Magazines Technology

New York Magazine for iPad

Just the other week I was saying how much I’ve been enjoying various aspects of New York Magazine this year, and now we get the release of the official iPad edition. This would normally make me very happy, except for the fact that what we got is almost unforgiveable.

Let’s start with the good though. Interestingly enough, the app has launched with an in-app store that offers quite a few issues for sale already, going back to the June 14 issue (New York Magazine is published weekly). The app also offers you a free issue to try out, although strangely enough it’s hidden in the middle of the entire run they have for sale.

So what’s wrong? First of all, the app isn’t much more than a glorified PDF reader, albeit a slick one. Everything does look quite good, and they have nice light grey tabs on the side (pictured above) that indicate where to touch to flip pages (something I much prefer over swiping). And everything looks great and high-res, but at a cost — an entire issue is 100+ MB, and even after I had it downloaded, it would often take a second or more to load a page.

But worst of all, they’re actually charging $5 per issue, which is just unbelievable. Even Newsweek charged less for its PDF-like offering, and at least they have it so that you can read the pages without zooming in — every page here needs to be zoomed in and moved around to read, which is not a great reading experience.

The app does include a few extras, like a nifty interface to the magazine’s various blogs (above), although touching a link simply brings up the web page in-app.

I did experience a few issues beyond slow loading pages as well, including a few crashes while maneuvering through the app, a “contents” tab that just wouldn’t load any content (it did eventually, a few tries later), and a mysteriously disappearing cover page for the free issue I downloaded (above).

This is not at all what I want when it comes to iPad editions of magazines — both in terms of format and pricing — and I do hope that they will re-examine things and start offering a better reading experience (i.e. something that is formatted for iPad) in the near future.

Magazines Technology

Newsweek for iPad Isn’t Much More Than a PDF

Remember how I was all excited the other day about the news that the iPad edition of Newsweek was now offering in-app subscriptions at very attractive prices? I mentioned I’d give an issue a try (which I bought at the regular price of $3), and it’s definitely something I regret doing.

Newsweek for iPad isn’t much more than a glorified PDF reader, so don’t expect anything more than what you get with Zinio editions of magazines, and maybe even less so. Sure, the pages are all formatted so that everything is readable without having to zoom in (which is the only interaction you are allowed), but that’s it.

I even found plenty of horrible low-res images (pictured above), and I can’t stand that any page that features full-bleed photos have a thin white frame around them.

The one thing the Newsweek app does have going for it is that it offers a section with breaking news — an NYT-esque formatting of news that appears on its website — and there’s a page full of photo galleries. But as far as the magazine itself, I expect more from an iPad edition.

Magazines Technology

Newsweek for iPad Introduces Subscriptions

It’s about time! Newsweek has just updated its iPad app to introduce subscriptions, which means that we’re finally seeing some interesting pricing on iPad magazines. Newsweek was already offering cheaper prices than the competition at $3 per issue (the Time Inc. weeklies are all $5 an issue), but with the two new available subscription options things are getting VERY cheap. Right now you can get a 12-week subscription for $10, so 80 cents an issue, or a 24-week subscription for $15, at about 60 cents an issue.

The only thing for me is that I’d much rather read Time at this price, but I’ll probably buy at least one issue of Newsweek to sample it. I do hope that subscription options start popping up more though — over to you Condé Nast and Time Inc.