A number of us around SJMC are sporting iPads this semester — either because we’ve purchased our own or because we’re involved in a nice pilot project to get iPads into several SJMC courses this year, funded by the UW Library System. So I’ve found myself being asked “What do you use your iPad for?” — or more specifically, “How do you consume news on your iPad?”
For me, much of that answer is that I make little icon shortcuts for online news sites that I visit often. But I have some favorite apps as well. I like Instapaper because it helps me clip articles when I’m on my laptop and pick them up later when I’m on my iPad (or iPhone). The NPR app is great, though I find I just use my normal iTunes NPR podcasts more than the spiffy NPR app. I also use NetNewsWire for my RSS feeds now (since Bloglines is folding) because it integrates well with Google Reader. Again, NetNewsWire has an app for the iPad, an app for the iPhone, and a regular software package for my Mac — I like it when I’m using the same program on all three platforms. The NYT Editor’s Choice app is usually interesting. But honestly my main “news” app is — get ready — the Nook app for iPad. Yes, the Barnes and Noble rather clunky Kindle competitor has an iPad app, and they allow you to subscribe to periodicals. It’s not flashy but it gets the job done. I subscribe to the Nation, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, and the New York Times through Nook. (Please hold the snarky jokes about how I’m incapable of reading anything not produced in the east coast megalopolis. It’s partially a function of what periodical subscriptions are available to be purchased right now.) The one thing I really like about the Nook app — and that I liked about my physical Kindle, too — is the distraction-free, text-heavy, no-advertisement format of those periodicals. And I should mention I’m reading a lot of e-books on my Kindle app for the iPad as well. In other words, I end up using my iPad for lots and lots of reading, even more than I do for web browsing.
How do the rest of you use these new tools?