As a long time Time magazine reader, I looked forward to trying their new iPad app. My hope was it would point the way to revitalizting the struggling dead tree magazine industry.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Here’s the problems I have with the app:
1. Its $4.99 price tag is too expensive. It should be priced no more than $1.99. In fact, if it wants eye-balls and buzz, it should have priced it at 99 cents. $52 per year per iPad user is a pretty good revenue stream for something that doesn’t require publishing presses, physical distribution, physical racking, and returns.
2. It is a single issue (April 12) in a single app. It does not provide a way to get future issues or dip into Time’s valuable archives.
3. There is no in-app purchasing feature for future issues.
4. Its navigation is not intuitive. Sometimes movement is side-to-side (like a magazine). Other times it is a vertical scroll with no indication that content is available below the botton of the iPad’s screen.
5. Turning “pages” is not smooth. It sometimes requires several swipes to get to a page
6. The app does not remember where I was if I exit it and return it later. It always starts at the cover.
This is a huge disappointment for me as a long time Time magazine reader. This will not help save their industry. In fact, it may hurt it by providing a poor experience to many people like me who expected something better.
Ironically, Time’s iPad-ready website provides a much better experience for reading their content. And, it is free.