The San Francisco Chronicle's app is out today for the iPad. It joins the roster of major newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today that have all added iPad editions in the last several months. Of that group, only the USA Today app does not charge non-subscribers (of the print editions) for access.
The Chronicle app is free for 30 days. Monthly subscriptions are US$5.99 and $59.99 annually. Current subscribers will get the iPad app for free. Unlike the 'dead tree' version, the app continually updates throughout the day and has features the regular print version can't duplicate, like 360 degree panoramas, animations and very current weather and traffic information.
Subscriptions auto-renew unless you notify the Chronicle 24 hours before the subscription runs out. The digital edition does have ads. I took a brief look at the app and found it stable and easy to navigate. Checking the Chronicle website, I found that a paper subscription is $9.75 per week if you live in the Bay area, making the iPad edition a pretty good deal.
Many of the newspapers and magazines are charging as much or more for electronic editions than for paper ones, and it remains to be seen if that is a very good business plan.