Time's iPad app to launch at $4.99 an issue

Matt Bowman · April 2, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/ec9

Expect exclusive iPad photo essays of Steve Jobs, Sarah Palin. Functionality still under-utilized.

 The iPad is all about charging for content, over and over. Unlike most of the iPhone apps, many of the third-party offerings already on the iPad will not simply charge a one-time fee; they'll either draw in recurring subscription fees, or mirror the newsstand model and hit users up for each new edition. The latter is the case with Time Inc’s offering. The company will charge $4.99 for each new issue.

As with WSJ’s app, I’m not seeing a whole lot of innovation here yet. Time's editor at large, Josh Quittner, told us that "For now, extra photos and some video will be exclusive. But this is totally a work in progress and we have many ideas for exclusive content as we evolve the 'padgazine.'" Expect to see photo essays on Steve Jobs, Sarah Palin, and a soldier returning home in the launch edition tomorrow.

It's clear the app does not yet do much to tap the device's unique bells and whistles like geolocation, motion sensors and multi-touch. Quittner says that's a work in progress. "Every new input or sensor tablet makers add give storytellers new tools. We expect to use any and all of them -- if they help us tell stories better." The company only had about a month to build the app and they weren't among those news organizations working with an actual iPad, according to managing editor Richard Stengel.  

Here’s what Time is offering to iPad owners:

  • the entire current, U.S. print issue of TIME the same week it is available on newsstands.
  • additional photos, videos, live updates from TIME.com
  • additional content from the International editions and select content from TIME Global Business edition.
  • Time's signature ideological spin, now on a cool new gadget ;)

And here are some features Time told us will be available exclusively on the iPad in the launch edition:

  • “Time Frame” - The 5 Best Pictures of the Week
  • Steve Jobs through the years, a photo essay by Diana Walker
  • More photos by Peter Van Agtmael of a fallen soldiers returning home
  • Slideshow of Sarah Palin photos from her recent events in Arizona and Las Vegas
  • Slideshow of other Matisse art work

Magazines like Time that have more, er, time than traditional newspapers to prepare content can do a lot more to transform the experience of consuming popular culture. Give users a 3D tour of Job’s mansion, with game-like navigation that utilizes the iPad’s motion sensors; tell me how many people within a mile of my current location donated to Sarah Palin's campaign; give me a multi-touch tour of the coolest new gadget on the block. That kind of content might be worth the $5 a week.

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