Tuesday, June 8, 2010

iPad blogs day two: magazines

Today I would like to talk about my habit.

It's not pretty. And it's hard to admit. But, Lord help me, I am a magazine junkie: I read hundreds of magazines a month - instead of buying formula for my babies!

OK, I have no babies, but I pretended I did for drama - did it work?

It started as a subscription to Rolling Stone when I was a lad, and it expanded into a love of British music mags Q and Uncut, then went completely bonkers: Vanity Fair, Esquire, New Yorker, NY Times Magazine, the Economist, Time, Newsweek (recommended by my first RRC instructor, Garry Moir!), NME, Details (short-lived; thanka Anka), Spin, Blender, and any number of design and video game pubs.

Hey, beats heroin. Am I right, people?

I love mags so much, I started dealing at WHERE Winnipeg and Twin Cities mags (in my handwriting, it looks remarkably like "Whore" - different magazine!), and even wrote for Games Informer under another name, since reviews mostly consisted of saying things like, "This is rad, dude!"

We also have a famous magazine project in CreComm, where we put students in groups and they produce a magazine in one semester. Legend has it that we instructors put students in groups designed to make them NOT get along, but I can hereby dispel that myth: we're not that smart!

So, there are lots of reasons why reading and publishing mags on the iPad is an appealing idea: applications for school, work, and just plain pleasure.

The cool thing is that there is no one way to read and buy magazines on the iPad: it's still the wild west out there! As a result, there is a variety of ways to enjoy a variety of mags, though Variety isn't one of em.


This is the Cadillac of iPad magazine experiences.

Available for $4.99, each month's mag is a separate app - and each is so big, you can't use Rogers 3G to download: nope, it's Starbucks Wi-Fi for you or nuthin', kiddo.

But here's the thing: WIRED has made something that's truly interactive, including the ads.

So, if you go to the article about Mars, you touch the screen and the planets fly around - at least that's what I think they are; I was so bedazzled by the animation.

The ads don't have quite the excitement, but there are a number - like Fidelity Investments - that allow you to click on things to make other stuff pop up. Hope I'm not getting too technical here. Ha!

I can't wait to see how these mags evolve: so far, so great.

Here goes with the video. Gulp.

2. Zinio:

This is a cool app that allows you to shop for, buy, and download a load of different magazines, from Esquire and National Geographic to the Economist and Smithsonian.

There's nothing here as exciting as WIRED, but it's a smooth app that has the jump on being the iPad's go-to destination for magazine shopping.

The app is free and comes prepackaged with five free magazines, but you've gotta pay for the rest. They range in price, but most offer year-long subscriptions.

I downloaded National Geographic, and I'm completely satisfied with the interface and photo quality: but - as I say - it's no WIRED.

3. CS and the whole slate of Blue Toad magazines:

I have no insider info here, but it seems that developer Blue Toad has created a magazine template for a suite of style magazines, including CS (Chicago Style).

If so, it's a great approach: design an app, and sell it to individual magazines - make your money back on volume. This is how we could quite possibly offer our students' mags in app form and actually afford it.

Again: very smooth app, and pristine picture quality - that Victoria's Secret ad in the May issue really - uh - pops. Let's move on!

I had to look for these magazines - there appears to be no online promo going on whatsoever. As well, there's no interactivity within the mag itself, other than Web links.

The price? Free! Like, totally.

4. Entertainment Weekly's Must List:

I like this approach a lot: EW gives you a free app featuring one part of its magazine, and - if you want more, you can buy the magazine, Chester.

EW's Must List is the mag's recommendations for what to do this week in the world of entertainment - books, movies, TV, DVD, downloads, video games - kinda like Letterman giving you his Top Ten list, but making you pay to see Brad Pitt.

Where is that app, by the way?

As well, you can create your own Must List out of EW's recommendations.

I love this app's interactivity - links to video and Amazon - and content approach: a free appetizer before the meal!

5. Time and Newsweek (separate apps):

Poor Time and Newsweek, struggling for weekly relevance in a minute-by-minute world.

You can download them for free, but when you open them up, ya gotta pay. TIme gives you a nice, free newsfeed but charges $4.99 per issue; Newsweek gives you the Politics of Obama for free, and charges $2.99 per issue.

Both of these apps are nice enough - they look good and the interface makes sense - but remind me: why do I need this content?

6. Vanity Fair:

Not available in Canada?! I hereby appeal to Graydon Carter to throw his countrymen a bone. And I don't care if that sounded dirty - I'm down to 20 per cent battery power on my iPad.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I loved seeing the iPad demos for magazines. Especially Wired.

    Although it's a little disappointing to see that they don't offer a subscription service. I think you're paying a little too much for it at $4.99 per cover.

    Still a great service though, and I'm interested to see how 'interactive' future magazine advertisements will be in the future. Especially now that iAd is released.

  2. Ms. Radakovich was the only reason to read Details.

  3. Hey, Allan - you got the reference!

    She was great in Details. Her book was excellent as well.


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