Mag App: Popular Mechanics (Beta Edition)

Mag App: Popular Mechanics (Beta Edition)

Coming right in the heels of Wired's successful release last week (24,000 copies sold in its first 24 hours), Popular Mechanics is set to launch their iPad app next month (Watch this Gizmodo video). Their in-house developed app continues the trend of reformatting a print magazine vs reinventing the format. Further out on the horizon: Sports Illustrated.


EIC Jim Meigs notes in the app that the first batch of content available via the app is not actually a complete issue of the magazine, but previews some of the features that will be included in complete issues available later this year. 
Meigs writes: "Our new Interactive Edition has just arrived in the app store. It is not a regular monthly issue--that will come later this year. Instead, it's a collection of stories from several issues, combined with fresh material, that we chose in order to highlight what's possible on the iPad. Over the past few months, as we've educated ourselves on the art of app creation, we've discovered a lot of new opportunities to tell stories and deliver information."

New screens from the app released on July 7th:
PopMech 01.png
PopMech 02.png
[Updated: 07.10.10]

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  • Grant Glas

    100% agree with the observation: "As a reader it was pretty nice being guided through the issue by editorial decision making"

    Every element (i.e. data visualization / graphics ) added to the editorial content but didn't distract from it. Top notch work by PM. A cut above the rest.

  • Mike Solita

    I do like the vertical-for-more-story, horizontal-for-next-story navigation in some mag apps, but it seems like you risk mixing up some readers who just aren't mentally picturing a magazine that way. Their mental model is left-to-right, page by page. So when they have to go down, then across, then down, it's just confusing or stressing them out.

    So many of the user reviews for Pop Mechanics applaud the simple navigation -- it's easy to get through an issue. You don't have to figure out how to read it. You just read it.

  • Neil Jamieson

    totally agree Mike, this is the best one yet. There's so much I love about this app but the highlight for me is the fact that they made a conscious decision NOT to design 2 orientations for every "cell" (portrait AND landscape). In Pop Mech's case the cells are all designed in a portrait orientation and the app only gives the reader the opportunity to flip to landscape when Pop Mech thinks its necessary (either to help with their story telling or provide a bigger canvas for the visual elements) for example the now famous earthquake "data vizualization".

    As a reader it was pretty nice being guided through the issue by editorial decision making (when they wanted me to rotate the pad...I did), surprisingly it was not as frustrating as i thought it might be and it gave the app a real sense of order and made the whole experience feel really tight and organized...lots of lessons to be learned here!! Bravo to Michael Lawton and the gang over there!

  • Mike Solita

    Amazing job on the issue. Best tablet mag yet .. And nice to see ratings finally rewarding the creative effort instead of moaning about the prices. An inspiration, and then some. :)

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