Saturday, April 17, 2010
A couple of days back I called her to eat my words. "Do you read a lot of magazines?" I asked her. "Not really," was her response, "Why?" Zinio, my friends, is why. While surfing the App store, I came across Zinio, which I had encountered once a couple of years back, and had downloaded on my computer. The whole idea of the desktop application had been that I could download whole magazines on my computer and read as per my convenience. While I was impressed with the application, laptops then weighed a couple of kilos and I was hardly about to lug one around to read my magazines on. Zinio however is an application MADE for the iPad, that was launched at least five years too soon (which is when I saw it, I'm sure it's been around for much longer than that), and the iPad was the device MADE for Zinio, that was launched five years too late. On downloading the application, I was instantly directed to a list of some of my favourite magazines, and the option of buying and downloading them directly on my iPad. O (the Oprah magazine), Marie Claire, Cosmo, Elle, Us Weekly, National Geographic, The Economist, Business Week, etc, where all available for instant gratification. I decided to download the Harper's Bazaar for $3.99 (or a very reasonable $8 for 12 issues) which probably cost as much as the print version in the US, but a lot less than the version in my local Spinneys. As you can see from the picture above, reading the digital version was exactly the same like reading the print version, and in some cases, even better. With multi-touch I had the ability to pinch and zoom into the fine print of the magazine without having to squint, and with a click of a button on a URL mentioned, could be directed instantly on websites listed or brands and prices mentioned! This included the websites listed on the ads of the magazines. Speaking of ads, the digital version also included all the ads, so I could "flip" through the pages the same way I would of a "real" magazine, or could go on the menu below and scroll my way through the tiny thumbnail images of the pages, to reach the one I was looking for. If you "open up" the magazine and are eager to read the cover story, all you have to do again is reach the index page and click on the cover picture, and boom (to borrow Steve Jobs' favourite word) you're there. The picture below shows the same page above in landscape mode, along with the ad that appears alongside it.
Zinio is hardly the only application to get me and others to switch to reading on my iPad. I believe content and app providers for the iPad have till now only scratched the surface on the kind of things they are going to get the device to do. The Huffington Post called the Alice in Wonderland App, "the pop-up book of the 21st Century." The description of the App in the store listed some of these features-
"Tilt your iPad to mke Alice grow big as a house, or shrink to just six inches tall. [...] Throw tarts at the Queen of Hearts - they realistically bounce off her. Witness the Cheshire Cat disappear, and help the Caterpillar smoke his hookah pipe."
Here is a video of the App in action!
UPDATE: Also check out the Guardian Eyewitness App for the iPad. It contains the most recent 100 photographs from their Eyewitness series. Very cool.