Most Innovative U.S. Magazine Apps of 2010

Dec 30, 2010
Tech

Since the iPad’s introduction in April, almost 1,000 apps have been introduced for magazines and national newspapers, of which only about a third have originated within the US. Through our iMonitor™ service, we have subjected each one to rigorous evaluation. Here – in chronological order – are our picks for the year’s most innovative magazine […]

Since the iPad’s introduction in April, almost 1,000 apps have been introduced for magazines and national newspapers, of which only about a third have originated within the US. Through our iMonitor™ service, we have subjected each one to rigorous evaluation. Here – in chronological order – are our picks for the year’s most innovative magazine apps targeting the US market. These apps introduced significant features and functionality that we had not seen prior to their introduction. As a caveat, we feel compelled to point out that the most innovative and ambitious apps are not always the most highly functioning. Stay-tuned for our list of Best Apps of 2010, which will be released in January!

EW’s Must List (4/12; Time Inc./Tringapps) It was not only the first “companion” app, but also pioneered the use of links to featured music and movies, as well as transactional capabilities (iTunes, Amazon), and the ability to drag and drop selected items to a “Favorites List”. We especially like the ability to easily preview and purchase the books, music and DVDs the app recommends.

Wired (5/26; Condé Nast/Adobe) The much-anticipated Wired app raised the bar for interactivity, making extensive use of it throughout the magazine. Among its other innovations were the use of animation on the cover, links to articles from coverlines and a pop-over table of contents.

Net-a-Porter (7/21; Net-a-Porter) Clearly a magazine and not a catalogue – or is it? Everything is, discretely, for sale. Net-a-Porter exists only in digital versions and represents a unique business model for publishers. Its “See It, Buy It” functionality is a wonderful enhancement for consumers – though it can easily prove expensive!

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Esquire (10/8; Hearst/ScrollMotion) While other apps used celebrity videos to introduce their app or explain its navigation, Hearst brought the celebrity video to the cover with the help of Javier Bardem. The app also features a multimedia section which makes its most striking features easy to find.

Marie Claire A to Z (10/15; Hearst; iCrossing) This is a unique companion app, in which the reader is introduced to a large photo-montage in which hundreds of images are arrayed. She can navigate in any direction and tap to get a closer look, with accompanying details, for any one. Alternatively, images can be organized by trend – often illustrated by accompanying video of models walking down the runways.

Project (11/30; Virgin Media/WoodWing) The most recent of our innovators, Virgin Media’s Project is the best example yet of how iPad versions of magazines can transcend the limitations of the printed page. It breaks new ground in terms of interactivity and in the seamless – and extensive – integration of video content.

Special mention is also due to People, which was the first magazine to offer their app free to print-subscribers, and Newsweek, which was the first to crack the code and offer subscriptions through the App Store. Kudos to all!

Related: Best iPad apps of 2010

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Rebecca McPheters is President of McPheters & Company. The company’s iMonitor™ provides global tracking and detailed evaluation of media-related tablet apps. To date, they have evaluated almost 1,000 apps from more than 40 countries. She can be reached at [email protected]

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Rebecca McPheters

Rebecca McPheters founded McPheters & Company in 1997.  In early 2010, McPheters & Company launched iMonitor™, which provides detailed tracking and rigorous evaluation of more than 1000 media-related apps.  Before starting McPheters & Company, she was President of Simmons Market Research Bureau and Senior Vice President/Group Executive for The New York Times Company Women’s Magazine Group where she ran a number of their consumer magazines. While at The New York Times Company, she initiated and implemented The Family Circle Studies of Print Advertising Effectiveness, which are still among the definitive studies of print advertising effectiveness.  In the years since, she has expanded upon her work advertising effectiveness measurement in studies conducted under the auspices of the MPA and, most recently, with Condé Nast and CBS.

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