No doubt Fairfax would claim this is in response to some spurious insight that shows they’ve discovered a group of readers with busy on-the-go lifestyles during the week who want nothing more than to lock their shiny new i Pad in the cupboard at the weekend and revert to newspapers.

(Or as they put it: “gives you print delivery on the days you have time to stop and enjoy, and the electronic edition on the i Pad or computer for the days when you’re on the go”.) Of course, it’s not.

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So yesterday Fairfax launched its Sydney Morning Herald i Pad app.

The strategy – designed to shore up print – and the execution – already derided by users as a “glorifed PDF reader” – are both laughable.

According to the release: “Features unique to the electronic edition include easy zooming in and out, scrolling, clicking on a story to read in text form only if preferred, and click-on headlines to highlight individual stories.” Wow. But of the first 258 reader ratings, 205 have given it the lowest possible rating of one star out of five.

Bearing in mind that this is the SMH’s free trial version, suddenly The Australian’s 2.5 star average (or three for its latest update) for its $4.99 version is looking spectacular.

Self-serving surveys from Newspaper Works, shenanigans with weekend holiday editions being wrapped up as if they are one for audit purposes, implausible claims about why readership is down leave the newspaper industry – and Fairfax in particular – look constantly on the defensive.

The less transparently it behaves the less credible the medium’s genuine positives seem.) And what of the product itself?

Comments have included: “I was soooo looking forward this app, but I am just disappointed.

It is messy and complicated to download with all the various sections and it just does not come up well on screen.

Let me just run that one past you again – read this next sentence carefully.