Top 5 Newspaper and Magazine iPad Apps

The iPad was supposed to be the demise of the print industry. Magazines and newspapers aren’t going down without a fight. Like technology, the good ones learned to adapt. The better ones learned to anticipate it before it was even created. While most of the major publications have developed an iPad version to keep afloat, there are a few who’ve stuck out from the rest that deserve a mention of their own.

Esquire, $4.99

Hinted at since spring and officially unveiled earlier this month, Esquire’s iPad app is nothing short of incredible. Instead of just plopping in text and images and adding some scroll bars, Esquire has re-engineered every piece of content to be digitally optimized. (In fact, there aren’t even any scroll bars.) Photos can be swiveled 360 degrees, and interactive footnotes are peppered throughout text — text that can be easily highlighted, copied and pasted. Esquire’s demo below says it all (and better),  but personally, I was sold when Javier Bardem walked into focus and greeted me to the mag’s October issue.

Wall Street Journal, Free limited version; $3.99/week for all the content

It’s an intuitive, attractive and downright adaptable app for a famously traditional newspaper, and it’s not hard to see why it has attracted so much attention. The start screen lets you quickly access past editions, as well as revisit anything you’ve saved while scrolling. The best part, though, is its separation of the “Today” news and the “Now” news, making it easier for users to get up-to-the-second breaking news because let’s face it, this post will probably be old news by 6 p.m. I am having a hard time swallowing the $3.99 a week price tag attached to it to get access to all the content, but avid Wall Street Journal readers may not mind the price bump as you’re getting information delivered to you in a innovative way.wall street journal ipad app

Wired, $4.99

Wired was one of the first to make an appearance on the iPad market, and like its name suggests, the digital version is certainly, well, wired. The cover is loaded with entry points and interactive elements not only drawing you into the magazine, but opening your eyes to what you never thought possible. Even the ads were interactive — and easy to skip. Unfortunately, the massive boom it saw in its first month (more than 110,000 downloads), didn’t carry over and sales plummeted in July and August. EIC Chris Anderson saw that as a sign for improvement and hinted that more social aspects, possibly drawing from the social mag app Flipboard, will be coming to Wired at year’s end. Check out Wired’s iPad video demo on their website.

New York Times, Free (for a limited amount of time)

Earlier in the year, NYT released an “Editor’s Choice” iPad app, which allowed users to access the best snippets of news for free. The functionality wasn’t groundbreaking, but the paper was commended for giving users exactly what they want: good, free content delivered in a snazzy, new way. But, naturally, users demanded more, and NYT responded and have done away with the limited content version for an expanded version of the paper with more content, more multimedai, and better user interface. You still have to have a NYT account to register, but you can get the full version for free, that is until a fee kicks in early next year.

new ny times ipad app

Up and Coming: Time Magazine, Price $4.99

When Time first released their iPad app back in April, it wasn’t anything to tout about. (The fact that they put it out in 40 days is another story.) It lacked sharing features and had clunky usability, user interface and too much replicated content to stomach the hefty price tag. Time has since gone back to the drawing board to revamp their angle, and with features like embedded video, chatting and a hot-spot enabled table of contents, they seem to be heading in the right direction. Peter Kafka from All Things Digital puts a side-by-side comparison of what was released and what’s soon to come.

All of the newspaper and magazine prices are based on a per-issue fee, so I’m curious to when they’ll start offering iPad app subscriptions and if these will be discounted like their print counterparts.

What do you think? There are a lot of great iPad apps out there, but which ones should have made the cut?

Erin Everhart is the marketing associate for 352 Media Group, a web design company, where she specializes in social media marketing, search engine optimization and content management, working with some of the company’s most prominent clients. She’s also a freelance reporter for multiple newspapers and online sites and a frequent blogger. She holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Florida and has an unhealthy addiction to salt and EM dashes. Follow her on Twitter :: @erinever.


  1. I’m enjoying the new GourmetLive app. It truly mimics the look and feel of the (now defunct) magazine, with gorgeous photos and fairly in-depth articles/recipes. They’ve added a fun layer of social functionality as well. It’s fairly minimalistic right now, but I think it’s going to develop nicely over time. Worth a look, and it’s free.

    • I was looking for a good food magazine iPad app to feature! I wanted to keep this list to ones that still had print versions too (RIP Gourmet), but you’re right, GourmetLive is a great one. Now, if only there’ll be a good way to keep an iPad in the kitchen without mucking it up.

    • I haven’t seen the AARP iPad (I’ll have to credit my 20s for that!) but glad they’re doing something cool. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks, Lee!

  2. I’ve gotten a couple of suggestions for Flipboard. I’m pretty sure Flipboard is NOT a newspaper or a magazine, but rather a platform for viewing content on the iPad (an aggregator of content if you will). I could be wrong, but figured it’s worth throwing out there.

  3. Check out the Mac|life Tablet Edition. It’s currently free on the App Store. The next version is set to come out real soon…

  4. Got the first issue of PC Magazine on iPad today for $3.99 on the app store and it’s great. No ads also, which makes it much better than the print magazines. About 73MB which is not that bad…

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