capsule review

Pulp for iPad

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Pulp

    Macworld Rating

Pulp, the $5 news-reading app for iPad from Acrylic Software, is so endlessly customizable that if you don’t like it—well, that might actually be a reflection on you.

The app (which previously sold as Times on the App Store before a name change last year) is pitched as a “personalized newspaper,” but lots of apps make the same claim. Pulp goes a step further, turning you into a newspaper designer. You select the websites you want to read, then choose the layout. One, two, or three columns per page? Do you want a simple list of headlines from a news source, or a summary of each story? How about a summary of the top story—including a picture—and just the headlines for the rest? Do you prefer the Web version of the story, or a bare-bones Readability-style look?

Your News Your Way: With Pulp, you can customize how news gets presented on your iPad, with different designs for each topic and feed you import.

What’s great about Pulp is that you make most of these decisions anew for each topic and each feed you import: there is no one-size-fits-all solution to data display—none of the forced uniformity of RSS reading that sometimes makes your eyes long for a good, well-designed newspaper or magazine.

Unless, of course, that’s what you want. And some users might not want to take the time to design their own iPad newspaper. That’s fine: you can let Pulp’s default settings do the work, or you can move on to a simpler application.

The app does a competent job of grabbing feeds and letting you share the stories you find. It also syncs with the $10 Pulp for Mac app. But it’s the design—and the ability to make it conform to your desires—that really sets Pulp apart. If you don’t have a good experience using Pulp, it’s probably your own darned fault.

[Joel Mathis is a freelance journalist and political columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. He lives in Philadelphia.]

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Pulp

    Macworld Rating
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