Version Reviewed: 1.03
Reviewed on: iPad
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Popular Science's publisher, Bonnier, greeted the iPad's launch with the creation of their own magazine platform, Mag+. Popular Science+ is the first application to launch on the new platform. The app seems to have inspired Wired's navigation scheme as it utilizes a similar horizontal and vertical workflow. In-app purchasing allows users to get new issues for $4.99 (last month) or $2.99 (earlier issues).
[caption id="attachment_38230" align="alignright" width="300" caption="PopSci\'s What\'s New page"]
[/caption]The app is ambitious, as it tries to introduce many new UI features with a series of instructions for the reader. It is, however, far too complicated for the average reader. I found myself confused after using the app for a couple of minutes. Tapping the left side of the screen makes it easier to view the images by making the text disappear. Clicking the right side brings the text back. My favorite section of Popular Science, "What's New," is impossible to navigate in the iPad version. Scrolling between products is complex - do you move down or to the side and how far do you have to scroll? PopSci+ tries to introduce new UI elements where they're seemingly not necessary. Not only does scrolling vary as mentioned earlier, but moving between products in the "What's New" section changes the background photograph.
Popular Science is one of my favorite magazines, and the early promotional videos for Mag+ got me very excited about the potential of magazines on the iPad. In fact, the vision promoted by Mag+ is a large reason for my iPad purchase. Bonnier's Mag+, however, looks terrific in theory but needs a lot of perfecting before it's ready for the prime time.