Quick Look: Wired for iPadApril 18, 2011 by: lillie
I love reading Wired. It’s one of the few magazines I’ll read cover-to-cover, if not for the articles, then for the imaginative layouts. So when I read a little earlier today that the May issue (19.05) on Internet Humor was being released as a free download (normally $3.99), I fired up the App Store to give it a read.
Unfortunately, the results, as others have reported, have been mixed. Present still is the utterly awesome level of presentation, and it’s interesting to have so many ways to read the magazine: I can flip through it like an eBook, bring up a table of contents à la iBooks, or see the whole issue in a timeline view that scrolls both vertically and horizontally.
Many of the pages are also well worth exploring by tapping around. Some have animations that play, others have full-screen videos (more on this soon), and some have hyperlinks that load up an in-app browser. This is definitely an example of what Magazine 2.0 could be, but it still feels a little awkward.
For all the extra Wows! that the digital multimedia presentation affords the Wired experience, there is also one major drawback: all the damn crashing. I’ve only had the issue for a few hours, and it has already cr
ashed about five times. Sometimes it explodes because I turn a page, and other times it will just die because a video started playing.
Oh, and speaking of those videos: must they really be so in-your-face? The May 2011 issue starts off with a video of Andy Samberg goofing around on-screen with a kitten. It’s funny, but it also plays every single time I load the app up from scratch (i.e. it won’t auto-play if Wired is still loaded in RAM), and it isn’t the only video that does so. There are other apps that just play and come seemingly out of nowhere, and it’s a lot like having a jack-in-the-box hidden between pages five and six. It’s not scary, per se, but it is a little weird. I would really prefer a standard little window that indicates that there’s a video and a Play button to let me view it.
So would I pick up another issue of Wired for $3.99 a pop or $48 a year? It’s still a little early to tell, but it doesn’t seem likely. The issues aren’t all that expensive for the quality of the content, but it’s very pricey compared to the frequent deals on annual subscriptions for the print version of the magazine (I forget the exact price, but I believe it can cost around $12-20 for 12 issues).
I also find the whole experience a little too intrusive for my tastes. Sometimes I just want to sit down and read something without objects shifting and sliding around the screen or videos suddenly playing, and ironically enough, this iPad magazine may just get me too wired to really enjoy the experience.