Project is the much-awaited new ‘built for the iPad’ magazine from Richard Branson’s Virgin Publishing. This new iPad and tablet focused title has been very hyped over the last couple of weeks and its publishers are certainly talking the talk in terms of touting it as being a cutting edge publication for the iPad.
Here’s a quote from Branson himself from the press release announcing the launch of his app:
“… Proud of what we have achieved and delighted to have played a small part in determining what will become the future of what we as readers expect from the magazines of tomorrow. Today, PROJECT has set the standard.”
Does Project iPad Magazine match the hype put forward by Branson’s arrogance and the rest of the media? It will have to if it’s going to compete with ‘The Daily’, a similar digital mag (by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp) that’s supposed to be released this December.
Project’s content and photograph’s is not only extremely well-done, but the quality of articles, navigation and photos is top notch. Core article genres include culture, tech, design, fashion, science and project. At first glance, Project seems like a more useful, modern and informative version of GQ with fewer ads, but the issue sizes aren’t quite at GQ levels yet (the issues are a bit small).
There’s a good amount of multimedia content. From the ‘electrified’ cover with jerky video and animation of Jeff Bridges, to an audio clip of the Jaguar concept car, with its rocket boosters, zooming on up to 205mph. On the main page of the article on Tokyo you get a time-lapse photography sort of animation as the screen loads, with images of the city. The app is also buggy and has some lag problems, but that’s nothing that Branson and his team can’t fix over time.
There are several ‘this is an iPad edition’ type touches in the app – small things, but appreciated ones, such as: good, relevant web links on articles, easily accessible via an inline browser; a status bar that shows percentage done when downloading an issue, and the use of different photos in landscape and portrait mode in at least some articles. The interactive features of the app are especially helpful, with convenient navigation controls such as single tap anywhere for main menu and easy access to comments.
The app itself is free, with monthly issues available at $2.99 a pop as an in-app purchase. Right now, there is only the single debut issue available (dated December 1). Project mag is expected to be released for Android and Windows tablets in the future.