“The Early Edition” for iPad gets my money

Right now, “The Daily” is getting all the publicity and buzz, after launching the widely-anticipated and closely-watched online news magazine for the iPad. So far, the reviews have been mixed, and it remains to be seen how many folks will actually purchase a subscription after the two-week free trial expires.

While I’m leaning towards NOT purchasing a subscription, I’ve already plunked down some cash – $5.00 to be exact – on a news reader that fits my budget and delivers the news I want to read, “The Early Edition” from Glasshouse Apps.

The app is essentially an RSS aggregator that displays content from your feeds in an attractive and ‘newspaper-style’ format. Granted, there are other apps that do the same thing – I’m a big fan of NewsRack – but I think what sets it apart, is it’s simplicity and ability to focus on ‘Today’s’ content.

Once you launch the app, it fetches content from your subscribed feeds – it comes pre-loaded with many, but you can add your own – and displays the headlines with some intro-text in a nicely-aligned format. Tap a headline to see the article displayed inline with the app, or ‘swipe’ to read the next page of headlines.

Pluses

  • The pre-loaded RSS feeds are a nice variety of what you’d find in a typical newspaper, e.g. News, Business, etc.
  • You can add your own RSS feeds.
  • Has a very comfortable feel, similar to a paper-based newspaper.
  • Low-cost. $5 and you’re good to go.

Minuses

  • Takes awhile to ‘fetch’ your content when you launch the app. Obviously, if you’ve got a lot of feeds, it’ll take longer.
  • You can ‘import’ feeds from Google Reader but doesn’t ‘sync’. Some other RSS aggregator apps do…not sure why this one doesn’t.
  • If a particular feed doesn’t push the entire article, you’re stuck having to read the rest outside of the app in a browser via ‘View Original’ button. Not the apps fault of course.

My News

While ‘The Daily’ certainly has many things going for it – $30mil doesn’t hurt – I’m not entirely sure the publishing-industry fully accepts or understands that many Internet users prefer choosing what ‘news/content’ they wish to consume, rather than having one-entity deciding for them what they’ll want. It seems that many people (myself included) like a columnist or two from various publications, but are reluctant to commit to all of the content a publisher offers when it comes down to forking over their hard-earned dollars.

I believe the ‘ideal’ format is still out there and is similar to iTunes, where you can pick and choose your content much more selectively at a reduced cost. The Early Edition comes close to delivering that kind of solution.

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Author:Craig Berry

Craig Berry is a Catholic web developer and musician.
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