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12/14/2010
12:43 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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CNN Debuts App For iPad

CNN today released a brand new application specifically for the iPad. It takes what CNN did for the iPhone to the next level...for free.

When CNN first launched its iPhone app, it charged $2.99 for it. Starting today, the CNN app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch is free, and CNN says a major update to the international version of CNN is forthcoming.

What's so great about this iPad app? CNN says that it designed the app in order to play to the iPad's strengths, being the large, multitouch display. The result is an app that provides users with three different viewing options, which CNN calls Broadsheet, List View, and Slide Show.

CNN says that Broadsheet is the default view. It squishes as many as 350 news items into a grid with pictures and headlines a-plenty. Broadsheet also lets users deep dive into specific topics or areas of news coverage. CNN will also provide featured news items, which CNN describes as "editorially curated" to showcase its best work of the day. The List View reflects its name, it shows a long list of headlines only, breaking them down by topic and category. Last is Slide Show, which lets users swipe from story to story in a pictorial way.

How does these all look in real life? Each of the three views has its pros and cons. If you really need to just get a sense of what's happening, the Broadsheet view is the best tool to use due to its combination of text, pictures, and curated story placement.

The List View is best if you're just interested in skimming headlines and not really interested in reading stories so much. The Slide Show is a really pleasant way to interact with CNN's content, and I would say it's great for a lazy Sunday morning at home when you have more time to explore what's going on.

"One of the things about the app that excites us most is the ability to serve the news needs of iPad users while also exposing them to original, enterprise content from CNN that will surprise and delight them," said Louis Gump, vice president of CNN Mobile. "The CNN App was built from the ground up with our consumers in mind, and we are proud of the new CNN experience we’ve created for the device."

After using it for a bit this morning, I can honestly say that I'll skip the CNN.com web site in the iPad's browser in favor of the new CNN application. It provides a richer experience, and is less clunky to use than the web site.

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