Review: Wired Magazine for iPad Issue 1

Hi there, I just wanted to tell everyone that I got the first issue of Wired for the iPad and wanted to share my thoughts

The Bad

Wired for iPad is a bit more clunky than hyped for sure. As noted, understanding what is a button, clickable, or otherwise can be interacted with is difficult. I like the round numbered buttons, but there are diagrams and topic pictures throughout the issue which seem like you should be able to at least touch to highlight. (The space shuttle article for example)

The other part was the layout. The whitespace, lack of transparent controls, or on screen map/location identifier is a bit of a pain. You can touch the screen and then get some of that control, but it takes a large part of the screen, and isn’t user customizable so far as I could tell. Which is where a handy mini map or transparent control scheme would come in handy.

The Ugly

There are 3 more things too, but they seem pretty simple to fix to me.

The price: 4.99, seriously? A dead tree subscription costs 16.99 or so a YEAR, is bad for the environment (increases carbon footprint in many ways), has no DRM (can be scanned and distributed), and overall, has got to cost a ton more than even publishing on the website. So the price for the iPad version needs to be rectified.

The size: this thing weighs in at about 500ish MB. Even if you put this in a library format, you can’t keep too many of them on your iPad, much less on your computer. The size alone is not very sustainable.

The details: several details about future versions are still forthcoming and so we are in the dark today but if the New York Times or WSJ subscription pricing is *any* indicator of what we’re in for, I probably won’t be getting a Wired subscription. Which would suck.

The Good

As a rendition of a magazine, Wired is very good. It feels like the dead tree version but with added media. I truly like the overall format of scrolling sideways through stories and then down the “page.” it’s unique, useful, and fairly intuitive for an experienced techie. I do like the navigation controls, once I figured out that’s what they were. The embedded media is very well done and encoded with very unique interfaces as well.

Last Thoughts

Movies and menu media play and display quite nicely and typically fit the flow of the magazine itself with the exception of the videos, I almost think they should play in-place but have the option of going fullscreen. Likewise with the animations as well. The mars and Iron Man animations are super cool and not like anything I’ve seen before, but the mars one has a slider which disappears and doesn’t come back until you switch pages. It also is a bit funky in it’s display, more for the gee whiz factor than the data displayed since it seems to just take off if you just give it a flick, but if you scroll it, constantly and slowly, you get to control the rotation of the display and read the information listed. If the slider had moved with my finger, I’d have understood that better off the bat.

Lastly, if the Wired folks could fix the Ugly bits, that would help a lot. Fixing the clunky controls and menu capabilities would be really great. Also, adding a true Library type function would make this magazine a huge winner. Good Luck Wired!

I’ll give this one 3 stars, out of 5.


2 responses to “Review: Wired Magazine for iPad Issue 1

  1. So is there no indication yet of how/if subscriptions are implemented – did the $5 app include the magazine, or was it like a free download within the app? Can you delete and redownload issues within the app?

    I like the idea of getting this digitally, particularly if I’m able to archive them digitally instead of cluttering up the apartment. But when you consider that it’s about 83 cents an issue with a subscription… I’ll stick to print, thanks.

    • So this is equivalent to 5$ an issue. And the app itself has no concept of library or archiving. It is merely an e-version of the same mag and no micro transactions, or anything. There are also a lot of ads, which is fine, but there are as many as in the magazine and the scroll up/down features reduce the page count, so there is also less space between ads, unlike you might find in a print version since that type is purely linear with no choice but to have space in between ads. One aspect of the multi-dimensional format (several articles scroll down, changing articles/pages swipes right or left), is that you get to spend more linear time within one article versus the cutoff paragraph to turn pages, etc. But again, it’s not so much the format as the other problems.

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