Back in February, when many in the media were insisting that iPad apps were going to save the media business, we wondered why all the stuff they were talking about sticking in their apps couldn't work on the web as well
. It appears that others are noticing that as well. Jason Fry at the Nieman Journalism Lab is noting that publications' own websites may be the biggest competition to their iPad apps
-- and he was apparently a big believer in the concept of iPad apps originally. But after using the iPad for a while, he's realizing that the web is pretty good again:
After about a week of using the iPad, I started deleting apps, because the websites themselves were perfectly adequate. This is the reverse experience of the iPhone. On the iPhone, the browser was used only in emergencies, and apps ruled. On the iPad, at least for now, the opposite is true -- the browser is superb, and renders many apps superfluous.
That complicates things for news organizations. Many have already put too much faith in the idea that being able to charge for apps will reinvigorate their financial prospects. Now, they have to confront the reality that their apps may compete with their own websites -- and right now the apps don't win that competition.
Of course, I can see some in the media getting the wrong idea out of this, and using it as an excuse to put "exclusive" content only in the app... but, that will just leave them open to competition from publications who add more value to their website.