The New York Times launched a new version of its iPhone app last week, in advance of the launch of a new paywall which would only allow readers to view 20 articles per month for free on the web, or the the Top News sections for free on a mobile device. I kind of wondered what would happen if you didn’t upgrade to the new app, so when the newspaper company pushed out an updated version of its Android app this weekend I decided not to update.
Now that the paywall is in full effect, I fired up the mobile app and got a warning saying that an upgrade is required. There’s a friendly “Remind Me Later” button, so I tapped that to see if I could keep reading anyway. The answer is yes… if I’m cool with reading yesterday’s news. The old version of the app simply won’t grab any new articles from NYTimes.com. The ads at the bottom of the screen are also going crazy, refreshing about 2-3 times per second.
So the long and short of it is that while there are a number of ways to avoid paying to read The New York Times, using an outdated version of the company’s mobile app is not one of them.
Oh, and it should go without saying, but if you want to support the newspaper, you might actually want to think about paying for a digital or print subscription. Good news doesn’t come cheap. If, on the other hand, you’re not a fan of the way the company is going about its new subscription plans, then there are plenty of other news sources on the web. But subscription-based news apps may be an important part of the future of journalism.
Update: While the older Android app has stopped working, it looks like users with the older iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad app can continue to download and read the latest news stories… for now.