The iPad edition of Wired Magazine is available in the iTunes Store for free (you buy monthly issues for $4.99) and is packed with interactive video and audio enhanced content, ads, exclusive features and did we mention ads? What you get for the iPad version of the Wired mag is basically extra content like the videos, animated sideshows, audio commentary, live articles and links to websites in addition to the paper version, and you save a few tree in the process. Each month you can pay $4.99 via in-app purchases for a new issue of Wired on the iPad. In May of 2011, WIRED released a free issue for download sponsored by Adobe and Conde Nast.
At first look the app is smooth to load and the graphics in the magazine are brilliantly sharp and easy to navigate around. You can get around using either a vertical thumbnail view navigation pane on the left or a horizontal section preview menu on the bottom which slide open with simple tap to open menu buttons. The horizontal navigation lets you see each section of the magazine from a zoomed out bird’s eye view and helps to distinguish ads from multi-page articles and single page content easily. You can also just swipe left, right, up, down to go through the magazine page by page. Up and down swipes take you through multi-page articles, while left and right swipes paginate through the different pages.
There is a ton of interactivity in the Wired iPad app. Indicated by circles, most of the time with either a play button or numbered items, you can watch related videos, listen to audio commentary, view larger detailed images, and even step through a storyboard of supporting explanations in articles. Before you figure this out you’ll find yourself just tapping on everything trying to find all the “hotspots” in the app. You can view and read in both portrait and landscape modes and Wired gracefully adjusts all the content to fill the iPad screen perfectly. Wired opens up in the page you left off when your close and re-open the app.
So why buy an app when you can just as easily browse the web version of the Wired Magazine for free? In short, a better experience. Why should you not just subscribe to the print version of Wired for $10/year? Reading a paper printout of Wired is vastly different from experiencing it on the iPad. Imagine reading about a great DJ, but now you can hear an excerpt from his live show. In addition to reading about how a movie was made, you can now view behind the scenes production videos and flip through a walk-through that illustrate how the scene was created. There’s even an interactive 360 degree model of the Iron Man 2 body suits. On the other hand, you can’t bend and fold the iPad like you can with a real magazine. The iPad is heavy and can get tiresome after a few minutes of browsing unless you’re using an iPad stand or resting it down. It would be valuable if in future releases, the page flipping animations from the iBooks app was adopted by the Wired app, and maybe even having an option for hearing the page turn would be nice for adding a pinch of reality. Other suggestions for future releases would be adding a “live” breaking news section, which makes sense given that the iPad is almost always connected to an internet connection. Maybe even a chat room where Wired readers could communicate with each other and discuss various topics.
The only other minor complaint we have with this app is the abundance of ads. With its 5 dollar price tag, some users could be annoyed although there are people who actually like advertisements. What’s great about the ads is that some have videos and some can also have links to websites. In future versions of the iPad Wired app, inline web browsing is to be implemented, but as of now links close out and take you to Safari which is not a good user experience.
For what you get, the WIRED iPad app is a great buy and is nothing short of groundbreaking. A job well done by the folks and WIRED Conde Nast.
Side note: Adobe worked with Conde Nast and Wired Magazine to rebuild their iPad app using the native Objective-C language legislated by Apple after their Flash generated version of the app was denied initially.
: The WIRED app is now Free and gives you free previews and you can buy upcoming months with in-app purchases for $3.99 per issue.
Here is a video demo of the WIRED Magazine app on the iPad
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