5 Reasons Wired’s iPad App Is The Last Hurrah For MagazinesMay 28th, 2010 | By James Lewin | Category: Commentary
News organizations have come up with some interesting iPad apps – especially the BBC and NPR apps. But magazine apps have either been missing in action or underwhelming.
Now Wired reports that they’ve sold 24,000 copies of their first iPad formated issue. That’s fantastic for a $5 issue – but instead of the next big thing, it’s looking a lot like the last hurrah for magazines.
Five Reasons Wired’s iPad App Is A Dead End:
- Geeks bought it, but nobody else will. The surge of sales for the Wired issue app are more a reflection of the magazines’ first-adopter audience than people embracing a new technology. There are a lot of iPad owners that have the money to try out new technologies – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those technologies have a future.
- The Wired iPad app is way too big. The digital magazine issue is a 5oo megabytes download. WTF? That’s because it’s basically a big bunch of graphic files. 500 MB means that you’re not going to buy this from your iPad and that you’re not going to keep it.
- The Wired iPad app is like a CD-Rom, instead of the Internet. In other words, the social networking stuff you can do if you browse Wired.com – commenting on it, twittering about it, liking it on Facebook, emailing links to it, quoting chunks of text, etc – is missing in action.
- The Wired iPad app out of date. They just updated the website – now – but you’re not going to update that 500 MB download too many times.
- It’s a bunch of big graphic files. Did I mention that it’s a bunch of big graphic files? That means that the designers valued their layouts more than your ability to do things like resize the text or – imagine this – support text to speech for the visually impaired.
The Wired iPad app is like the sequels to popular movies – they might be easy money, but they’re usually crappy and people eventually figure it out.
Fortunately for Wired, their initial issue is a big enough success that they’ll have an opportunity to tweak their approach.
If they want this to be around in a year, they need to figure out what the real benefits of a magazine app are.
The one big advantage a magazine app offers is fast browsing, even when disconnected. A great iPad magazine app would give you the interactivity and timeliness of the Web, but would also degrade gracefully when you were disconnected.
Beyond that, the potential for new types of interactivity, which the app currently teases you with, is definitely there.
What do you think? Is there a future for big magazine apps?