October 8, 2013 Last Updated 9:45 am

The Guardian updates iPad app, adds content, but design and strategy remains the same

The Guardian and Observer iPad edition has been updated today. In addition to iOS 7 optimization, the app also fixes some bugs.

Guardian-iPad-update-lgThe update also brings in some new content: “The Guide for film, music, games, TV and arts features, previews and regulars every Saturday, and Observer Tech Monthly one Sunday each month.”

The Guardian did not immediately launch an iPad edition, but instead worked on its design and strategy, finally launching the iPad app in October of 2011.

While the paper touted its design, I found this to be a pretty weak feature of the app. The Guardian went with the design scheme du jour, boxes, in order to automate the process of creating the app edition.

Today’s Guardian app requires readers to sign up for a subscription $16.99 a month for both the Guardian and Observer, or $13.99 for just the Guardian, $9.99 for just the Observer. There is no way to simply buy that day’s paper.

I think it is a failed strategy (in the last ABC report, the paper’s daily circulation was down over 8 percent to 191,182). But I think that the paper took a very newspaper-like approach to its app: it took its time, spent a lot of money, and now feels stuck. This is the opposite approach to what is needed: move fast, developer internally, and experiment.

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