The Sun app for iOS has been released for both the iPad and iPhone and with tonights likely reveal of the Apple iPad 3, we’re kicking off our Sun-down with a look at the tablet version. With pricing for the iPad being free for a 30-day trial, then £4.99 a month, the application offers great value for money considering the amount of content on offer. With two attractive, intuitive user interfaces to boot, it certainly gives you options but does it come together well?
When you turn on the application, you are presented with two options, “Download today’s paper” or “View the Sun iEdition”. The prior will take you to a newspaper view which presents you with a high resolution scan of the paper as can be seen in the middle picture above. A story can then be viewed in plain text which over-lays in a card type view (top right). It’s all pretty simple with page navigation requiring a swipe and and an overview of pages accessible by tapping the “Sun View” icon in the bottom right.
In addition to thumbing through content, you also have a series of sub-sections as illustrated above taking you straight to the sections The Sun thinks you’ll want to be reading. Content in this ‘news paper’ layout can’t be shared unfortunately, however that brings us onto our next point, The Sun iEdition.
The Sun iEdition is featured within the same app however presents content very differently. The image on the top right illustrates your app home screen, with a headline story up top and two rows of horizontally scrolling tiles below, each with a news story. The upper scrolling bar contains breaking new, with the bottom bar displaying context specific content. What defines this content? A select few shortcut options – News, Sport, Showbiz, TV Biz, Woman and Comic.
The iEdition in turn crams a lot more onto a screen and is better optimised for tablets in general. Stories can be shared and text is flowed in an attractive column with about 8 words to a line for comfortable reading. We would almost be content with just this version, however, it is missing some key elements such as Business, The Sun Says, Bizarre, TV Listings and page 3 which annoyingly made us have to revert to the news paper edition.
Despite a decent user experience in isolation therefore, when using the app on the whole, it feels disjointed – requiring the user to flit between the news paper edition and the iEdition to access all content / share stories. That said, at £4.99 a month with the first month free, the app does represent good value when compared to the physical edition if you’re a daily reader. If therefore, you’re happy with the two editions living under one roof and are an fan of the paper, The Sun app will likely deliver enough content perk up your morning commute without breaking the bank.