Eureka – iPad App of the Week
This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. 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.
This week’s App is Eureka Sports Science.
The Eureka iPad application is a special digital edition of The Times’s monthly science magazine. In this app we ask how the science of sport is changing the human race. The app combines original journalism from our award-winning science and sports teams with all the interactivity of the iPad – including enhanced graphics, stunning photography and exclusive video.
This app features writing and commentary from Matthew Syed, Mike Atherton, Mark Henderson, Hannah Devlin, Owen Slot and many more.
From the very striking “cover” the mindmap style navigation makes use of the touch and swiping interface of the iPad. Whereas WIRED was very much a traditional magazine swiping pages and lots of adverts, Eureka is content and non-traditional access to that content.
There are audio introductions for each section and as you move through the content there is animation, videos, interactive diagrams, images and text.
It’s very simple to move to different sections and back to the main menu.
A minor criticism is that you are constantly turning your iPad around as some pages only work in landscape and others only work in portrait. One of the things about the WIRED magazine is that it works regardless of the orientation of the device. With Eureka you are reminded to rotate the iPad as and when required. It is annoying, but understandable why the Times have done this, as the programming and design work needed to allow viewing regardless of orientation would have taken a lot more time. They would have also had to virtually double the size of the App as they would have needed to put in images for portrait and landscape. As a result I suspect that this was the main reason for not providing content in both orientations. Part of me though thinks maybe they should have just stuck to one orientation instead of making the user constantly turn and twist their iPad.
One thing you will need to consider though is the size of the App.
This is a very large app and will take a while to download. The time will vary depending on your internet connection speeds. It is, we hope, worth the wait.
The App weighs in at 569MB which is huge for a mobile App and if you have a 16GB iPad you may find (as I did) you will need to remove other stuff to put it on.
This means it is not something you are going to download via 3G or if you have a slow broadband connection. The alternative for the Times would be to create a shell of a magazine that would require a connection to the internet to be useful. At least with all the content in the App itself, this means it will work when you have no connectivity.
So what of the content?
Well I am no sports scientist therefore I can’t say whether the content is superficial or dumbed down. This is a newspaper’s magazine so I am suspecting that this is not something that undergraduates would be using, however I do aim to show our Sports Studies lecturers to get their opinion on the content.
At 59p this is certainly good value for money and well worth getting if you are interested in sport and the science of sport.