Sky News iPad App Review
With news becoming part and parcel of modern day life Sky have capitalised on this trend with the launch of their Sky News App for the iPad. The developers have managed to capture the multitouch interface to great effect to deliver you live as well as pre recorded news.
The moment you launch Sky News, you are presented with two tabs at the top of the screen; Timeline and Top Stories. Timeline news is news that has occurred since the first broadcast of the day, so by swiping the graphical panels from right to left you can pick from a variety of news content. News is streamed over a wifi and 3G connection and on our iPad (wifi version) it plays very smoothly and video quality is more than acceptable when viewed at arms length (note: you can pinch to zoom into a video to expand the size or perform traditional double taps to expand the video full screen)
Sky have also managed to support the above with additional content, which could for example be articles, images, graphs or accompanying videos. Furthermore you can go deeper into a story by seeing the back story. This showcases another batch of videos that reveal how the coverage has unfolded to-date.
It works really well and we were totally immersed by this experience. Also you won't need to miss out on news when you are viewing images either, as the video you watch plays in the bottom corner.
A further example of it's intuitive nature is when you view web links. Articles are opened up in it's integrated browser which means you don't have to exit the program and you still get to view videos as you browse.
Going into this section uncovered the top stories of the day arrayed in a vertical scrolling page. Presentation is excellent once again and you have a similar experience as the timeline. We liked the continuity that is evident with the the Timeline and Ttop story sections, whilst they still retain their own individual style.
To ensure you don't miss out on any top stories during your stay (whatever section you are in), Sky have introduced a ticker tape message that appears at the bottom of the page. So for example if a breaking story comes out you can press the link and jump straight to the news feed. By registering your email address you can also get updated information on newer versions of the Software.
Clicking on the TV symbol activates the live feed from Sky. Here you can view the news as it happens.
Again you can view this in widescreen format (with black bars) or expand to full screen. But best of all you can pause and rewind coverge so you don't miss out on any news!
We were surprised just how good Sky News was, whilst some news can be a bit one sided i.e. if there is an important news event happening at the time, the content was informative and presented in an intuitive manner. Furthermore it could deliver up to the minute news or pre-recorded material at a time to suite, thus allowing you to control how you watch the news.
The only downside was it's reliance on a stable and quick interface i.e. 3G or wifi to maintain this standard.
For a free app mind (though we must point out that it won't be free for long) it's worth your time to download it that's for sure.