FT Snubs iOS Store With Slick Newspaper Webapp

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London’s Financial Times has stuck its corporate finger up at Apple with the unveiling of a slick – really slick – webapp that looks amazing on an iPad.

Of course, it’s just a website. But one that’s highly optimised for use on iOS, with a collection of bells and whistles designed to make the experience as much like using a native app as possible.

As a webapp, it bypasses the iOS App Store, and the need to hand over 30% of the takings to Apple. But it’s so much better built than most webapps you’ve seen before.

On first visit to app.ft.com, readers are encouraged to go through a two-step process. First: add the site as an icon on the Home Screen, and second: allow it access to as much as 50MB of space on the device you’ve installed it on, so that it can download and cache as much content as possible.

The HTML5-based site is wide open and completely free for everyone until June 14th. After that, you’ll have to pay to access it. Even then, there’s still a limited free service of 10 full articles per user per month. Of course, all sign-ups and payments will be handled through another optimised web interface too.

A spokesman for Pearson, publishers of the FT, said: “Up yours, Apple. We’ll do this our way, with or without your help.”

No, wait. Actually, Pearson’s chief executive John Ridding was quoted in the paper itself saying: “This is not about Apple.”

Uh-huh.

Ridding continued: “It’s about our readers and making sure they have a consistent experience.”