Sunday, 8 May 2011

Telegraph App -alling

The Daily Telegraph App was one of my most used iPad apps until last Thursday. I used to download the highlights of the newspaper as I left the house at 3am before the print version hit the shops, and I could carry the content with me to read at my leisure during the day.

Just before I went to vote on Thursday I spotted a tweet saying that the new version had gone live. I was hoping that it would be an upgrade to the previously excellent app, maybe allowing me to tweet links to the articles. The update blurb promised extra content and interactivity, so I hit the update button. To my dismay, AND WITH NO WARNING the app now demands £1.19 per day for a download, (or a £9.99 monthly subscription). As I understand it, the paid for content is not even ad-free!

The new subscription rules are even hidden on the app store details, unless you click to read "more" where you also discover in a wall of text that you can extend any subscription period by handing over your personal details and the soul of your firstborn*. Cheeky bastards. You have advertised your app as "free" when it is subscription based, hidden the details of the subscription on the app description, and expect me to trust you with my personal details?

Bizarrely, ALL of the content is available for free on the Telegraph website. I can still cache it all to read later using instapaper or similar (but it will be more of a faff at 3am).

I learned about two major news stories on Twitter. Bin Laden's death, and the Japanese Tsunami. Both stories were promulgated worldwide in minutes, and yet here is a newspaper peddling yesterday's news at inflated prices- I just don't understand why anyone would consider paying for old news anymore.

I don't understand why a newspaper would choose to alienate its online readership in this way. Lost readers more than ever represent lost influence and lost relevance to a newspaper. The Telegraph has an old and stuffy demographic, and as a result I would guess a limited future. It needs to be courting its younger (by which I mean under 50) readers, but despite my politics, I am being pushed towards the Grauniad for news on my iPad.

This situation has now been compounded by Apple, who have chosen to promote the Telegraph as App of the Week. It isn't often that a promoted app gets a barrage of angry reviews and the 1-star ratings currently outnumber the 5 stars planted by Telegraph employees by more than 10-1 (so far).

If you were a Telegraph app user before, all is not lost. Delete the app quickly, before you synch with iTunes. The old version of the app will still be there, and it still works at the moment (although it's full of ads for the new version).

If you have already updated the version in iTunes, delete that too, and you should be able to rescue the old Telegraph.ipa file from your recycle bin.

Unfortunately this will mean you have to manually manage your updates and are stuck with an "update available" badge on your app store icon which is intensely annoying.

(*ok, I made the soul thing up)

- Blogged from my iPad

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