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Good Food Magazine Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Kyle Flanigan on March 8th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SIMPLY DESIGNED
BBC's Good Food application is the electronic version of the popular printed magazine, featuring a number of recipes and features for your reading pleasure.
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Introducing HDvision

Posted by Kyle Flanigan on February 22nd, 2011

From the developers of the Musée du Louvre application, one of the most downloaded educational applications in the App Store's history, comes a new project: HDvision. The iPad-only magazine, second of its kind only to Virgin's Project, immediately shot to the number one downloaded News application (and number seven overall) in its premiere in the French App Store. Now it's available in the US and a number of different App Stores across the world.

HDvision is devoted to high definition media and technology. "Get the best of Cinema, Blu-ray, TV Shows, Video Games, VOD, Multichannel Sound and Technology on your iPad with the HDvision magazine" reads the official blurb, all through an interactive app that includes embedded HD video trailers, HD picture galleries and interactive slideshows. The first issue of HDvision is free to download. This month's magazine weighs in at 619MB, heavy even for magazine standards but to be expected given HDvision's focus on high definition content.

I spoke to David Fakrikian of HDvision earlier this week, asking him about the inspiration and development of the popular magazine. "The [printed] project was refused by every publishing company around for both costs reasons, and political reasons ... until the iPad came about, and Mastery Pictures International offered to team up with us" he writes. "The idea was irresistible: iPad offered the possibility to blend both contents of the original magazine (features articles + video) into one package, and make an international (english) edition, offering us for the first time the possibility to be read worlwide, as well as by most directors and actors we interview." The pricing strategy behind the magazine application is yet to be determined, given its early stages.

The magazine's inception stems from DVDvision, a print magazine that Fakrikian created and edited between 1999 and 2003. You can download the first edition of its new counterpart, HDvision, for free. Just check out the link below the YouTube teaser.

Apple Launches Subscription Services for Apps

Posted by Jeff Scott on February 15th, 2011

[img id="media.1.jpg"]Apple has finally, formally announced its subscription service for apps. This formal announcement means that any app that provides a digital subscription outside an app must also do so inside the app.

The announcement to day basically comes down to this. If a service provides a method to receive a digital subscription on an iOS device (think Zinio, The Daily, The Times of London) that the option to subscribe needs to be offered inside the app at the same or lower prices. To clear one thing up, this does not mean that print subscription prices need to apply to digital subscriptions. While I'd love that rule, as a consumer, that would be overstepping Apple's bounds a bit.

One thing to note is that this doesn't just apply to digital print publications like magazines and newspapers. This also applies to music services like Rdio, Pandora, and Rhapsody. And it applies to video services like Netflix and Hulu+. We've reached out for comment from some of these companies to get their reaction.

The result is that services like the above will need to provide a method to subscribe inside the app as well as outside the app. And Apple wants their 30% cut when subscriptions are done inside the app. To ensure that publishers don't just pass the 30% extra onto the user, Apple has noted that the subscription prices inside the app be the same or lower than those offered outside the app.

If a service provides a subscription outside the app, and doesn't deliver the subscription in the app, they seem to be excluded from this requirement. The one key phrase from the Apple announcement is "Apple does require that if a publisher chooses to sell a digital subscription separately outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to customers who wish to subscribe from within the app." That does set the likes of Wired Magazine free to continue to only offer their magazine at an inflated per issue price. Wired offers their magazine at $3.99 per issue within the app while routinely offers the print edition at $10/year. But they don't offer a digital subscription anywhere else.

Popular Science+ Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Kyle Flanigan on December 7th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SMART DESIGN
Popular Science+ released an iPad edition of its popular print magazine earlier this year. With emphasis on a smart design and a few unique twists along the way, the developers have created an excellent reading experience. To top it all off, the content m
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Richard Branson Launches Project Magazine

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on December 1st, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

No one has ever accused media mogul Richard Branson of playing it safe, and today the multi-millionaire shook things up again by announcing the debut of Project, an iPad-exclusive magazine. While Project will publish a monthly "issue" it won't be a bunch of static content like subscribers would get with a traditional periodical. Instead, the app will morph and change over the course of the month, adding new content and incorporating content from readers and bloggers. For instance, the mag is currently hosting a Facebook contest which is inviting users to redesign the front cover. The entries will be available for download in issue three and the winner will get to design a crowdsourced cover early next year.

