Screen shot 2010-04-09 at 6.53.39 PM.pngAndrew Savikas of O’Reilly has written an article with the above title. It discusses the new Popular Science+ magazine iPad app. Overall, he gives it fairly poor reviews – “… this was clearly intended as a better/new/different version of the magazine, and so it suffers the fatal flaw of having to carry a ton of the baggage of the old medium into the new one”. You can read the details of why in the article, but I particularly like the following paragraph from the end:

I would bet that most of the executives around the table at Popular Science were absolutely thrilled with this app. And that’s the problem. I have an informal filter on how interesting and innovative a new content-related development or device is — if a large number of people from incumbent companies (especially big ones) are excited about it, then it’s not actually interesting or innovative enough to matter much, because that means it’s too similar to the current way of doing things. That’s why the industry loves “enhanced ebooks” at the same time they’re totally missing opportunities to re-imagine the “job” their product does for the customer. (In all fairness, we struggle with this a lot at O’Reilly too!)


  1. It really is a bit soon to expect perfection, especially with a new product and platform such as the iPad.

    However, he does make a valid criticism of the advertising side – all ads should be clickable to the advertiser’s own website. This is something that the online page-flip platform Issuu, for example, allows you to do.

    The advantage for the advertiser is of course, that the metrics become transparent. Whether PopSci wants that, we don’t know.

    Apart from the ad-click caveat, the iPad developer is welcome to have a bash with my own children’s education list at

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