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Michigan Station Launches Native iPad News app

CADILLAC, MICH.: Broadcasters are rapidly finding uses for the iPad. WWTV-TV in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan has launched a native app for the iPad. Unlike some other station apps for the computer tablet, WWTV’s isn’t merely an extended version of one designed for iPhones, says its developer, news entrepreneur Eric Wotilla.

“What makes our app unique is it’s the first app for a local TV station that runs natively on the iPad,” he said. “While other stations’ iPhone apps will run on the iPad, they run in a small window in the middle of the screen--they’re not designed specifically for the iPad, nor are they certified by apple as an iPad app.”

Wotilla launched News on iPhone, a software development service for creating apps for local media outlets, out of his Freelancer Productions enterprise. Wotilla also bootstrapped “Local Edition,” a locally focused newscast, on the Web when he was still a teen-ager. It’s now a five-minute insert rotating within HLN on Charter Communications Ch. 63.

Other broadcast-related iPad adopters include WXFL-TV in Albany, Ga.. The Barrington-owned Fox affiliate is now using the tablet computers for scripts, replacing paper and saving it $9,600 a year, Art Greenwald over at TVNewsCheck reported. ABC’s app was downloaded more than 205,000 times within 10 days of its release. Users watched 650,000 ABC shows with it during the same period.

Broadcast equipment suppliers are quickly getting into the iPad a well. Bodelin Technologies of Lake Oswego, Ore., showed a teleprompter made specifically for the iPad at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Prompter People of Campbell, Calif., showed an app allowing speakers to control the text speed of a teleprompt display. Beat the Traffic’s traffic-tracking and prediction app is being vetted by Apple, according to the Santa Clara, Calif., company. Broadcast Pix, the Billerica, Mass., “control room in a box” maker, introduced the iPix Panel controller app for the iPad.

Reports from the content realm indicate Internet-to-TV streamer Boxee and online movie purveyor NetFlix have iPad apps in development. Hulu, the TV content Web collaboration of Fox, NBC and ABC, is preparing a new $9.95-a-month subscription service that it will tie in with its iPad app, Apple Insider said.

More apps are likely to emerge after Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference takes place in San Francisco, June 7-11.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

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