AOL is launching its iPad magazine app, Editions, this summer, but it’s not meant for the real-time news fanatics who spend a lot of time on Twitter.Instead, AOL hopes to grab people who like the experience of getting a daily paper delivered every morning, but want something better and more personal on their iPad.
It might be age-ist, but let’s just come out and say it: Flipboard for Baby Boomers.
AOL VP of Mobile David Temkin offered a demo of Editions at the company’s Palo Alto offices last night, and he explained that AOL is not trying to ape the Flipboard experience.
Flipboard scans your Twitter and Facebook feeds and delivers them, as well as the stories that your contacts are reading and recommending, laid out in a magazine-like format.
Editions won’t try to deliver everything your network is reading.
Instead, Editions will try to replace the human editors who decide which stories to run in a magazine or newspaper, and where to place them. It will even pick a top story for the “cover” every morning.
To pick these stories, Editions will look at what your social networks are recommending and the general topics they seem to be interested in, as well as your location (to deliver local news). Then, it will look at which stories you click on and how long you spend reading them, and adjust over time.
Editions is also not meant to replace Web surfing — instead, it will be delivered once a day, just like a newspaper. Temkin noted that AOL’s usage statistics show that people don’t use an iPad like a mobile phone, checking it constantly throughout the day. Instead, usage peaks at morning and night, when people are home and have some time to sit back and read.
Editions will be able to scan 30,000 sources in real time, but will launch with only between 1,000 and 2,000 available sources. Content owned by AOL — like the Huffington Post, Patch, and TechCrunch — will be printed in its entirety. Other material might only show up as an excerpt, depending on how much the publication offers through its RSS feed and what AOL considers to be fair use. AOL might eventually strike deals with third-party publishers like Flipboard has.
Temkin promised the app would be out by this summer — and not September 20th. It will be iPad only at launch, as AOL is not yet convinced Android tablets will get much traction. (Based on their sales stats so far, this is a smart bet.)
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