ABC News for iPad is a notable free application which continues the trend of companies developing innovative and creative interfaces designed specifically for tablet-sized touch screens. The new app, which includes photos, videos and various news stories, presents the content in a 3D spinning globe which users can shake, spin and tap with their fingers.Launched this week,
The content featured within the app is pulled from ABC News properties like "Good Morning America," "World News with Diane Sawyer," "20/20," "This Week," "Nightline" and others. Users can also tap a "browse" button to filter content by top stories, most popular, video only, U.S., International, and several other categories. An archives section includes articles, photos and videos from "this day in history" (although it actually goes back a couple of days) and there, iPad visitors have access to exclusive content not found on the ABC News website itself.
Upon first launch, iPad users see a spinning globe-like animation that contains the 25 freshest stories from ABCNews.com. The news in the globe is automatically fed into the app, but unlike similar continually updated news-focused mobile applications, there isn't a lengthy "downloading new content" delay. Instead, after a brief splash screen, the app just displays the spinning globe, waiting for users' tapping fingers.
Media Companies Embracing the iPad
In a way, it's somewhat off-putting to access serious news content discussing politics, war, crime, death and other sobering material in such a game-like - and yes, downright fun - manner. Shouldn't these articles be presented in a more grown-up format like a virtual newspaper?
As other news companies and media publishers clamor to make the digital transition, those embracing the possibilities of the new tablet form factor are seeing the most success. Take the Wired iPad app, for example, a digital magazine that sold 24,000 copies within its first 24 hours of sale and then 95,000 by the end of its first run. Inside of simply duplicating the page-turning experience of reading a paper mag via the iPad's screen, the magazine incorporated interactive elements, including video features and animated infographics. Reading Wired on the iPad enhanced the media consumption experience, as opposed to simply replicating it.
The same may be true for the ABC News app. It doesn't merely duplicate the same content using the same layout found on ABCNews.com, but rather engages users with its "touchability." ABC News on the iPad isn't about just reading the news, it's about interacting with it. Users can touch, shake and spin the app and also take advantage of built-in sharing features that let them Twitter, email or post news items to Facebook. Stories can also be saved to the "Favorites" section for later reading, too.
Given yesterday's launch of the "social," personalized magazine called Flipboard for iPad, not to mention the interactive and engaging interfaces of other news and media applications like those from NPR, Reuters, Entertainment Weekly, Reeder, Pulse and more, it's clear that tablet-enabled touchscreen innovation is only beginning.
You can download ABC News for iPad from iTunes here.