If the idea seems hard to wrap your head around, that's because it is, and even Branson had trouble figuring it all out at first. "When my daughter Holly, who is Special Projects Manager at Virgin Group, first told me that she had agreed to sponsor an iPad-only magazine idea from one of our young entrepreneurs, Giovanni Donaldson, I thought she was talking double Dutch!" he said. "It wasn't until Anthony, Gio and Holly showed me the amazing, innovative editorial and advertising in PROJECT that I ‘got’ how groundbreaking digital publishing can be. To be frank it blew me away."

The project is being overseen by former FHM editor-in-chief Anthony Noguera, who has big plans for the publication. "I must be the luckiest editor alive," Noguera said. "To be given the opportunity to create a magazine that is completely unique and innovative, to work with like-minded journalists, contributors and advertisers who are just as passionate and excited as I am about PROJECT has been inspiring. I am proud of PROJECT. Proud of what we have achieved and delighted to have played a small part in determining what will become the future of what we as readers expect from the magazines of tomorrow. Today, PROJECT has set the standard."

Project is available now for $2.99 an issue, so go ahead and take a peek if you're curious. What do you think? Is this the future of magazines, or is Richard Branson just throwing away a lot of money on a really crazy venture?

Times Eureka Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Kyle Flanigan on November 18th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HIGHLY INTEGRATED
The digital version of The Times' monthly science magazine is introduced to the iPad, where the two feel like they were made for each other.
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Sideways Is A Magazine Built For iPad

Posted by Chris Hall on October 11th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

It's hard not to envision a day when magazines are all made primarily for digital devices like the iPad. The form factor is right, digital gives all sorts of multimedia freedom, and I'm sure publishers are dying to cut down on production costs.

In what is surely the first of many, Sideways Magazine is a new start up that is designed and written specifically for the digital tablet. Unlike traditional print media, or even most of the stuff on the iPad, Sideways tells its stories with a blend of "video, audio, photos, text and even maps." For example, the current issue (October) features a map based story by Professor Dinty Moore, director of creative writing at Ohio University, about his run-ins with famed author George Plimpton. In the article, each location that you travel through in the map offers up a new tale in the story, turning a typical story article into more of an interactive experience.

The issue also includes:

* Special spy gear advertising section with deep links to retailers, enabling instant purchase of advertised items
* A look at which colleges have the best fictional alumni
* Interactive guide to chili peppers and hot sauces with do-it-yourself recipe
* Feature article on how social media improves writing
* Overview of tablets being released as rivals to the iPad
* Feature on best ways to watch video on the iPad

“We created Sideways to demonstrate the iPad’s multimedia capabilities and deliver features that are immersive and engaging in ways that traditional magazines are not,” said Jim Sweeney, editor-in-chief of Sideways. “We continue to evolve the publishing platform for mobile devices with the October issue.”

Each issue of Sideways is available, in part, for free in the App Store and can be fully unlocked via in app purchase. Check it out, I think you'll like it.

Popular Mechanics Interactive Edition Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Kyle Flanigan on July 25th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: SEAMLESS INTEGRATION
Popular Mechanics reveals the true power of the iPad with succinct design, seamless integration and smart content.
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Sports Illustrated for iPad Review

Posted by Zach Sims on July 11th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

When it was released in December, the tablet demo of Sports Illustrated (see below) set off a firestorm online. The new SI promised interactivity, live sports scores, and the great sports coverage readers have come to expect, all wrapped in a beautifully designed application. Since the video's introduction, the iPad has been released and dozens of magazine properties have taken their brands and content to the App Store. Few have succeeded in matching the design or functionality promised by SI's initial prototype. Now, with the official release of the Sports Illustrated app, the video has finally come to life.

