its iPad application, replacing the limited news collection provided by the older "Editor's Choice" app with an expanded selection of content offering access to all sections plus 50 NYT blogs.The New York Times has launched a new version of
But this improved reading experience won't be free for much longer - starting next year, NYT plans to charge.
Disclosure: NYT is a syndication partner with ReadWriteWeb.com.
It has been rumored that even Apple CEO Steve Jobs disliked NYT's "Editor's Choice." The app wasn't featured in the iTunes App Store as "noteworthy" or "favorite" app and wasn't even listed in the "News" section for several weeks after the iPad's launch.
Of course, whether or not the story of Jobs' dismissal of the app is true, the rumors tapped into many iPad users' sentiments - here, at last, we have an digital alternative to an old-fashioned newspaper and one of the country's most prominent papers is offering only a limited and crippled (the iPad app didn't support hyperlinks) selection of content.
With the updated app, at least some of those concerns are now being addressed. The new app now offers more content from nytimes.com, including breaking news, videos, photo slideshows and blogs. In total, 25 sections of NYT content and 50 NYTimes.com blogs are included in the new app. However, accessing all the content will require users to register for an NYTimes.com account, if they don't already have one.
Unregistered users will only see top news, most emailed stories, business news and video content.
In addition to what NYT says is an "improved design and navigation" (some designers disagree), the app also now offers breaking news alerts which can be triggered even when the app is closed. Full-screen photo slideshows have been added, too, plus an "update" button which will download content for offline use.
Sharing NYT content through Facebook, Twitter and email is still possible and will remain enabled even when the app launches its paywall.
NYT to Charge Next Year, But How Much?
It's not all good news, though - at least for those who like getting content for free. NYT's iPad app, like the paper's website itself, is going behind a paywall sometime early next year. NYT won't say how much this access will cost, however.
Reviews from customers on iTunes who have downloaded the new app are mixed, especially when it comes to the paywall plans. One customer wonders, hopefully, if "access will be granted to current subscribers" while another angrier customer fumes, "the threatening message about being free for a limited time comes off as just hostile. Nothing like trying to make a sale with a knife instead of enticing with real value."
Now we're wondering: will you pay for an NYT iPad app? Let us know in the comments.