Internet company AOL is trying to snatch a larger portion of the tablet computer audience by launching free iPad software that presents a customized, daily e-magazine that draws in content from all over the Web.
Called Editions, the software is similar to news-aggregating mobile apps such as Flipboard and Pulse, but more focused on bringing users a finite, tailored amount of content that updates once per day. AOL's app is being released Wednesday.
David Temkin, AOL Inc.'s head of mobile products, said the Editions team spent much of the past year trying to create an app that was like a morning newspaper, but more "sci-fi."
As a result, Editions includes a variety of default sections such as top news, sports, technology and business that users can tweak. Users can edit preferences within each section down to the celebrities, companies and tech gadgets they enjoy reading about. Like a newspaper or magazine, stories in Editions are ranked in importance by their size on the page, except it uses software rather than human editors to do so.
The app has a retro-styled design that starts up to show a closed magazine lying atop a wood-grained background. Each day, the latest version of Editions sports a different cover story. A small address label includes the user's name, location and local weather. Users can decide what time they'd like Editions to be delivered, and they can flip through about a week's worth of back issues.
Because Editions doesn't have licenses with content publishers, the app typically takes users to the publisher's website to read the full story. The app does include some full articles from AOL-owned websites such as news hub The Huffington Post, which AOL bought in February.
"This app is meant to drive traffic to publishers' websites," Temkin said. "This is not meant to scrape text off them and deprive them of their ad views."
The app will begin carrying ads in a few months.