Monday, November 29, 2010

Tim Moore launches second edition of 'Letter to Jane'; iPad magazine app gets boost from Apple in App Store

Back with his second edition of Letter to Jane magazine for the iPad, Tim Moore brings a minimalist approach to app development, leaving the words and photographs to do the work.
In May of this year, shortly after Apple first launched the iPad, Tim Moore, then a 25 year-old photographer from Portland, Oregon, launched his first iPad app. At that time Moore told me that his magazine efforts had "been a blog for a year and half, and then it moved to kind of an indie zine this past Christmas."

"I wanted to (bring the magazine to the iPad) ever since I heard about the thing, but wanted to see what the big magazines might do. Then I got a feel for it -- then got one in my hands and realized I'd really like my work to be on there," Moore said then.

That first effort to bring Letter to Jane (named after the Jean-Luc Godard film) was difficult enough as Moore said he hadn't done any programming since high school.

Now, a little over six months later, Letter to Jane magazine: Late Autumn, the second edition of the tablet magazine, is still a minimalist affair. At only ninety-nine cents to download, it is definitely worth a look. Further, if any programmers out there want to donate a little time, this magazine is certainly worth your efforts.

Left: The forced portrait mode makes viewing landscape composed photographs difficult; Middle: articles lead off with an intro page, and then you swipe to reach the interview; Right: each article comes with a text-only version.

The magazine's content centers on fashion, art and music, but at its core is photography. Because of this, the lack of a landscape mode hurts the magazine's artwork. Apps such as The Guardian Eyewitness basically is in landscape mode. Sure, you can view it in portrait, but one learns quickly that the app is better in landscape with each photograph filling the screen. Portrait photographs simply aren't used in the Guardian's app because of this.

Here, however, everything is in portrait. The problem is that Moore has to double up the photographs to make this work. Full screen portrait shots look great, landscape ones are at a disadvantage. To compensate, Moore often matchs a color shot with a black & white one.

Neither Letter to Jane, nor The Guardian Eyewitness, incorporate pinch-to-zoom, so what appears on the screen immediately is all you are offered. In the first feature of LtJ, Sunshine + Sweaters, the photography of Javas Lehn is excellent, but definitely is best when there is one portrait shot on the screen, rather than two landscape shots competing with each other on the display.

(The lack of a separate landscape mode, along with no embedded video, means that this app only weighs in at 20.8 MB, a very modest size for a magazine app.)

Having said all that, this is still an app worth paying for and admiring.

First off, you just have to love the muted colors and black and white photography used here.

Second, here is an independent magazine publisher already with two apps in the iTunes App Store while most other publishers are still procrastinating. Further, his actions, we hope, will be rewarded now that Apple has included his app in the "New & Noteworthy" section of the app store under Lifestyle. Let's hope this leads to some major sales.

Oh, one final note. Moore's first edition of Letter to Jane is still in the store, but is now free to download. But don't be cheap, download both apps if you haven't already!

1 Comment:

J.Rameau said...

Nice, Letter to Jane is great. I have been catching each issue via PDF, but everytime Tim posts a preview of the iPad app version, the more tempted I am to purchase an iPad just to view LtJ the way it was intended to.