Review

iMags

I have always been skeptical with the iPad. Being a PC lover (yeah, so shoot me!) I was always against any Apple products. Two years ago, after playing with my friend’s iPhone, I was converted from my shitty old Nokia to an iPhone 3G, only to discover a few months later the 3GS to come out, then a year later – iPhone 4. I’m still sticking with my current iPhone until it dies. I’m sure to regret it later.

When the iPad came out, I was excited. Not fanatic excited, but with any new gadget, I was keen to check it out. After a few weeks of the hype dying down, I dropped in to my local electrical store and mucked around on the display unit.

I wasn’t impressed. Maybe it was the fact that it wasn’t connected to the internet. The iPad wasn’t a laptop replacement. It was purely iTunes and application heavy based.

It wasn’t until I won one during a lucky door prize (just a basic Wi-Fi only 16GB model), I only used it to watch video and surf the internet while I was in bed, trying to dream of electric sheep. After the flavour of the month went by, I started to invest in a few applications, such as … err.. Angry Birds. But after my gaming phase, I wanted more news and information. For free, BBC News and ABC applications were terrific sources for clean news and video / tv footage. Every time I woke up in the morning, I’d check out those apps, as well as checking regular news websites as a daily chore, just like reading the daily newspaper during breakfast.

But I wanted more. I downloaded the New York Times, Wall Street Journal apps, but they charge a ‘reasonable’ subscription for access to all their content. Fair enough – but I’m a new reader, I only want one or two sections, not all. SMH has a decent app, but upon downloading the trial, I discover they only send out pdf versions.

I seeked interactivity. Not just staring at a screen when I can visit their .com site, I wanted touch screen activity, such as video, audio.

Then I discovered. Wired – iPad edition.

I have occasionally read the physical paper version while shifting through Borders magazine stand, so for $4.99, I couldn’t go wrong. I coughed up the coin, and to my surprise (and 500MB later), I had a fresh copy on my iPad.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Wired seem to have been the first publishing magazine to adapt to iPads versatility. Already about 4 digital issues in when I bought my first issue (Joel McHale on the front on landscape / Web Is Dead as portrait), the front cover was interactive with their video footage. There was a button to activate it, and with the sub text headers being hyperlinks when touched, I had an awesome magazine in my hands. Animations you could move back and forth, some Opinion sections which had audio files to listen to the rants instead of reading made skimming through the magazine so easily. There were even advertisements that were interactive (which is a bonus to display a moving object). The future was here, and in my hands. But only 1/4 of the issue was interactive. I was still satisifed – maybe I was being picky and wanted more, More, MORE!

That’s when I read that Virgin billionaire Richard Branson made the announcement that he had released a new digital only magazine – Project. The app is free to download, but you need to purchase the magazine to get anything out of it. So I sacrificed $3.99 for the US Issue One edition (there’s 3 available – Canadian, US and UK editions), and waited for the roughly 500MB file to download. After a good 20 minutes, it was ready. Once booted up, I’m instantly greeted to a flashy front cover which looked like something out of Bladerunner.

The same linkage was available, and going through content, Project seemed that there was 1/4 more interactive content than Wired had given, which would make it about 1/2 the content being more video. On the third page (second in, scroll down), there was a blank chart called “Projected” whcih explains the highs & lows of the month so far. The next day, I checked back, and it had automatically updated. Impressive.

With more shortcuts and links to the Project forum which is fully accessible through the magazine, the layout appears to have mimicked Wired‘s style, but tweaked tighter and have a more even flow in reading and presentation. There was one article based on beer TV commercials, including the actual full advertisements to view and read the article with. It seems that Project includes more copyrighted video for presentations than Wired, possibly as Virgin may have more accessibility to it. Maybe – it’s still early days.

While reading both magazines on a train ride, it’s fully comforting that I had both issues in my hand, compressed into one electrical device, instead of lugging around two paper magazines that would cost about $13 each to purchase at the newsstand. Plus, if I want to save storage, I can instantly delete the issue and can re-download for free if I need to revisit.

Wired and Project – you have me converted to reading my magazines on the iPad. Just keep up the interactive content and I’ll keep reading.

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Matt

Owner and Operator of Wireless Fodder.
Lover of Australian pop culture, comedy, and obscurities. Works in Australian media, enjoys a beer or three. Happily married to an American.

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