The possible choices for best iPad news sources dropped by one when News Corp. today (Dec. 3) announced it would eliminate The Daily, its iPad newspaper, on Dec. 15. The costly experiment lured more than 100,000 paying subscribers, but that wasn't enough to make a profit.
Too much, too soon
Fifty-four million Americans use iPads, a number that's sure to grow with holiday sales of the $329 iPad mini . The Daily was a pioneer in the iPad news arena, one of the first to try to profit by charging for a subscription rather than offering its publication for free. However, in a space where most people have become accustomed to reading for free, it's challenging to get enough subscribers to cover producing an original publication.
Getting your iPad news
Paid publications offer original content written or created expressly for their magazines. Most offer a single-issue preview, which publishers hope will compel you to subscribe.
Free news magazines are aggregators, meaning they pull in content from many other news sources. You can usually choose topics for your feed. The idea is that you'll click through to content providers you see on your free magazine and then will become a loyal visitor to their websites.
Here are the best from each type, paid subscription and free:
Flipboard (Free) — The first big social aggregator and the current leader in the App Store, Flipboard presents posts from your social media contacts alongside news stories, in categories that you've selected to receive, from sources such as NBC News, BBC World and The Guardian.
Huffington Post — It's 99 cents per issue after the first free issue (published weekly). Billed as a way to catch up over the weekend on HuffPo's original content, issues can be downloaded and read offline.
Pulse (Free and paid) — Like Flipboard, Pulse brings all of your social media channels into one location, along with news sources from around the Internet. You can purchase premium content from sources such as the Wall Street Journal. The most popular paid add-on is WSJ Water Cooler for 99 cents a month.
60 Minutes — ($4.99 one-time app fee) This is a companion app to the long-running TV news show. In addition to video segments for each weekly show, the app offers behind-the-scenes stories, archives and previews.
Zite Personalized Magazine — (Free) You select the topics, and Zite brings them in from around the Web. Zite lets readers vote stories up and down, so that it can tailor your feed to not only what you like, but also reduce the kinds of content that you've indicated you don't like.
Many national magazines such as Time, The New Yorker and Discover offer digital subscriptions and single copies through their iPad apps. Note that while the apps are free, the issues you download are not.