Developer: Bristol Magazines Limited
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad

iPad Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Since the Civil War Today and On the Way to Woodstock app, apps showcasing historic events with a multimedia experience have been showing up on the App Store. Man in Space is another historic experience app. This one is about the history of space exploration and it gets something right that bugged me about the Woodstock app.

Man in Space is based on a special issue of Sky at Night Magazine with special articles and pictures about the history of space exploration. The way I understand it is that the articles in the app are the same as the pieces featured in the magazine but the app includes added pictures, videos, and interactive diagrams of spacecrafts. The articles go from 1961 to the International Space Station to current space exploration.

Creative navigation of the app is important for these types of apps. On the Way to Woodstock setup the navigation as a timeline that could be easily navigated with bars at the bottom. Man in Space has three navigation techniques that the user can pick from. All three are simple, but work sufficiently. There’s a drop-down table of contents with thumbnails, a gallery-like view (cover flow-ish?), and a scroll bar at the bottom.

I’m referring to something that Man in Space got right that On the Way to Woodstock didn’t. Being an owner of a WiFi iPad, I frequently use my iPad offline. The On the Way to Woodstock app’s videos and music needed to be streamed and therefore required an internet connection to get any real use of the app. Man in Space’s videos are all embedded in the app. But, as a result, the app fills up over half a gigabyte of space. Hard drive space has never been a particular worry for my iPad considering I don’t fill it up with music or videos (I stream both in various ways). My hard drive space is reserved almost 100% for apps. But I can see how such a large app might deter a less space savvy person, though.

The only real problem I notice with the app is with the interactive diagrams. I frequently ended up, somehow, in an interactive diagram situation that I didn’t mean to click on. While there’s a distinct “tap here” button to access it, it seems that tapping on other parts of the page can also direct the user to the diagram. It was a little bit of an annoyance, but not something that takes away from the awesome information and multimedia the app is filled with.

I believe the price point, $4.99, is just about where it should be for one of these historic apps. I felt that $9.99 was a little too much for On the Way to Woodstock. $7.99 is fair for the Civil War Today app because of it’s promise to continue updating with content for so long. But around $5 is perfect for one of these apps. It’s the high-end of an impulse buy. So go impulse buy it.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Books, Reviews