So, I downloaded the Wired iPad app. This was one of the apps that I was most looking forward to for the iPad. I have subscribed to the magazine for a while and enjoy reading it.
First off, the application is beautiful. The interface is nice, mostly, and works well. It is really nice that within an article they’ve integrated sound and video. In the music section, you can actually listen to the song that the article is talking about. In some of the “Play” section they put in video to show the products they are reviewing/highlighting. This is pretty awesome.
The reading of articles is very cool. You can read the entire article in one place instead of flipping through the magazine. The interface is mostly good: swipe left-right to move between articles and up-down to go to next page. The biggest issue that I have is that the layout seems to still assume two side-by-side pages instead of a single page. I hope this is resolved in the next edition.
The advertisers have tried new things with the format. Some of them are really interesting. Pepsi took advantage of the ability to have video and had a cool commercial built in. Many had you change the orientation to see a different view. Kind of interesting. Some used the ability to link to a website to give you more info. I expect to see more of this in the future.
The biggest single problem I have with the new Wired format is the preponderance of advertising and cost of the issue. The digital copy is $5 when my subscription is significantly less. For the extra charge I would expect to have LESS advertising. Wired is already advert heavy and this was more obvious in this format. They need to work on that.
The next thing that I see room for improvement on is the lack of ability to share the content or take advantage of the connectivity. Most of the articles will be on their website. It would be nice to be able to tweet or update Facebook and automatically include a link to the article. This would drive traffic to their site and save me the trouble of trying to find it. I found that frustrating.
I would have also expected, with their desire for revenue, to have links from the product reviews directly to somewhere to BUY the products, *cough* Amazon.com *cough*, instead of needing to get out of the app and trying to find the product. There is an opportunity to make this a seamless experience and take advantage of impulse shoppers. They’ve already told you why the product is cool, make it easy for me to buy it.
Over all, I think this is a great glimpse into what is possible in the future of magazines. Wired and all of the others need to think about their subscription model and figure out a way that I don’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of. Quite simply, I don’t think I should pay MORE for electronic than I can get for a dead tree version; that is unless you kill the advertising, then you’ve added value. I need to feel like I’m getting MORE for my money if you are charging me more. The other complaints that I had will work themselves out I’m sure.