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Wall Street Journal, NPR to Open iPad-only Web Sites

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At least two major news media outlets aren’t going to let the iPad’s lack of Flash (s adbe) support keep owners of Apple’s (s aapl) latest creation away from their content. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and National Public Radio (NPR) are working on iPad-specific versions of their web sites, set to launch next month alongside the official ship date of the iPad.

The websites will launch automatically whenever someone navigates to either or, and will replace the standard sites, both of which feature pretty significant quantities of Flash content. Peter Kafka at MediaMemo also notes that this workaround ensures that iPad owners will be able to access content from the two news sources without the organizations having to rush out a dedicated iPad application.

According to Kafka, NPR is in the process of developing such an application, but it won’t necessarily be ready in time for the iPad’s launch. Also, having two options available for iPad owners means that no matter what a customer’s preference, they should be able to access all of NPR’s content. Just after the device hits the streets, consumer frenzy will probably be at its most heady, so anyone ready to go on day one stands to benefit the most by way of picking up new readers and/or customers.

The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (s nws) is doing something along the same lines, although it will be more sound and fury than substance. While NPR’s site is getting a complete overhaul, the WSJ will have a Flash-free front page, but if you start delving deeper into content, you’ll run into those annoying little mystery Lego icons. The WSJ and other sites using this tactic will likely wait and see how popular the iPad actually becomes before devoting many resources to a full-scale conversion.

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16 Responses to “Wall Street Journal, NPR to Open iPad-only Web Sites”

  1. This idea strikes me as odd. Oh, it’ll work, it’s just…strange.

    Firstly, did Apple approach them about making browser specific websites. Rhetorical question maybe, but either way (and in lieu of being a loyal Apple loser) this sort of frightens me. Apple is dad is a mighty big way.

    Secondly, what do they expect to do when HTML5 becomes the standard? Apple isn’t killing Flash by any means–if they are/had, these sites would abandon their use of Flash altogether–HTML5 is “killing” it. I say that with quotes because new advancements regularly phase out old software and such; it’s the norm for the tech world.

    • Your second point is exactly the reason to create an iPad-specific site: it’s a perfect test bed for a Flash-free HTML5 version of the site that will eventually become the “standard” site. It’s also, I would imagine, much easier to develop and deploy an iPad-specific version of the existing site than to develop an iPad-specific version of the current iPhone app.

  2. Leonard

    I can foresee the benefits of having mobile sites, but iPad-only sites, also? It seems as if Apple is creating it’s own internet-within-the-internet, and that alarms me. I hope that iProduct users (great term) rebel against this anti-flash stance that Apple holds with the iPad. I can understand their arguments for not having flash on the iPhone and iTouch (even if those arguments contain a whiff of bs), but I was under the impression the iPad would compete with other Tablet PCs and netbooks.

    • Tsubame

      It will, and just because it doesn’t have an outdated dying format doesn’t mean it can’t compete with other tablets.

      People said that macs would be a laughingstock, same philosophy. Apple is just the first to drop old, dying tech.

      This is just the sign of an eventual drop of Flash altogether from the web as HTML5 becomes the standard, not an internet-within-an-internet.

    • Divebus

      “Just what we need, more browser-specific websites.”

      …which means this is a good move. You don’t NEED Flash to view content, just a modern browser.

  3. quandmeme

    surely this will benefit non-iProduct users too who are mobile and do not want to load flash? Blackberry, Symbian, Palm, & Android user like non-flash to?