• Apr 14th 2010 at 2:02PM
  • 46
Car and Driver on the iPad – Click above for high-res image gallery

Despite my better judgement, I had an iPad delivered to my house last weekend. The reasons for the purchase varied from the inexplicable to the absurd, but one of my primary interests was how magazines would adopt/adapt to the new format. Like it or not, Apple's a leader in mobile content delivery and any publishing house is going to want to be on the "it" platform, just as developers downloaded the iPhone SDK in hoards and the App store became the dominant force for mobile applications.

I've checked out some of the general interest pubs (NYT, Time, etc.), which are obviously still getting their sea-legs (and falling on their faces, in many cases), but for gearheads the pickings are non-existent – save Zinio (iTunes link).

Zinio's been around for a while, digitizing both popular and somewhat obscure titles for online consumption at a reasonable (read: average mag) price. As expected, they've released an iPad app, and lo-and-behold, one of the "free" titles on offer was the May issue of Car and Driver. I'm assuming C/D was approached by Zinio to give away its latest issue to show off what Zinio is capable of while getting readers hooked (or re-hooked) on a few pubs. Interestingly, the two other free titles – Sporting News and Viv – are microscopic in comparison to C/D, so either Alterman and Co. are early adopters or Zinio stapled a handful of titles to the office wall and threw a few darts. Knowing Eddie, I like to think it's the former.

Obviously, the primary advantage to the digital medium is the lack of constraints. Designers, uninhibited by the standard two-page layout, are free to create dynamic elements that adapt to both the story and the medium. Unfortunately, Zinio's implementation is to take the mag's standard design and just digitize it. Easy? Yes. Interesting? Hardly.

In the case of C/D, the only additional elements on the digital version are galleries and videos. Each works, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. The UI for the galleries is wonky at best and the video – while attractive and functional – doesn't allow full-screen playback. The only other notable addition is the ability to skip to specific articles designated by a blue box surrounding the linked text (think standard webpage hyperlink, but with an implementation that would throw most graphic artists into fits of rage).

To C/D's credit, the layout has improved dramatically under the Alterman regime. However, there's nothing new in the digitized version and the software delivering the pages lacks smoothness. Flipping through pages takes a fraction of a second too long, pausing momentarily to render, and while pinch-to-zoom works, the text gets instantly pixelated. They're minor annoyances and sure to be addressed in future updates, but they still render the experience "less-than" when compared to their print counterparts, despite the additional photos and video.

Obviously, the print pubs and the delivery systems are in their infancy when it comes to harnessing the digital medium. A few have tried (Winding Road, which has an iPad app on its way, and Drivers Republic, which ceased in late 2009) with varying degrees of success, but every effort thus far has been plagued by an unimaginative layout and the same staid design we've endured for decades. There's hope for the medium, but when it comes to Zinio, it's just a stopgap – a rickety bridge leading to the next great content experience.

Bonus: Here are two demo videos showing this new medium's (iPad or otherwise) capabilities. And while I'm fans of both Popular Science and Wired, we absolutely can't wait to see what EVO does with it.

Mag+ live with Popular Science+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Time has passed since this article was posted, so I just thought I'd say I'm a seller of iPad Magazines and can safely say that sales have increased every month ever since! I think they might be here to stay :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah.. the arm chair experts who magically know what will and won't sell. What are you guys doing on a car blog?

      You should be looking into your crystal ball and buying stocks for the next big thing.

      Just because you or I don't like it doesn't mean it wont sell and wont make a lot of money.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a Kindle with a good size library and it is great for reading.
      If you think reading on a computer or phone is for you, then you could always download the Kindle for PC or Kindle for iPhone Apps (all free), and test drive eReading.
      Personally I'd try the PC App on a netbook before I'd invest in an expensive touch screen.
      Tons of books, mostly classics, are available as free downloads.
      The Kindle for PC or Mac will show pictures in color and would probably be the best for magazines or comic books which are not really that great on an eInk reader.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Ipad is stupid.

      Its huge and wide and I dont see the point. Just get a iMac.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Have you actually even used an iPad or at least seen one in person? It's relatively small in comparison to a laptop. Compared to an iMac; well, it's miniscule.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Who the heck is gonna carry around the giant iPad all day when they can carry a full fledged laptop. I have an Acer Timeline. Its really thin and light.

        The progression from iPhone to iPad was backwards. They shoulda released the iPad first a few years ago then came out with the iPhone. People would have been like "The iPad is cool! I wish i could fit this in my pocket." Then BAM! The iPhone would be released. Totally backwards.

