July 8, 2013 Last Updated 4:56 pm

WaPo and USA Today update iPad apps

Readers give the new Post iPad app update a giant thumbs down.

A new update for The Washington Post for iPad was issued on July 4th, but readers are giving the update universally negative reviews as it appears app team was not ready for the change to appear in the App Store as issues can not be opened once the update has been installed.

“This release marks the beginning for our digital subscriptions. Please upgrade to link your Digital Premium or Home Delivery subscription or purchase a subscription from the App Store,” the app description reads.

WaPo-iPad-front-lgThe WaPo’s iPad app has undergone major updates this year: in March the app was moved into the Newsstand and an interactive version of the print paper was introduced to the app – which previously was simply a reformatted version of the website. Four updates followed that added content and fixed bugs.

The newest update is version 2.1 and follows the announcement that the paper would launch a metered paywall – which it did in mid-June. The paper is currently offering its Digital Premium subscription plan for 99₵ for four weeks, which offers access to the website and the mobile and tablet apps. The price eventually goes up to $14.99 ever four weeks.

USA Today also updated its iPad edition this weekend, but in the case of the Gannett-owned newspaper, the app remains a stand-alone app, and free.

Here’s what’s new in USA TODAY for iPad v3.2:
– New design for easy reading with a cleaner, more organized layout
– Improved navigation in an easily accessed drawer – just swipe to open!
– Handy 3-day weather outlook on launch
– Breaking news alerts now take you directly to the story, if available.
– New short cut to download all headlines with just a long-press of the refresh button

The update is essentially is about design. Whereas the old app put a banner on top of the app that contained the sections, the new version forces the reader to use a hidden menu to reach the sections.

The new app also greatly increases the size of the headlines, and because of this, fewer stories can appear on the front.

The app also moves the weather to the front page where readers are asked to localize the app.

Readers are giving the change mixed reviews, though complaints are centered on design decisions rather than bugs. Few newspaper apps, it should be said, have as mixed a group of reviews as does USAT: just under 20K reviews the app has over 5,000 5-star reviews and over 7,600 1-star reviews, with plenty of readers falling somewhere in the middle.

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