Eight of the best indie iPad magazines – Trvl, Letter to Jane, Hoodgrown, POST

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Written by Elisabeth Edvardsen

Up until now it has been tricky for small or indie publishers (as we like to call them ) to produce iPad magazines. However, easy to use content management systems, falling technology costs and the massive success of Apple uber tablet means that a few are tentatively taking the plunge.

Some of the new mags come from existing companies who have a significant presence in print and online. These tend to offer slightly more interactive versions of their existing content. There are however others who have designed magazines from the ground up to make the most of the tablet PC platform. Large gorgeous images (after all the iPad is the ultimate lightbox), longer features and cleverly created infographics, videos and footnotes have all contributed to what is being seen by some as a small revolution in publishing.

Here then are a few iPad magazines that have recently caught our eye. Some are paid for, some are free, all are excellent. And yes there is one that it is produced a little closer to home than the others.

Hoodgrown Magazine

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What started as a print magazine has been reinvented as the first hip hop magazine to be released via the Apple app store.

Spearheaded by independent publisher Chris English the urban music magazine has now seen five issues all of which mix intelligent features and entertaining videos in an abrasive, controversial but always engaging way.

The mag also has a host of embedded audio content so you can listen to the tracks that are being written about.

Download the app on the iTunes
Price: Free
USP: Fosters discovery of new music and artists whether they’re on a major or independent music labels. Features lots of interviews.

Trvl

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What started out as a way to share photos and stories is now an inspirational app for travellers and photographers alike that offers new ideas and information.

The two Dutch entrepreneurs behind Trvl manage to fuse stunning, compelling editorial and beautiful photography.

They are also increasingly focusing on specific issues – two recent issues looks at the gap between rich and poor in Moscow and eco-tourism specifically whale watching.

The quality of the images is amazing and you can view them full screen in landscape mode or with captions and footnotes in portrait. More recent issues also add video and longer features to the mix.

Each issue focuses on a specific destination with travel related stories and imagery relating to the topic.

Download the app via iTunes
Price: Free
USP: An amazing opportunity to travel the world for free from the comfort of your own home. A ‘coffee table’ app if there is ever one.

Letter to Jane

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One of the most innovative indie iPad magazines Letter to Jane is a quarterly arts publication published out of Portland USA. Each issue features musicians, photographers and artists in an intriguing and offbeat way.

Now on its third issue, Letter to Jane Magazine lets you interact with the app, watch original short films, listen to new music and browse through the galleries of some superb photographers.

As a showcase of the potential of the tablet PC it is superb.

Download the app via iTunes
Price: $1.99
USP: Letters to Jane offers artists an unfiltered platform to share their personal creative work and ideas without compromise. Each issue is like an art exhibition in your pocket.

Designcollector MAG

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The brand new iPad magazine, MAG is published by Designcollector Network.

It is essentially a showcase for some innovative artistic and illustrators and includes lots of beautiful illustrations.

Issue one focuses on trends

Download the app via iTunes
Price: Free
USP: A pleasure to flick through as the artwork is first-class

Aside mag

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This is one to watch. Aside’s makers bill it as the first and only magazine created completely using HTML5 technology.

Put simply that means you get all the interactive bells and whistles but it works within a HTML5 compatible browser and in theory on any tablet. This also means there is no requirement to visit Apple’s AppStore to download it.

The magazine features videos, music samples, interactive elements and quality design.

Access the app
Price: Free
USP: As the magazine goes around Apple’s regulations there are no restrictions as to what content is published and it also makes it easier to publish on other platforms such as Android Honeycomb.

POST

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An aspirational magazine that looks at fashion, art, architecture, cinema, music and culture – exploring the now and tomorrow – the premier issue of POST is themed around the exploration of ‘Matter’.

It comes, among other things, with a soundtrack that is composed solely from the sounds of particles colliding at the speed of light, a film set in Istanbul with pioneering digital artist Miltos Manetas, and social networking with Purple magazine founder Olivier Zahm.

Download the app via iTunes
Price: $2.99
USP: This unique interactive magazine is only available through the iPad, it hasn’t even got a website! It has replaced photography with film and breaks the mould in iPad publishing – paving way for a completely new way of experiencing high-class content that is edited and curated for the user.

Sarah Johanna Eick Photography

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This is simply an app that holds the photography portfolio of a very talented photographer Sarah Johanna Eick who specialises in some very quirky and striking images of people.

It really is a forward thinking way of placing one’s work in front of a larger audience. The way in which the iPad displays the image really is quite superb.

I can imagine that a lot of other photographers will follow suit and use the iPad as a portable portfolio.

Download the app via iTunes
Price: Free
USP: An ingenious way of showcasing one’s photography portfolio on the most talked about platform around.

Technode

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Ok, so we might have had a bit to do with this one. Technode is a quarterly title that looks at different issues relating to the world of technology from gadgets to social networking. Basically it boasts a lot of longer reads which we think don’t work quite as well in a blog format. Issue one also has lots of video content and in the future there will also be audio content as well as some very smart infographics.

The inaugural issue focuses on how gadgets will change people’s lives over the next six months, Augmented Reality, how social media has changed public demonstrations, as well as the top 20 most wanted gadgets this summer. A non-interactive version of Technode is also available for download via Magcloud and for online reading via Scribd.

Download the app via iTunes
Price: Free
USP: An in-depth look at the technology sector.

Ashley Norris

3 comments

  • Interview is also a very popular iPad magazine. Magazines on iPad look stunning. I love reading digital magazines on iPads and iPhones. I use Other edition’s newsstand for reading digital magazines.

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