Time Inc. has finally begun offering subscriptions on their stable of iPad magazines this week. They had previously been holding out and objecting to Apple’s policies, apparently in particular to the level of subscriber info shared with them by default.
Three of the big Time Inc iPad titles that are showed off in the Featured area of the iPad App Store this week are TIME, People, and Sports Illustrated.
Sports Illustrated was one of my favorite magazines for years when I was growing up. I had a subscription and always looked forward to grabbing it out of my mailbox on my way home from school on Thursday afternoons. I still enjoy Sports Illustrated’s sports coverage and their excellent writers – so I thought this week was a great time to take another look at the Sports Illustrated iPad edition.
And boy is that a big disappointment.
Here’s the first very bad omen I saw when looking at last week’s issue. Despite the fact that I bought the issue and waited on its relatively slow download process, when I opened it and tapped on the cover story I was faced with another downloading screen – the one shown above.
And it just got worse from there. The pages of Sports Illustrated on the iPad are almost entirely static. You can’t pinch to zoom text or make any adjustment to the text size. You also can’t pinch to zoom on images.
There is very little multimedia content and the few elements of this kind that are present are not slickly done – for instance, videos don’t run on page smoothly but pull up a separate player. There are very few interactive elements and those I did encounter were again presented in an unappealing and unexciting way.
The magazine is not updated for the retina display so the text looks far from great on a new iPad and I imagine it’s not overly sharp on any iPad. More than anything, Sports Illustrated on the iPad still feels like it was thrown together quickly with near zero thought for how to tailor it to the iPad. It feels very much like a glorified PDF version of the magazine.
Print subscribers get an iPad edition subscription for free. If you’re not a print subscriber (which I’m not anymore) you can get a monthly subscription for $3.99/month or an annual subscription for $38.99. That’s way overpriced for this iPad edition that’s more of a non-iPad edition.
It’s a shame to see that this premier sports magazine title is such a non-contender on the iPad.