Over the last week I have written a few times about the upcoming Zinio app for the iPad. The reason for my enthusiasm was two-fold. First I had been using Zinio as long as I have been using Tablet PCs. Since moving to the Mac I had used it less — not because it doesn’t work well on the Mac, but because it really lends itself to the tablet format. When the iPhone app came out my enthusiasm was once again peaked; on the larger iPad the promise of eMags was hopefully going to be fulfilled. In addition, my attempt to move entirely away from using paper for books and magazines, as well as the paper-driven aspects of my work life meant that a killer app for magazines would be more welcome than ever. And finally, after speaking with the folks at Zinio I was more enthusiastic than ever, since they have taken the same approach as Amazon- buy your content once and access it on all your devices.
Well surprisingly the Zinio app was not among the initial iPad app releases. It didn’t show up on Thursday or Friday. In fact when I finally got my iPad Saturday afternoon it was still not there. It did, however, finally show up last night. So does it live up to its promise? Take a look for yourselves. (by the way – all of these images are screen shots from my iPad. They ARE NOT PR images…)
As you can see images look absolutely gorgeous on the beautiful iPad screen. A huge part of reading a magazine is the experience of seeing bright images with vibrant colors. The app, in combination with the iPad, does not disappoint.
Dwell, for example relies heavily on big, bold images of the homes they cover. And it translates amazingly well to the iPad. Seriously, once you start looking at a magazine like Dwell on the iPad you… forget you are viewing it on the iPad. Well that’s not totally accurate. You forget you are reading it on an iPad until you come to some of the “enhanced” content such as video or you tap on a link and magically the Web site connected to it pops up in the Zinio app ‘s built in browser. Tap the small “close” button that appears in the upper left corner and… you are right back to the magazine. Seriously, it is awesome.
As we wrote about last week, when you start the app and look at a magazine you are presented with three options toward the bottom of the screen- Explore, Read and Shop. All do exactly as described in the former post.
Zinio makes it easy to find “enhanced” magazines that have extra content including video and live maps. The app launched with about half a dozen of these highlighted, although I suspect we will be seeing many more of these.
Like the iPhone app the Zinio for iPad app displays the magazine pages with their full graphic layout. That means you don’t lose anything by moving over to the electronic version. At the same time it also has a “TEXT” button at the bottom center of the screen. Tap that and…
You get an easy to read version of the text and the font can be made larger or smaller depending on your preference. Tap the “PAGE” button that now appears at the bottom and you are taken back to the graphic page.
Here is another example…
Tap the screen twice and the page zooms in. It is large enough to read easily but a bit fuzzy. So…
Tap the “Text” button and it becomes more readable as a text only page.
And you can easily make the font larger by tapping the aA on the lower right that appears briefly then disappears.
You can also email the article to someone.
Overall, the Zinio for iPad app meets my expectations. It works well, and it is designed in such a way that it lets the reader enjoy the graphics of a magazine while also being able to render text in an easy to read manner. If you got an iPad yesterday, it is certainly worth a look.
The Zinio app is free to download.
What I Like-
Magazines look great, the text only feature is awesome, there is a nice and a growing selection of magazines, Zinio’s UNITY means you buy content once and get to use it on all your devices
What Needs Improvement-
Magazine prices are fairly steep and people may balk at paying newsstand prices for digital versions of them