PROJECT iPad app experiments with the future of magazines

Dec 9, 2010
Tech

Print magazines might become an endangered species soon. Several publishers now use the iPad as a lab for experimental digital versions of their magazines. The latest, called PROJECT, comes from Virgin, known for music stores and an airline, which just launched its premiere issue at the end of November. It’s impressive. Download the PROJECT application […]

Print magazines might become an endangered species soon. Several publishers now use the iPad as a lab for experimental digital versions of their magazines. The latest, called PROJECT, comes from Virgin, known for music stores and an airline, which just launched its premiere issue at the end of November. It’s impressive.

Download the PROJECT application free from iTunes’ app store. But, you’ll need to purchase each issue separately from inside it. The first issue costs $2.99, and comes in U.K., U.S. and Canadian flavors.

The cover immediately identifies PROJECT as something new. For a second, it looks like a traditional magazine cover, featuring Jeff Bridges with big type listing the articles. But, almost immediately, Jeff starts moving. Then, the whole screens flashes and snaps like it’s alive. That’s just the beginning.

PROJECT delivers a slick look and feel. You can flick pages, and jump directly to articles with a visual map along the bottom. Tap on in-page video. Touch buttons to bring up additional content. Rub images to see text beneath. And, much more.

But, no digital magazine will thrive on special effects alone. Fortunately, Virgin hired good writers in addition to killer app designers. The articles cover Jeff Bridges’ career, tips on avoiding career suicide, cool new graphic novel releases, great new iPad apps and accessories and a ton of other content. Many magazines focus on a particular audience. narrowly on a topic – think Cat Fancy – but PROJECT is all over the place. Its one downfall might become its identity. Just who is the target audience?

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For now, you get a lot for $2.99. Download it, and peruse the future of magazines.

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Ian Black

 

Ian Black is beginning to think his phone is smarter than he is. He's keeping a close eye on it in case it tries anything funny.

 

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