        Anyways highly recommend Acer Timeline. Really think with dvd burner and lightweight not to mention incredible battery life.
        • 5 Years Ago
        At least make the comparison to the Macbook or something. An iMac? Ya, because that's anything like a small, tablet-like device that you can carry around with you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Who the heck is gonna carry around the giant iPad all day when they can carry a full fledged laptop. I have an Acer Timeline. Its really thin and light."

        Um... I would. And your "thin and light" Acer is not iPad thin and light, FYI. Half an inch thick and 1.5 lbs for the iPad... minimum of about 1" thick and min 3.5 lbs for the Acer (for the 13" model - depending on battery).
        • 5 Years Ago

        The iPhone/Touch and iPad are two separate devices yet actually complement each other wonderfully.

        As an iPod Touch owner I will be getting an iPad to do all the things a Touch is too small to do. You mention fitting in your pocket, I'm pretty sure your laptop doesn't fit in a pocket very well either. And I don't think the iPad was even designed to be a pocket sized device so your size argument is irrelevant. Much more irrelevant than the fact your Acer doesn't have multitouch technology. And it sure as heck isn't going to replace your textbooks or magazines, my friend.

        The Touch is fine for an MP3 player and something to check email when I'm in bed or the bathroom, but I would say just about every use I have for a touchscreen, the iPad's larger format is much more useful (in the kitchen for recipes, all web browsing, email, games, in my recording studio, basic music composition on the road, travel, board games with friends, reading, lists, etc.).

        My iPod Touch would simply become my MP3 player.

        Hope that helps gives you an iPod Touch owner's perspective.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I used the Ipad about 4 times already. Played games the whole 9. The best tihng about it is the internet. But I dont see he need for it other wise.

        Its huge and wide like I said. You need big hands to use the ipad with ease. Small hands have a hard time holding it. It is NOT pocket friendly idk what some of you are talking about.

        I'd take a labtop over it anything....its a GIANT iphone without the phone and camera.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mike is right. Its like netbook that doesn't do flash, has no camera, or mic and your either holding it or looking face down on a table with it. Cost just as much as my full fledged LED backlit relatively slim and light laptop, with dvd burner 286 gig hard drive, HDMI out, multiple USB ports, and multi-card reader.

        I appreciate the simplicity of the iPad but the iPhone(if your into that sort of thing) is more portable and does the same thing for cheaper.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @SimpleCar - "Who the heck is gonna carry around the giant iPad all day when they can carry a full fledged laptop."

        Uh, about 500,000 people so far.
        • 5 Years Ago

        I've addressed the size issue already. I already said that a laptop nor the iPad will fit in the pocket. My brother also has an iPod touch he uses it for nothing but music, computer for everything else. Iphone>iPad and Laptop>iPhone and iPad
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ack and Rick

        Point is my Acer is still think and light compared to most laptops. Plus i'm not holding in in the air all day anyway. It'll be on my lap or on a table. I don't care how light the iPad is, even holding just your arms up for long periods of time can be straining. Most people will put the iPad in there lap or on a table like a laptop. So the iPad and laptop are the same in portability, you just don't get all the functions of a laptop on the iPad. Both devices don't fit your pocket.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That header image freaks my eyes out. It looks like it's just a magazine sitting on top of the iPad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      iTamp would be great to share pictures with your family, especially for computer illiterate people. Alas, they didn't put either a card reader or even a usb port on the damn thing, so it becomes useless. No quick and easy way of putting the pictures on the iTamp, except for network sharing... and that's just plain stupid.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So, in other words you've never used one before...

        You hook the iPad up to your computer and then you upload music, movies, PHOTO ALBUMS, games, books, etc.

        I'll repeat for extra effect:

        You hook the iPad up to your computer. The place where most people store their photos these days, last time I checked.

        Hope that helps...
      • 5 Years Ago
      To be honest, reading on a Kindle or Nook is much easier on the eyes because there is no backlighting. The iPad causes eye strain. Now i know you don't get pictures on the other two but for reading the iPad is inferior.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You know, they've done scientific studies that prove the whole "eye-strain" thing is a myth (NOT for apple, but for anyone making that claim)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Simply not true, at least in my case.

        I was an early adopter of the Kindle. Great device and I loved it. The claims about eye strain differences between the Kindle and other devices (PC, iPhone, iPad, etc) are simply false. I'm an avid reader averaging over a book a week. I read many on my first generation Kindle. I sold my Kindle because I found that I actually liked reading my Kindle books just as much on my iPhone.

