Tuesday, February 1, 2011

iPad and magazine apps

I have now tried the Elle magazine, the Martha Stewart Living and the Vogue UK apps for the iPad device. Out of these 3 apps, the only one I recommend is the Elle Magazine app. I will briefly describe each one and basically explain why they are great but still disappointing.

The Martha Stewart app is a one-off issue like a special-edition for a holiday or wedding. The app version of the magazine is specially designed for the iPad. This means this issue can only be bought through the device. You cannot buy it from the newstands. Basically, being an Ipad issue means the images are amazingly crisp and the features are interactive. This makes for a great experience. However, once you finish reading it, there is little use for the app. You can use the recipes and enjoy the ideas but you would have to open this app each and every time. With multi-tasking functionality now, it is not a big deal but just annoying. Plus you have to keep the app on your iPad forever or until you never want to read it again. I have not tried to delete it before but i am wary that you will delete the purchase. I know you can upload your purchases to iTunes but I have not tested this feature yet. I'm a little too scared to try.

The Vogue UK app is not a special edition created for the iPad. It is their actual December 2010 issue with Emma Watson on the cover with extras and interactivity added for the iPad. This included behind the scenes video of the cover and feature shoot with Emma Watson. It has a nice little interview with her. There is also a video on the beauty shoot with the makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. This is great because she has a website that she posts makeup application instructions on and she is very good at those kinds of videos. Also the price is a bonus because it charged £4.99 which just under $8CAD. This is much cheaper than buying a copy at Chapters Indigo where it usually costs over $10 and about 4-6 weeks late. It is now even cheaper because the December 2010 issue is a back-issue. That is a problem because it is the ONLY issue available. They have not made any effort to put up other issues. I don't know if this is a money, staffing or lack of interest problem. Or it is all of the above. I try to check up on the Vogue UK site and frequently checking the App Store but it looks like it will just be that one issue for now.

The last magazine app is Elle US magazine. It is amazing. The first issue is from October 2010. There is many features and functionality added to the monthly magazine. First things are the corners of the page. There is the contents in the top left corner. In other top corner, you can find any special features. The bottom left corner is an inspiration board that looks like a corkboard. Anything you see in the magazine can be dragged onto this "board." The bottom right feature is my favorite. It is one-tap access to the website, facebook, twitter and email of whatever you are looking at. For example, I saw a photo of Prada flats for Summer 2011 and I wanted to email it to a friend. Since it seamlessly linked to my email app on the iPad, it was so easy. Other features include tapping on the items in the market pages to get a bigger and close-up view. Often there is a 'tap to buy' symbol leading you to an online retailer to buy should you want to. I never have but its a nice feature for those people who can afford to do that kind of thing. There are lots of videos and bonus photos as well. The greatest thing about the Elle US app is that it is free. Each month's issue is sponsored by a company like Lacoste or Armani or Burberry. I think it is effective because the ads are designed to look like the ads of the magazine (often they are the same ads) but with videos adverts included too. Also each month is consistently loaded with features so its not like they stopped trying after the first shot. Not surprisingly, I think their website is the best fashion magazine site out there. I was never a Elle magazine reader but I've grown to like the magazine. I would even consider paying for the iPad version if the price is lower than the print version.

What sets Elle apart from Oprah's O Magazine or Wired magazine app is that those magazines cost as much if not more than the paper version. I don't think that is a model that will work in the long run. Mainly my past O magazine one-year subscription cost less than $10 but one issue on the iPad is $4.99. Same with Wired. I rather have the less cool paper copy than pay 4x more for the iPad version.

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