may quickly disappear from those available to read before you ever get around to it. Contrast this to the Wall Street Journal app, which is discussed below, and I think the Journal has the right idea.
The second aggravation is the app’s navigation. You can flip between sections, but getting from an open article back to the section index just feels unnatural. Again, the Journal app has this done right.
The Wall Street Journal Functions Perfectly…But Give Me Some Beauty
The best thing about the WSJ iPad app is that you can open it up and view the newspaper exactly as it was printed on any given day, and the app actually keeps track of the previous week’s editions. So, as is the case with me frequently, I can open my WSJ iPad app on Saturday morning and catch up on Wednesday’s, Thursday’s or Friday’s news. The articles aren’t going anywhere, I don’t have to guess what was published when, or deal with any of that non-sense. I open the app, I select the day of interest, and there it is. When I feel like getting the most current Journal content, I can view the “Right Now” edition, which is a lot like the NYT’s all the time without giving you a choice edition.
The other great feature on the WSJ app is that navigation is very, very easy. Swipe up or down to switch sections, swipe up to go from an article to the section index, swipe left to right to go from article to article, and you can always navigation a section with the article index on the right-hand side of the screen. The Journal’s app has great user-friendly navigation.
The WSJ doesn’t, however, have the beauty of the NYT’s app. The New York Times app makes much better use of white space to make reading easier on the eyes, and for whatever reason, the WSJ app does not let you select text, copy text or have a specific word defined. It’s quite aggravating, and the lack of a dictionary alone makes me teeter towards favoring the New York Times app.