        The combination iPad and iPhone is working very well for me. I actually still do most of by book reading on the iPhone. I have it with me all the time, so it's very convenient. What the iPad delivers is a much richer reading experience for tables and multimedia that the iPhone and Kindle just can't come close to.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There's no difference between the ipad screen and my 5 year of S-IPS monitors. There's a reason why people don't like to read stuff on the computer and it doesn't have anything to do with portability.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow reality distortion field is strong here. Here's a bit of reality - LED backlit SIPS screens are available on laptops and desktop monitors as well; that doesn't make it any easier to read.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What are you talking about? The iPad is fine for reading. Just don't try to do it in sunlight. Or where it gets hot. Oh, and don't drop it in the tub either (or the crapper), or let rain or dirt get on it. And for godssake don't accidentally leave it on the bus.

        Call me old fashioned but I'll take the paper version that I can get wet, lose, read anywhere in any condition and loan to friends and family (or sell at the book store) if I want. Plus I save all my old car mags - they make great reference material.

        But if you only read indoors and think iFart was the best 99 cents you ever spent then it's great.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Have you actually picked up an iPad? I have read novels on the ipad for hours straight, it's no different on my eyes than epaper. Also there was a study done saying that all the different display types have nearly the same strain on eyes, but it varies depending on conditions. Like e ink is worse for your eyes in low light, while LCD is worse for your eyes in Sunlight.

        The IPS LED backlit screen on the iPad is actually a very pleasent screen to read off of.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, but it's in color at least. Besides, it's no different than staring at Autoblog posts all day.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This whole e-ink vs. iPad, vs Nook vs. Kindle discussion is irrelevant. The relevant issue? If I don't read C&D in print because it's gone to crap, why would I want to read it on an iPad?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You obviously have not read or seen any magazine on the iPad. I have, so I know that there is no eye strain. That's hater talk. Comic books look amazing. Newspapars look amazing. Books look amazing. Photographs, f-ing hell-they look amazing.

        However,Zinio mags are basically pdfs/scans and aren't really digitally created. So they are a stop gap, not the future.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Ipad causes eye strains"

        maybe if you're like 90 and think that computers are the devil. what eye strains? or maybe you have special eyes that cannot handle light properly or something, I guess that would make it a valid reason.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The iPad causes eye strain"

        Lame e-ink propaganda from a company trying to stay relevant.

        I write software for a living. I read continuously on LCDs every day for 8-10 hours and so does everyone I work with. No one reporting eye strain.

        This LCDs cause eyestrain BS didn't exist before e-Ink started selling their product.

        With e-Ink you get a crap Dark grey on light greys screen with about 20:1 contrast. Yes 20:1. Which is ridiculously bad.

        Not only that but the screen flashes and takes 1 second to update, vs about 16ms for LCD. Then if you want to read in dim light you need to attach some kind of attachment light.
        • 5 Years Ago
        True...and now I have eye strain.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The main reason I wanted an iPad was to get magazines on it, and the occasional book. I was holding out because the magazine selection seemed like it was going to be very poor. But now this! Oh if they offered CAR magazine too I would be in heaven. I think I may go order an iPad now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The iPad is much lighter than a laptop, but it really is not the best out there. The readers that use the digital ink are readable everywhere, the iPad is not. The iPad cannot replace a laptop due to memory restrictions and lacking multi-task.

      Digital may be the destination for all print media, but it is only for the early adopters right now. Once the readers are OLED (and pricing falls on that) then the current reader format (inflexible display) will be easy to read in color. And once the flexible display tech is sound, then readers can have a small footprint (like a tube or something).

      As of now, it's just an extra device to stuff in the laptop bag.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Damon, this is fair criticism of our iPad Zinio reader. You didn't mention the reading view where the text appears by itself legibly, but regardless, we're aware that we have more work to do. This is the first of many iterations for us, and future versions will be better optimized to tablets. Frankly, I think the commenters here have hit on a bigger issue: Even if the reader is great, is the iPad an ideal device for consuming editorial content? I've found it more useful for browsing Facebook and remote controlling iTunes that actually reading. IMHO, it's too heavy and the screen is too small.

      Mike Dushane
      Car and Driver
      • 5 Years Ago
      It isn't the iPad that is a waste of money but the subscription to Car & Driver.

      I can understand the need to Photoshop a garbage can out of a photo. Even remove blemishes and dirt. But to alter the outcome of a drag race in Photoshop is just wrong. Just because some people in the business don't respect the ethics of journalism doesn't mean you need to follow.
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