Wired Magazine for iPad has been one of the most eagerly-awaited apps for the iPad, and it hit the App Store last week. I’ve been looking forward to Wired’s digital edition ever since we first started seeing sneak peeks of it, and I grabbed a copy of it as soon as I saw it hit the App Store.
So … after all the anticipation, I’ve spent nearly a week now browsing and reading this first iPad edition of Wired, and of course I’ve got some thoughts on it to share …
Judging a Magazine By Its Cover
Right from the cover page, Wired Magazine for iPad starts showing off some of its digital magazine tricks.
Pixar and Toy Story are featured on the cover as you can see in the screencap at the top of the post. You can click on the Play button right on the cover page to play an exclusive trailer clip from Toy Story 3. Links to featured articles on the cover are tapable to jump straight to those pages.
That’s a good start, and also a good indicator of how things are throughout the app – lots of multimedia elements and tapable areas on pages.
Getting around in Wired is easy. Reading and moving through sections is done in the way that seems to be a semi-standard already for iPad magazine apps – you scroll down to move through an individual article (if it spreads to more than one screen) and scroll left and right to move to previous and next articles / pages.
Another standard used is a single tap anywhere on a page to bring up controls. The controls are:
— A slim slider strip at the bottom of the page to move rapidly back or forward, left and right arrows on the bottom bar to move a single page at a time. As you press and move the slider it shows thumbnails of page contents.
— Another slim bar at the top of the page containing: a Home button which takes you back to the front cover, a Contents button to see a standard contents listing along the left-hand edge of the page, and a second contents button that shows a more cover-flow style listing of contents. A single tap on a desired item in either listing takes you over to that page.
If you’ve ever read Wired Magazine in print or visited their Wired.com site, then you already know that they provide tons of great science and technology content. So no surprises here – the content is great.
Here are just a few examples from this first iPad issue – starting with a piece on the salvage of an old Riverboat …
There’s a useful article on a workout program to get you ready to survive zombie invasions …
And of course an article that talks about the iPad and the ‘tablet revolution’ …
Interactive and Multimedia Elements
There are plenty of these throughout the magazine, on the majority of pages.
They range from being able to play several different audio clips on a page with just quick taps …
To a page with some big-screen TV reviews where you can tap on each TV’s picture to see its review …
The same again for an article on bluetooth headsets …
In an article about building a Lego Lamborghini police car, you can tap to see the various stages of building it …
An article on the accumulation of ‘space junk’ you can swipe to see the proliferation of space debris from 1960 to 2010 …
And a great article on 35 years of Industrial Lights & Magic features a rotating 360 degree view of Iron Man and an awesome compilation video clip of some of the amazing effects they’ve created for movies like Star Wars, Jurassic Park and many others over the years …
Look and Feel
Once again, this is largely what you’d expect if you know the magazine. There’s a lot of design, a lot of nice typography, and some pretty busy pages.
Pages look good in both portrait and landscape mode. One thing I’ve seen noted by others round the web, and that I would agree with, is that it can at times (though rarely) be hard to tell an ad page from a content page.
And there are a lot of ads, just in case you were wondering. A whole lot of ads. Having said that, I don’t find that a terrible thing (even with it being a paid app). The ads are mostly quite well done and nice to look at – and ads are a big part of print magazines as well.
I actually like that some of the ads have included multimedia elements, and offer things like pinch to zoom and clickable links.
There’s even an ad for an iPad app …
Missing Bits & Things Needing Improvement
There are definitely some places where this feels like the 1.0 version that it is. Some things that are missing or could do with improvement in future issues include:
— Articles don’t show any clear visual indicator when they extend over more than one screen – there’s no prompt to scroll to read more.
— It’s big. Over 500MB to download.
— There are no sharing options at all in the app. You can’t share an article with anyone via email or social networking apps.
— There’s no way to bookmark or favorite a page.
— You can’t comment on articles – and there are no easy ways to respond to article authors.
— I saw at least one article that was covering a website, but failed to offer a link to it – comon Wired, if the ads can contain links …
— It could do with having a search function – and better still a search function that covers current issue plus archived issues on the iPad as future issues are published.
— You can’t select text, so you can’t copy and paste anything.
Some of these items sound like they are already in the editors’ plans for future updates and issues.
Pricing and Lack of Subscription Model
Wired Magazine for iPad is expensive. It is currently priced at $4.99 per issue. It’s hard to justify this. The first issue sold a massive number of copies in its first day (24,000 in 24 hours), but I can’t see it sustaining anything like that pace if the price stays at its current rate per issue.
There is a very good Letter from the Editor in this issue. Here’s a line that promises improvement on some of the missing elements and hopefully some better pricing and subscription options:
Over the next few months we’ll integrate social media and offer a variety of versions and ways to subscribe in digital form
Wired Magazine for iPad is very impressive. Its the best digital magazine I’ve seen so far. It’s a great read and fun to browse through – and also a great app to show off to friends to see the iPad’s capabilities.
It needs some subscription or in-app purchase options and keener pricing though. As it is now, I could see myself buying the next issue, because I have enjoyed the first one so much – but I won’t go on paying $5 per issue for much beyond that.
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Wired Magazine for iPad costs $4.99 for this first issue.
*** This app was independently purchased by the post author in the iPad App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the "About" page.