Richard Branson’s iPad-Only ‘Project’

By Alan Hammond

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Magazines on the iPad have been the same-old-same. If not the same, then reduced content, little reduction in price, and the same format we’ve seen. Project is a magazine that has changed the definition of content and the direction of price.

Right now, the magazine is living up to its billing as iPad-only. The ultra-successful entrepreneur, Richard Branson, of Virgin Airline fame, claimed it was the first magazine of its kind; one conceived and published for the iPad. It has been reported that there will also soon be an Android version. So much for the exclusivity angle.  The move appears to be purely to gain a wider market, which is understandable.

What an experience?

Project is the new standard for digital magazines. You don’t simply read it, you experience it. How many magazines will allow you to take a suited Bear Grylls image and have Bear do a somersault? Only Project.

The app, itself, is free. Monthly issues are presently $.99 and there’s no indication that is going to change. Unlike most digital magazines, you get added content throughout the month, plus a reader’s forum and s seriously futuristic (yet, easily navigable) blog, all without leaving the app. That’s both resourceful and exciting! Those features along are enough to make a well-written digital magazine stand out from the crowd, but we’re just getting started.

How-to page screenshot from Project Magazine

Simple Navigation, Fantastic Features

No click and drag corners to turn a page. That’s so 2010. From anywhere in the magazine, from the cover, which is closer to a movie than a cover, to the last page, tap the bottom of the screen and navigation tools appear. Tap the T.O.C. at the top, or Contents at the bottom, and a scrolling picture of the first page of each story appears.

Project cover showing navigation bars

Many pages have Hot Spots, which you can see on the “How to” image above, that take you to more photos and information on any article. The Plus Panels, also on most pages, provide links to other information about the story, such as links to pertinent sites. Again, even when you visit the links, you never leave the app. Timesaving sweetness.

Numbers navigation screenshot

Numbered Buttons let you explore within image and video galleries, as within short articles within the larger features. Each number pulls up new information about its topic.

Branson’s folks have certainly thought of everything, not the least of which is good writing. Project stories are heavily focused on entrepreneurs, technology, design and entertainment. But, you won’t see the hottest star gossip (thank you!). Rather, you’re fed top-shelf articles about the important people, products, events, etc. in a given field.

You can try Project Magazine on for size for free, but I can’t think of many better ways to spend $.99, which is about $4 less than most other lifeless digital magazines.

About Alan Hammond
Alan is a freelancer writer and small business consultant. His writing has magically appeared in many places, but principally within the golfing realm. He's also a believer in the potential and future of the iPad. You can find him easily, but give twitter a try first, @AlanLHammond.

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