Delivering on Old Promises
Fortunately, Sports Illustrated's app includes most of the features that were promised in the initial tablet demonstration. It far outperforms the official Time Magazine app, also published by Time Inc. One of the coolest features of the app is the "wheel," a feature that enables sharing, emailing, player stats, and related photos and articles to be accessed simply by holding a finger down on an article. This means, however, that there's no traditional copying and pasting available in the app. The share feature luckily makes up for this shortcoming,

[caption id="attachment_40908" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Live Scores and Articles"]

[/caption]Like Time Magazine's application, the Sports Illustrated app also integrates nicely with live content from SI's website to ensure that articles and issues are never out of date. Individual articles can pull up "related articles" or "related stats" from the aforementioned wheel. Better yet, users can get live stats and articles from SI.com directly within the app.

One of the Few Standouts
The Sports Illustrated app is an all star in the App Store. That said, it's not difficult with the lackluster efforts from the magazine industry thus far. The SI app has great navigation and doesn't bother with any of the more bizarre vertical and horizontal reading schemes. Instead, it sticks to the basics, presenting great content and adding interactivity and new features only where they're of use to the reader. The SI app should serve as a great example to publishers of what their magazines should be like when ported to the iPad.

Magazines on the iPad: A Round Up

Posted by Zach Sims on June 10th, 2010

The iPad has been heralded by many as the future of magazines and the savior of the publishing industry. Magazines like Newsweek are losing circulation and being purchased at fire sale prices. The iPad provides a blank canvas for publishers, content producers, and anyone who wants to innovate. The problem is that the opportunity has not yet been realized.

I remember being thrilled at the prospect of iPad magazines even before the device itself was announced. Sports Illustrated has showcased a great teaser video of their application, and Bonnier's Mag+ platform also appeared to have potential. The arrival of the iPad shows unrealized potential. Reading apps, like iBooks and Stanza, have shown great ability at translating the book reading experience for a tablet.

PDFs for iPad?
Many publishers have simply translated their magazines to the iPad by making them into PDFs of the print version. Some, like Wired, have added custom UI layers and slight multimedia additions to spruce up their publications. The vertical and horizontal reading interface present in magazines like Wired show that publishers are trying to think out of the box, but they haven't quite succeeded yet. Unfortunately, the current workflow may not work. A series by Ad Age this week shows that magazine publishers are taking the content from their print editions and dropping them into templates for the iPad. What would happen if magazines were custom designed for the iPad? If the content was specifically designed to take advantage of the iPad's features? I hope we'll be able to find out in the coming months.

A Roundup
I've reviewed six iPad magazine apps so far, each with their own set of pros and cons:

    Wired: An interesting first attempt that falls short due to download size, quirky navigation, and its underlying architecture.
    Time: Interesting effort tying live content (News Feed) with magazine content but this is essentially just a PDFed magazine.
    Newsweek: The iPad-only edition it includes makes boastful claims, but the app itself can't compete with the others listed here.
    GQ: The men's interest magazine's first iPad edition includes a bizarre navigation system but some useful innovations.
    Zinio for iPad: The popular and experienced magazine digitizers bring their platform to the iPad and make it one of the few viable options for those interested in magazines.
    Popular Science+: Like Wired's app, bizarre navigation makes Pop Sci difficult to enjoy on Bonnier's Mag+ platform.

So far, it appears that even lackluster efforts are producing success for publishers. There is clearly more potential for the medium and I'm sure content producers aren't resting. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Zinio for iPad Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Zach Sims on June 10th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: A MULTI-MAGAZINE SENSATION
Zinio, an old hand at digital magazines, gets it right on the iPad.
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Newsweek for iPad Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Zach Sims on June 10th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: NOT NEWSWORTHY
Newsweek makes an audacious claim with its iPad app but is unable to back it up.
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TIME Magazine Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Zach Sims on June 10th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TIME FOR A CHANGE
Time's iPad app includes an interesting and commendable integration of their website but it's not enough to make the app a winner.
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Popular Science+ Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Zach Sims on June 10th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SMART DESIGN
The Bonnier Mag+ platform is great on video and in theory but isn't great as an iPad application.
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WIRED Magazine Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Zach Sims on June 4th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: NOT QUITE WIRED FOR THE IPAD
WIRED's first take on iPad magazines is ambitious but ultimately falls short of its goal of redefining the magazine for the digital age.
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