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Wired's iPad App

Wired One of my major disappointments with the iPad has been a lack of good magazines to choose from on it.  I used to gripe about this all the time on the Kindle and I never thought it could be worse on the iPad.  This is probably more of a timing issue than anything else though.  A few more magazines have trickled in with their own apps over the past few weeks and none had a bigger launch than Wired.

Shortly after their app arrived they announced they sold 24,000 copies in the first 24 hours.  Nice start.  So is this really worth the $4.99 price tag, especially since your five bucks only gets you one issue?  I don't think so.  I wonder how many people will go back and buy the next edition for $4.99.

First of all, there's no cut-and-paste functionality.  On top of that, there's no social media connectivity.  Wow.  How could they overlook these incredibly important features?  Seriously.  These guys cover all the latest and greatest technology developments and they can't implement features from the 90's in their initial app.  Truly amazing.

There are also so many missed link opportunities.  For example, DoubleTree's URL is shown at the bottom of their ad.  Wouldn't it be convenient to let readers touch it so that it takes them to DoubleTree's website, possibly featuring a special deal for Wired readers?  The magazine could get a finder's fee for any reservations made through that link.  Even something as simple and obvious as this was missed.  Btw, you'll find a mixed bag of ads with and without links in this issue.  My guess is some advertisers agreed to pay more for their ads to include links in the app edition.  Perhaps Wired thought this would be a good way to test ads with and without links. The result is a very confusing user experience for the reader as you don't know whether touching a URL will open Safari or do nothing at all.  Here's a simple rule they should follow: All URLs should open a link!

You may have also heard that Wired tried a new UI approach where you scroll horizontally from one article to the next but you scroll vertically within an article.  The mix of horizontal and vertical scrolling feels forced, like a gimmick that sounded interesting in theory but has no real value in practice.  And as others are starting to complain about, if everyone implements their own UI tweaks we'll never have standards and nothing will seem intuitive.  Apple really needs to get their arms around this.

Like many people, I'm not wowed by interactive ads.  I'm very much wowed by interactive content though, which is why I love The ElementsThe Wired app tries too hard to just create the "faster horse" that Henry Ford referred to rather than the next gen content app.  If Wired wants to draw readers into the ads they'll need to better integrate them with the content, not have them as standalone pages, separate from the content.  They're still thinking like magazine publishers and it's holding them back.  Build an integrated approach so that I discover the ads while I'm doing a deep dive in an article.

Bottom line: if this is as good as it gets I'll keep my print subscription. There's no need for me to fork over 5 bucks more for each pseudo-enhanced digital edition when I can get an entire year's worth in print for $10.

Comments

Stephen Tiano

Agreed. I've held off on trying out Wired on my iPad, as I've already read the latest issue in print. But I'm not about to spend $5 more per issue, when I've an inexpensive print subscription and the eVersion sounds so half-baked. Thanks for the heads-up, Joe.

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