Letter to Jane: the future of iPad apps

The fourth issue of Tim Moore’s Letter to Jane iPad app was released late last year. Although some early development work was included in my book The Modern Magazine, I missed the chance to give it a more thorough review here on the blog at the time it appeared. This week Bob Newman posted a review on his Newmanology site – a review I wholeheartedly agreed with, for its positive response to this particular app as much as the general observations about magazine apps. Bob has kindly given me permission to republish his post.

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padculture 05.08.11

Catching up on a few recents apps and stories…

mono.kultur have a lovely free iPad app version of their recent ECM issue. Highly recommended.

The New Yorker is far and away the most succesful Condé Nast app – see the top five figures here.

The mono.kultur and New Yorker apps share a simple approach to their content, unlike so many magazine apps. But Khoi has found an even worse example of ‘burdensome and user-unfriendly interfaces’.

A comparison of the numbers of apps the main US publishers are selling.

SPD recently held an iPad event in New York featuring five people behind recent magazine apps. Read reports here.


Overmatter 03.05.11

The Green Soccer Journal has a smart new website.

Khoi describes the pros and cons of the iPad 2.

A lot of news all at once, so Time publishes three issues in one week.

Andrew looks at three start up mags looking for funds.

Behind the scenes at the NYTimes Magazinehow a cover comes together.


padCulture 11.02.11

Next generation iPad rumoured to be thinner, lighter, faster (and not fatter, heavier, slower)… the guesswork begins.

New York magazine’s fashion app The Cut getting good reviews.

Repeating the previously posted link to Andrew’s piece because it’s vital reading for anyone interested in magazine apps. Reiterates a lot I’ve written for an upcoming Design Week piece on the subject.

Five things The Daily can learn from other digital media…

…and Wordyard asks where the old editions of The Daily get archived.

But perhaps print newspapers do have a future?

Overmatter 11.02.11

A reminder print magazines are a manufacturing business: a day at the printers with Simon Esterson and Eye magazine.

Even the studio used to be manually operated: ‘the tedious paste up process’.

Extensive online resource of (loosely defined) architecture zines (thanks James).

Andrew enjoys the latest issue of US Wired, while elsewhere notes some of the problems inherent in magazine apps.


After several delays, tomorrow sees the launch of Rupert ‘the iPad is a game-changer’ Murdoch’s The Daily newspaper app at New York’s Guggenheim museum.

Meanwhile McSweeneys have carried out ‘a battery of tests’ on e-readers and reccommend… the newspaper

…while TechCrunch offers app advice… ‘A digital magazine or newspaper should feel like a media app, not like a PDF viewer’ (thanks Khoi).

Hello OnSwipe, the latest browser-based (ie non-app) platform for delivering content to the iPad. Not live yet, but here soon.

The Book is Dead?’ is a thread on the UK’s Crafts Council site that uses Malcolm Garrett’s 1991 essay of that title as a starting point for several contributions from the likes of design writer Adrian Shaughnessy, Pick Me Up curator Claire Catterall and Eye editor John L Waters.

Ben Hammersley provides nostalgia for the early days of the web as he considers the optimist-pessimist divide in his FT review of new books about the web.

SPD apps judging

The SPD held their judging this weekend. Alongside the trestle tables of printed magazines, a new judging process was neccesary to deal with digital apps, above. Designer and judge Joe Zeff has a great rundown of what he learned ‘over the course of an exhausting yet exhilarating day’ poring over apps and websites (photo from Joe’s blog).


Zine publisher Nieves recently launched an iPad app, and it’s already matching paper sales of their publications. I like the plastic wrapper effect on the individual zine images; less convinced by the page turns.

Anyone remember a company called Quark? They’ve just launched a plug-in for creating iPad apps (thanks Patrick).

A first, slight, glimpse at Murdoch’s delayed Daily news app. Unconvinced by the logo.

Meanwhile the New York Times app approaches 1.5m downloads.

Other app news: fashion mag Post Matter is out, a bespoke job with plenty of video. Read an interview with the people behind it here.

UPDATE: one other app to mention –BBC Good Food.

Next iPad without home button?

This video shows the beta of the iOS 4.3 with multi-finger hand gestures being used to open/close apps, move from app to app and return to home page. Will the next generation iPad do away with the home button? Want!


This chart shows the drop in magazine app sales in carefully edited form; US Wired set up everything that followed for a fall.

John Henry intelligently unpicks some of the problems underlying that drop in sales.

Monday Note chuck in their thoughts on same.

Mashable tries to stay positive but shares conclusions with those above.

Unabashed, Empire piles in with another bells-and-whistle-fest of an app featuring the highest navigation-arrow-per-page ratio yet.

Imagine if your iPad didn’t only work with touch but could react to mid-air gestures!