New Dallas Morning News iPad, iPhone apps launch in advance of pay wall

The Dallas Morning News’ new iPad app hit the iTunes Store on Wednesday, two days after the paper’s upgraded iPhone app was unveiled.

The two apps are apparently the first to be powered by The New York Times’ Press Engine. The Times announced last year that it would license the platform that runs its mobile apps to other publishers.

The Morning News’ owner, A.H. Belo Corp., plans to build similar apps for its papers in Providence, R.I., and Riverside, Calif.

The apps, and the redesign of DallasNews.com, are part of the Morning News’ paid-content initiative. Earlier this month, Publisher Jim Moroney announced details of the plan, which includes a $16.95 digital subscription. (Once the News erects its pay wall, the apps will remain free, but users will need to subscribe to access content.)

In a later internal staff memo, Moroney predicted the paper would be “vilified by the digital futurists, ridiculed by colleagues in our industry and fitted with a dunce cap by the trade media” for the plan. But he promised the paper would “course correct smartly as marketplace experience and gathered data suggest.”

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