If you associated Reuters mainly with breaking news, here’s an app that will open your eyes. Wide. The Wider Image (yes, it gets the Most Appropriately Named App Award if one indeed exists) does have a news element to it, but in its approach it is more National Geographic than your news daily. The effort here is to tell narratives about people and events mainly through photographs, although there is text aplenty too. Of course, that is easier said than done – you need great pictures and a good interface to ensure the user gets a decent eyeful of them.
Reuters has delivered on both fronts. The Wider Image is unashamedly a large screen app – it is currently available only for the iPad, and it makes the most of the large display real estate at its disposal. Launch the app and you see what is literally a wall of photographs, each representing a news story. The app works only in landscape mode, and you can keep scrolling for seeing more stories, almost infinitely. Tapping on a photograph opens the story, which is laid out in a mix of pictures and text. You, however, have the option of getting totally into pictorial mode, by opting to view the story also in the form of a slideshow. Quite literally, there are thousands of high quality pictures to go through, and the copy accompanying them is not too bad either. You can also get a profile of the photographer and even basic information of the nation to which the story pertains.
If you find the “wall of photographs” interface too intimidating or overwhelming, you can also hit the ‘Explore’ button and check stories from particular regions and countries. And if even that does not suit your tastes, then you can browse stories based on different subjects – you can choose from Behind The News, Cultural Atlas, Forces of Industry, Living Planet, Moment of History, Shifting Society, Tales of the Unexpected, and The Big Occasion. Still not satiated? Go to the My View section and customize the nations and photographers you want to follow. All this in an interface that works smoothly and is very easy on the eye.
All of which makes The Wider Image a feast for the eyes, even if you are not too interested in the news and are just looking for great photography. If the app has an Achilles Heel, it is in the fact that you need a brisk Internet connection to get the most out of it – all those photographers and slide shows need bandwidth. Some might also complain about the fact that it seems to have a more “feature-oriented” approach to news instead of getting into the classic “breaking news,” but we are placing it near the top of our must-download list of iPad apps. Aye, even if you are not too crazy about following the news. For this is not just an app about news. It is about life. As one seldom sees it.
And it is free too.
Download from: iTunes App Store