So I guess most people will be aware by now that there is now a Guardian application for the iPhone (you can hardly miss the ads in today’s paper). I spent some time mulling over whether to add the application as, unlike a number of other newspaper applications, the Guardian app is not free. However, I was eventually convinced that it was worth shelling out £2.39 (I know, it sounds pathetic doesn’t it? Not exactly a king’s ransom, but when you are used to free apps……). So, what’s it like?
Well, I have to say it is pretty impressive. There are plenty of neat things on there to make it well worth forking out for. Needless to say, shortly after downloading it I was wondering why I spent so long thinking about it! The home page is fully customisable, allowing you to select which sections of the paper you want to see when you first connect up to a maximum of six sections. As well as selecting which sections you want on your home page, you can select how many stories you want to appear under that section from a minimum of one to a maximum of six. Personally I think three or four is enough as you don’t want to be bombarded with a whole load of stories on the front screen.
As you can see from the toolbar on the image above, the application also allows you to listen to a number of podcasts. This is particularly handy in my eyes as it is much easier to just click on the audio and listen to it than going through the relative hassle of downloading from iTunes or from the website. Just click on the audio link of your choice and, within seconds, it is streaming through your iPhone – utter simplicity.
There are also a whole host of other options that make this well worth downloading (even at a whopping £2.39), including:
- download stories and read offline
- add stories to a favourites folder
- send to Facebook
- most viewed stories
- increase text size, and
- share via email.
The one glaring omission for me is that you cannot as yet share via Twitter, which is a bit odd considering how it has grown as a medium for information sharing in recent years. Still, it is early days yet and it may come in a future update*.
One thing that makes the app all the more interesting is that it comes on the back of suggestions by Murdoch that his news media will soon be charging for access. I still have no idea how this would work (how will they stop a subscriber from copy/pasting whole articles and posting on a blog?), but it seems to be something that is still being seriously considered at News International (which should worry all those concerned about access to information). One wonders how this application would impact on that. Certainly a recent report claimed that iPhone users are more likely to buy for content than the casual internet user. Although that report was published by…….The Guardian (perhaps the decisions had already been made on the application when that report went to press). Whatever the ramifications of this move, it is sure to become a well used app on my iPhone.
* Apparently a ‘Twitter This’ function is in the pipeline (thanks @ostephens).