First Look: MacUser Magazine Launches on iPhone

Posted by Arron Hirst on January 13th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

On Monday, you may have seen the release Zinio Magazine Reader. A slick looking virtual kiosk for everything magazine on the iPhone. The app features a whole bunch of online digital magazines for purchase, and browsing them looks to be fairly simple. I've arranged with Zinio to get my hands on a copy, so hopefully I can show you that in-detail shortly. In the meantime though, there's one publication which has been available on Zinio's library since August 2004 and which I've been waiting to come to iPhone, and that's MacUser.

If your a Mac or Design fanatic like me, and happen to live in the UK, the likelihood is you've heard of MacUser. Originally started by Dennis Publishing in 1985, and later licensed to Ziff-Davis Publishing for use in the rest of the world, MacUser is a fortnightly publication which targets mac users who are specifically involved in the design industry. Due to licensing issues though, unfortunately only the UK edition remains. Currently led by Editor, Nik Rawlinson the magazine is packed with tips, tricks, news, rumors, reviews and general Mac and Apple-related goodness. Until today, the publication has been available one of two ways. Online, via the official MacUser site with each issue browsable via an embedded flash widget, and on glossy paper in stores. Each issue of the publication is available for as little as £3.95, and alongside this it's also offered as a £17.95 6-month subscription which bags you 6 issues.

Yesterday, MacUser launched on the iPhone, providing full high-resolution versions of their digital mags in a standalone app. Controlled via in-app purchases, your initial 59p purchase of the app will bag you the latest 100-page issue of MacUser Mazagine, free. Afterward, each fortnightly issue will set you back £1.79, or you can opt for the 6-month subscription as with the web version.

Opening the app for the first time will show you an overview of the 7 previous issues, and the most current issue displayed in CoverFlow. As far as reading and panning goes, the app pretty much features the same interface as their current flash widget, the only difference being it's adapted for multi-touch. Each issue can be read in either portrait or landscape. Turn your phone back to portrait, and you'll get a list view.

There are five tabs along the bottom; Library, Bookmarks, Search, Settings and Downloads. Your library tab lists the issues you've both downloaded, or that are currently able for purchase. While reading you can bookmark pages for later viewing via the app's pop-up menu, activated by a sharp tap on the screen. While on an issue you can search for a keyword, term or phrase and the app will find and return the pages those show up on. One tap, and you're reading again. Need to manage downloads, head on over to the 'Downloads' tab. Here in true App Store fashion, you'll see downloads in progress.

The app is a little janky right now, even to the point where graphical glitches are noticeably present. I recommend waiting for an update, but it definitely has potential.