Old media hits the iPad

It’s not that big of a surprise but two of the monsters of the newspaper industry, the New York Times and USA Today, have released apps for Apple’s iPad.

The Grey Lady hasn’t gone all out yet, as it only released a free app called Editors’ Choice which contains two pages of the best stories from the news, business, technology, opinion and feature sections, as well as videos and photos. You’ll be able to navigate using multitouch, share articles via e-mail, and you can sync the stories to the device for offline reading. This type of journalism isn’t cheap though, and it looks like you’ll be hit over the head with large, full-page ads.

“This app provides a great opportunity for advertisers to use the latest digital technologies to reach The New York Times’ affluent and loyal readers,” said Denise Warren, senior VP for the NY Times Media group, in a prepared statement. “The Editors’ Choice app launches with a full-page vertical and horizontal interstitial ad that provides a large interactive canvas for our advertisers.”

The company said a full-fledged paid version would be coming soon but didn’t give a date or subscription rate. Let’s hope they don’t go crazy like The Wall Street Journal and charge nearly $20 a month.

The hotel mainstay USA Today is also getting in on the game, and this app will be free until July 4, 2010 thanks to the sponsorship of Courtyard Marriott. After that, it will be an unknown subscription fee. For this fee, you’ll get the national news and photos the USA Today is known for but I’m not really seeing anything special beside “rich media advertising.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still download this app because it will be free but the old media really need to step up the experience for the iPad and tablets in general if they think I’ll spend my hard-earned money on what is mostly commodity news.

I know I’ve been up the iPad’s ass this morning but it is undoubtedly an important event in the mobile tech sphere. In fact, the IntoMobile team will be live-streaming the launch later today and tomorrow, so keep it tuned to our home page for more details.

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