Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jaguar Cars Limited releases tablet edition of their customer magazines; custom publisher Haymarket Network creates iPad-native edition

It's a strange fact, but true, nonetheless, that some of the best tablet 'magazines' so far produced have come from the car companies. One of the first was Das from Volkswagen. Developed by Readershouse Brand Media, the app was one of the first tablet magazine apps released for the iPad and it remains a pretty good example of the art having been updated in late August.
Since the release of Das a number of other automaker magazines for the iPad have come out including apps for Audi's Italian division, Mercedesmagazine from Daimler, and several supporting BMW brands.

Yesterday Jaguar released its own corporate promotional magazine. Unlike some of the others, this one was not produced by the ad agency but is a product of Haymarket Network, the custom publishing division of UK-based Haymarket Media Group.
I admit to being a Jaguar owner -- lucky me -- so the magazine would naturally be of interest. But I also knew that these auto apps have been impressive. Opening the app, however, I suddenly expected the worst -- would this just be another replica edition of the print publication?

No, this is a good adaptation of the magazine for the iPad. Stories can be reached by swiping, but the app incorporates scrolling for reading the actual stories. The use of hot links within pages that open up larger photos is well employed, as well as some stories (such as the Le Mans timeline) that uses swiping to advance the story.
The app weighs in at 269 MB, which is typical of these magazines that contain both portrait and landscape modes, animation and video content.

Although some have complained about this, I don't see what the fuss is about (maybe some writers were short of ideas that day and needed to produce some copy -- I know the feeling). I think it is worse that some aggregators pick up these stories as serious criticism.

The fact is that these tablet editions are going to be hefty. The question is should these editions be downloaded whole through iTunes or should the app be a shell that requires a download of each issue by the user once the app is installed? The shell technique allows the publisher to update copy on the fly without having to submit an app update to Apple. And what a pain that would be! But I suppose that replicates the experience of producing a print magazine -- but that is not necessarily a good thing.