WIRED Magazine – iPad App of the Week

WIRED Magazine – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. This series will also now cover Apps for the iPad. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is WIRED Magazine.

Download WIRED and be the first to experience this groundbreaking magazine with exclusive iPad content. Go behind the scenes of Pixar’s Toy Story 3. Spin our interactive Mars map to see the human impact on the Red Planet. Hang out in the recording studio with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor. See the greatest special effects in modern film—all in one reel. It’s the WIRED vision of how technology is changing the world—and it’s only on the iPad.

WIRED: It’s a look into the future of science, culture, business, and entertainment. Get connected. Get WIRED.

£2.99

Certainly this App for the iPad (and this is an iPad only App) has been making the news.

So what did I think?

Back in January I posted a YouTube video showing how a magazine could work on a tablet type device. This was before Apple announced the iPad.

Here we are in June and I have now managed to get my hands on something similar, WIRED Magazine for the iPad.

Now I do buy WIRED magazine now and again, usually if I am going to fly or take a Cross Country Voyager train, somewhere with no connectivity or not allowed to or easy to use a laptop.

I enjoy reading the articles and much of the tech is not computer tech but very specialist and geeky tech.

I was slightly hesitant about spending £2.99 on what is basically an online magazine, I like many others, am very accustomed to free online content. I did however want to try out this App (magazine) as it was going to be indicative of what was possible for the iPad in terms of providing content.

I did write a week or so back about problems people had had with academic text books on the Kindle.

This is a lesson that educational publishers need to recognise when publishing content to platforms like the Kindle and the iPad. Though novels are linear and as a result eBook formats can “work” like a printed book, educational books are used differently and as a result eBook versions need to work differently. Students need to be able to move around quickly, annotate and bookmark.

I have also talked about how e-Books could make a big difference to learning.

e-Books are not about replacing books, in the same way that online news sites don’t totally replace physical newspapers, or YouTube replaces TV.

Likewise e-Book Readers don’t replace computers; what both e-Books and e-Book Readers do is allow reading to happen at a time and place to suit the reader.

So I think I had quite high expectations about WIRED Magazine and was looking forward to reading it on the iPad.

First impressions were quite favourable with the pages looking wonderful on the iPad screen.

I did like the use of animated and interactive graphics in certain articles. These really made it easy to see what the diagram was trying to demonstrate.

I also liked the use of video, this did enhance many of the articles. I liked the one used for the ILM Turns 35 article which showed clips from many of the films ILM has created effects for.

With both of these I am sure this is because they were “new” and “shiny” I did miss a few of them, well I wasn’t looking for them. The same can be said for some of the images that could be swapped about.

It was useful that the App remembered where you had go to and you could (using a movie type scrubber) move quickly between different areas of the magazine.

The text was easy to read and many of the articles were quite interesting.

There were though issues with some aspects.

I didn’t like the navigation, sometimes you had to swipe left and right to move between pages and sometimes up and down to access more of an article. It wasn’t always clear where you would be going next. Having said that, the App was quite good at moving between portait and landscape mode.

My main issue was the quantity of advertising. Yes I know it’s a magazine, but two adverts between each page of content! I paid £2.99 for this App and it’s also advertising supported. A very few adverts had interactivity, others were just typical magazine adverts. Note that they were all US based so most were not relevant.

Upon reflection I was quite impressed and enjoyed the reading experience. In many ways it was a similar experience to reading WIRED magazine, but the enhancements did add to the experience.

This is still very much old media trying to use new tools to sell a traditional old media type experience.

Was it worth £2.99? This I am less sure about. Though this issue of WIRED sold well, it will be interesting to see if the next issue sells just as well.

Update: link changed to reflect current offering in App Store.

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