The New Yorker’s underwhelming iPad app

Given the New York Times’ rather rhapsodic take on the New Yorker’s iPad app, I was surprised by how underwhelming it turned out to be when I finally gave it a test. I installed it on Mrs. Media Nation’s first-generation iPad, loaded in the current issue — and found it to be almost identical to the PDF-like version that the New Yorker makes available to its print subscribers, a.k.a. the “digital edition.”

There was one key difference, and I’ll grant you it’s an important one: the digital edition requires you to move the pages around on your computer screen, making them bigger and smaller and switching around among columns, maneuvers that have long made most of us despise PDFs. The iPad version, by contrast, automatically formats to the screen. That’s a big improvement.

Other than that, though, I found the app to be rather flat and uninspiring. Yes, the Times review emphasized that it was designed for people who just want to read rather than be dazzled. But there’s a middle ground between a plain reproduction of a magazine and a distracting multimedia extravaganza. I’d have liked to see the New Yorker aim for that middle ground.

That said, it was a nice way to read Ryan Lizza’s excellent profile of Michele Bachmann — especially since the mailman hasn’t seen fit to deliver our print edition yet.

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9 thoughts on “The New Yorker’s underwhelming iPad app

  1. Mike Benedict

    “She believes that evolution is a theory that has ‘never been proven.’ ”

    My goodness, did she and Palin share a dorm room in junior college?

  2. Tony Schinella

    @Mike: While I haven’t been in a college classroom in a long time, the last time I heard, it was still called “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,” with a theory defined as an abstract thought or speculation. Can you tell me when this theory was proven as fact?

  3. Mike Benedict

    @Dan: No kidding. We learned the difference between a theory and a hypothesis in second grade.

    Maybe the US educational system is worsening!

  4. Marc Larocque

    The most disturbing thing is Bachmann refuses to talk about the book defending slavery, written by a professor she worked for and idolizes.

  5. Jon Palmer

    Aw, Dan, go easy on the mailman. My dear mother is a carrier – ever read Bukowski’s “Post Office?” I used to think it was a joke, but it’s really like that.

    …If I shell out the money for any tech these days, you can bet I want to be dazzled by it.

  6. Tony Schinella

    Just because scientists have observations or opinions doesn’t make it fact. The facts are that no one really, truly knows where human beings came from because none of us were here. They have opinions about it, based on data they’ve gathered. But, as you’ve all noted, over and over again, observations and opinions about data can be changed to anything and even when proven, challenge your own belief system.
    As well, scientists have to keep evolving and evolving the theory of evolution every time they dig up a new set of bones from somewhere or some new discovery with DNA which throws out everything that was thought before.
    As we’ve seen in the last few years, there have been all kinds of discoveries that challenge many of Darwin’s concepts. Those discoveries made by scientists.

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