Wired on the iPad, My Experience

As you may know, the June 2010 issue of Wired magazine is available as an iPad version. It will cost you $4.99 to try it out. I’ve been a subscriber and reader of Wired since its founding in the mid-90s, and continue to be a subscriber. I had already read the print version of the June issue before the release of the iPad version, so in reviewing the new product I primarily looked for added features. Here are my thoughts.

Right from the “cover” you are able to interact with the content by watching a commercial for the new Toy Story movie. That interactivity is scattered throughout the magazine in the form of sounds, animations, videos, etc. There is definitely added value in the iPad version for things that could be provided (in some cases) in the print but are limited by size of the print publication. For example, in the images below you have the Japanese and English translation for a comic strip but in the print version you only had the Japanese.

Access to these two versions were made available simply by selecting the strip and it would toggle between the two. Other examples of interactivity came from animations built to illustrate a story. For example, the history of Mars exploration or building of a lego car or designing a pop-up book.

Finally, and probably one of my favorite elements, is the embedding of music. I enjoy reading about new music or artists being highlighted in Wired. Usually I’ll look them up on MySpace or MOG but with this version of Wired I can hear the tracks right within the reading experience. Further, in the story on Trent Reznor we could experience the building of a track from samples. Definitely something not available in a print publication.

Critique

The cost. While $4.99 may seem reasonable for a one-off purchase, I don’t believe I’m willing to pay $60/year for a subscription to the iPad version. Right now I pay $12/year for the print (which is probably an indication of the magazine publishing industry!). It will definitely need to be somewhere in between. I would give up the print (as I don’t really need both), but the price would need to come down some. Still waiting for the pricing model.

The download. The issue was about 500mb and it took 10-15 minutes to download on my home wifi. Unlike the recent Vanity Fair issue (same publisher as Wired – Conde Nast), the interactivity is built into the issue itself. This does allow for offline interaction (a bonus), but a large download (a negative). Being able to access the content while offline is critical so the download is necessary.

Navigation. Easy and clear. Can be used horizontally or vertically. Slider to scan through all the pages or utilize the table of contents. Left to right and top to bottom reading experience. What I’d like to see in the future is the ability to email a link of an article – build in a bit more of a social media experience.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed. It was easy to read and provided a new reading experience. I look forward to more issues and other publications joining the fray. Maybe next month I’ll try reading it on the iPad only.

  • Kenley: I'd say the $12 rate for Wired (and some of us got it free–for otherwise-expiring airline miles) has less to do with the magazine industry in general than with Conde Nast's long-running way of maximizing their subscriber base. This isn't at all a new issue–and until Audit Bureau of Circ changes its rules, it will continue. (Did I mention the time Time offered me a one-year subscription for whatever check I wanted to write?)

  • Walt. Thanks for the contribution. I still find it unbelievable they can simply give away magazines via subscription, but we certainly benefit. It has spoiled me in terms of cost, so even if $4.99 is reasonable I'm not really willing to pay that much (yet).

  • Walt. Thanks for the contribution. I still find it unbelievable they can simply give away magazines via subscription, but we certainly benefit. It has spoiled me in terms of cost, so even if $4.99 is reasonable I’m not really willing to pay that much (yet).