Though it will be free for three months after launch thanks to a sponsorship from broadcaster Channel 4, the paper will then start requiring £9.99 ($15.52) per month. Access will be free for those who subscribe in print, which costs from £27.38 ($42.53) per month. The app will continue carrying ads.
The fee is 24 times the subscription rate of The Guardian‘s iPhone app, which costs £4.99 ($7.75) per year everywhere bar the U.S. (where it goes free to build audience). And it less than a third of the cost of the equivalent print Guardian weekday and Saturday editions. Unlike iPhone, the iPad edition will also be charged for outside the UK including the U.S., at equivalent currency rates.
The iPad subscription rate puts The Guardian at the same price as a monthly mobile music subscription, and the same as equivalent iPad editions from The Times and The Telegraph.
Perhaps surprisingly, the idea appears to be mimicking a lean-back print experience, albeit with a Windows 8-style interface rather than a page-turning replica. That is despite editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger saying of rival newspapers’ iPad editions: “They were beautiful but they were kind of recreating the newspaper on the iPad”.
For example, although liveblogs, which the paper runs on the web and through iPhone, is one of Guardian.co.uk’s main strategic digital ideas, they are absent from the iPad app…
“We’re not going to be scrambling to update it every minute or every hour,” Rusbridger says in a promo video.
“We will do that on the browser, the browser is a place to go for liveblogging and to go searching for material. This is going to be a different kind of read, a bit more reflective.”
That means certain clicks within the iPad edition will actually send readers out to the Guardian.co.uk website.
The iPad edition appears visually rich, with prominent positioning for photographs. Guardian News & Media says of the product…
“The app is a tablet version of the Guardian’s Monday to Saturday paper. The app will include content from the Guardian Monday-Saturday papers including sport, G2, MediaGuardian, EducationGuardian, SocietyGuardian, Film & Music, Money, Work, Travel, Family and Review. It will also include related web articles, which open in an in-app browser.”
Rusbridger later clarified: “It’s version 1., aimed mainly at people who want an alternative to the newspaper. Other versions to follow.”
The Observer‘s Sunday content is left out. An Observer iPad edition was not announced.
The Guardian also recently launched its smartphone app on Android and Windows for free.
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